Mark Y. Zylawy, “Z-Man,” a highly regarded Portland police officer, died January 27,2008 in an accident at the age of 40. He worked as a district officer in Northeast Portland for 17 years with a passion, dedication and enthusiasm throughout his career. Officer Zylawy earned the respect of his fellow officers and community members by the way he lived his life – with the values of the Portland Police Bureau – integrity, compassion, accountability, respect, excellence and service. During his career, Officer Zylawy received 30 commendations, two unit citations and the Medal of Valor.
After the tragic death of Mark Zylawy; fellow police officers, private citizens and the business community came together to establish the Z-Man Scholarship Foundation to honor Mark’s years of police service to the community. The Foundation supports, through scholarships, economically disadvantaged high school students who have shown the determination and focus to be successful in school and to achieve their goals. The students who are selected have demonstrated a commitment to public service and leadership in their communities. Each of these students is matched with a mentor from the Portland Police Bureau or other law enforcement agency. This relationship flourishes through regular one on one interaction and group activities.
Deserving students are awarded a Z-Man Foundation Scholarship to attend La Salle College Preparatory School, De La Salle North Catholic High School and Seton Catholic Preparatory School in Vancouver. These schools were selected because of their proven academic college prep curriculum, their emphasis on community service projects and their ability to supplement the Z-Man Scholarship with additional scholarships. The Foundation board is exploring the expansion of our scholarships to other Portland-area academic institutions.
In addition to our academic scholarship programs the Foundation is striving to encourage area youth in other talents. In 2013, the Foundation introduced “The Talent Within” talent competition. Each public high school in Portland that is served by the Portland Police Bureau sent a representative selected by the school faculty and the school resource officer. These students competed in an “American Idol” style production; judged by area celebrities and the Portland Police Chief. The top three finalists were awarded funds to be applied toward college tuition.
The Foundation continues to collaborate with the Portland Police Bureau, Youth Services Division to establish programs that will foster positive relationships between police bureau members and the under-served youth of the community.
The Z-Man Scholarship Foundation’s core mission is to provide students with access to additional educational opportunities and to instill in them a lifelong commitment to learning and community service so that each is prepared to live and serve as a responsible citizen.