When all the social media protests cease, it is the dedicated organizations in local communities who are fighting for actual change. These organizations need resources to make an impact. Several major companies are investing in the nation’s youth and underserved communities.
AT&T recently awarded $12.5 million to 30 youth organizations across the country to help to strengthen and expand their programs. The contribution is part of the AT&T Aspire initiative, which is the company’s $350 million signature education initiative.
Together, the 30 organizations awarded funds serve 28,000 high school students and according to a recent report, students with mentors are more likely to enroll in and graduate from college than those without mentors (76% vs. 56%). Many of the recipients focus on college or career readiness, and/or provide mentoring or peer-to-peer supports to equip students at risk of dropping out of high school.
The selection process was highly competitive. More than 1,100 organizations responded to the pre-application survey. Each of the winning programs delivered a quantitative impact, and feature proven methods of helping students succeed in academics and careers, such as providing integrated services, mentoring or focusing on college or career preparation. The organizations will use the funds to enhance programs and serve additional students.
Recipient organizations include the D.C. Promise Neighborhood Initiative (Washington), YMCA of Greater New York (New York), UCAN (Illinois), and the Academy for Urban School Leadership (Illinois). These groups help students graduate from high school prepared for college and a career.
The DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative (DCPNI) will receive $300,000 for its demonstrated success supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school. “We are thrilled to have AT&T join hands with us as we seek to be a leading force in ending intergenerational poverty in the Kenilworth-Parkside community,” said Mary Brown, Executive Director, DCPNI, in a released statement.
“Education through and beyond high school opens the doors of opportunity for young people,” said Alma J. Powell, honorary chair of DCPNI and board chair of America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest partnership dedicated to improving the lives of children and leader of the GradNation campaign.
“D.C. Promise Neighborhood is an evidence-based initiative providing the inspiration, opportunities and support young people need to graduate from high school and prepare for college and career. AT&T Aspire is a great example of how the business community is contributing to better futures for more young people. With support like theirs, and the extraordinary work of the 30 awardees recognized today, I am confident we will reach our GradNation goal of a 90% national graduation rate by 2020,” added Powell.
“These programs are the best of the best in the country,” according to Charlene Lake, chief sustainability officer, AT&T. “They have demonstrated a proven ability to prepare students for future success, and we’re delighted to help them scale.” AT&T is helping set a high bar for evidence-based funding by answering the call for funders to transform education to be a more data-driven enterprise, she noted.