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America’s Promise Alliance Announces Partnership with the Walmart Foundation to Support Grad Nation Campaign


$1 million Grant Will Fund Dropout Prevention Work in Five Cities Over Two Years

WASHINGTON –America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance) today announced it has received a
$1 million dollar grant from the Walmart Foundation to support its Grad Nation Campaign. The grant will be used to support dropout prevention work in select cities over two years. The first round of Grad Nation Community Grants will be awarded to: Detroit, MI; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; Oakland, CA and Washington, D.C. These grants, in the amounts of $79,500 each, will help ensure each community has a full-time staff member to oversee the coordination of ongoing dropout prevention work and make progress on specific focus areas identified for improvement.

Focus areas include: implementing early warning systems to better identify students at risk for dropping out, development and expansion of parent and family engagement policies and programs, engagement of more schools in local efforts, expansion of service-learning and career exploration programs for area youth, and increasing the number of mentors available.

“The Walmart Foundation has supported the Alliance’s dropout prevention work and that of our partners for many years now and this newest grant is going to help a group of select cities take their already outstanding work to support children and youth to the next level,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “These grants will allow communities to designate a dedicated individual to oversee their dropout efforts full time and in an era of shrinking budgets and overwhelmed staff, this is essential to keeping these communities on track.”

“We’re focused on helping create opportunities for youth to succeed and we believe that a high school education is essential,” said Walmart Foundation president Margaret McKenna. “Through our work with America’s Promise Alliance we are helping students graduate from high school, prepare for the workforce and become successful adults.”

Communities will be evaluated upon the completion of this first year of grants and may be eligible for another year of funding in 2012. The 2011 grants will support the following work:

* Detroit, MI: The Grad Nation Community Grant will support the Greater Detroit Educational Venture Fund (the Fund), a collaborative of funding institutions, businesses and community organizations led by the United Way of Southeastern Michigan and including City Year Detroit, Communities in Schools and the Detroit Parent Network, who are working together to increase graduation rates to 80 percent at some of greater Detroit’s most struggling high schools. The Fund is currently working with five schools and after a year of implementation the number of students on track for graduation has increased significantly. This grant will help the Fund recruit more schools as part of the turnaround effort.
* Louisville, KY: The Grad Nation Community Grant will be overseen by the Jefferson County Public Schools which are part of the larger Graduate! Greater Louisville Collaborative including 30 area partners. This specific funding will be used to support the community’s dropout prevention work already underway and it’s Grad Nation School-Community Coordinator.
* Nashville, TN: The Grad Nation Community Grant will support Alignment Nashville, the community’s largest collaborative effort comprised of more than 200 organizations, working together to help connect schools, youth, and families with resources so they can succeed. Specifically, the grant will support Alignment Nashville’s work with eight of Nashville’s Comprehensive High Schools and feeder middle schools.
* Oakland, CA: Led by Oakland’s Promise Alliance, the Grad Nation Community Grant will support the Citywide Dropout Prevention program, targeting six high schools and their feeder elementary and middle schools in West Oakland.
* Washington, D.C.: The Grad Nation Communities grant will support the work of the DC Promise Neighborhood Initiative Inc. (DCPNI), a unique neighborhood based coalition including a charter school (Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools), its feeder public schools, community residents, service providers and public and private partners, working together to provide high quality educational and life enrichment opportunities for young people living in the Parkside-Kenilworth neighborhood in Northeast Washington, DC. DCPNI is focused on improving the neighborhood’s high school graduation rate to 80 percent within the next 10 years.

Launched in March 2010 with the support of President Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Grad Nation is a 10-year campaign to mobilize the entire nation to take action to reverse the dropout crisis and help achieve the overall national goal of increasing the graduation rate for all students to 90 percent by 2020. This work is the second phase of the Alliance’s highly successful Dropout Prevention Campaign launched in April 2008. Between 2008 and 2010, the Alliance sponsored and helped co-convene 105 Dropout Prevention Summits in all 50 states bringing more than 40,000 policy, business, education, community and faith leaders together with nonprofits, parents and young people to discuss the dropout crisis in their communities and begin a dialogue on solutions around it.


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