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SBC Foundation Launches $5 Million Grant to Support Gear Up Education Partnerships Across the U.S.


Following Senate Vote to Preserve Gear Up Funding, SBC Expands Largest-Ever Grant to Promote College Readiness for Low-Income Students

San Antonio, Texas, November 8, 2005, Following overwhelming support from U.S. Senate members, who late last week passed a significant education-funding bill for 2006, the SBC Foundation today announced that it will provide $5 million to the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) to fund college access support programs for students from low-income communities across the country.

On Thursday, Oct. 27, the Senate resoundingly passed the FY 2006 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriation Bill (HR 3010), which includes support for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP), the nation’s leading federally and privately funded program that helps schools and communities to improve public education and provide youth from low-income communities to become college-ready and successful in postsecondary education. The House voted to approve its version of the bill in June, and the proposed budget is expected to be passed into law. As a result, in 2006, GEAR UP will continue to expand education opportunities for approximately 1.5 million low-income middle and high school students in the U.S. and its territories.

“NCCEP is deeply grateful to members of Congress for recognizing GEAR UP’s early impact in our nation’s schools and communities, in maintaining its promise to making higher education a reality for future generations of students,” said Dr. Hector Garza, president of NCCEP. “We are also very pleased to renew our partnership with the SBC Foundation, whose support has already helped thousands of students — and will now help even more deserving students.”

The SBC Foundation grant to NCCEP will support GEAR UP grantees by funding after-school and summer enrichment programs in math, science, reading and technological literacy, as well as help teachers and students use technology in the classroom to enhance the teaching and learning functions and improve students’ academic performance. The grant also funds the enhancement of a national evaluation framework of the GEAR UP program.

With the grant, the SBC Foundation — the largest corporate supporter of the public/private GEAR UP partnership — brings its total philanthropic commitment to $10 million in support of improving low-income college access through GEAR UP programs.

“SBC applauds members of Congress for continuing to make educational access for low-income students a budgetary priority,” said Forrest Miller, group president-External Affairs and Planning. “SBC believes that all students can achieve educational success given the right tools, and we recognize GEAR UP’s proven success in putting students on a college trajectory. Improving educational opportunities through technology — highlighted by innovative public/private approaches, like the GEAR UP model — remains our number one funding priority.”

GEAR UP, enacted as a result of Congress’ passage of the Higher Education Amendment of 1998, encourages students to stay in school and enroll in a rigorous course of study that will prepare them to become college-ready and competitive in the university admissions process. The program currently serves 1.5 million students nationwide, and more than 2,000 organizations currently participate in GEAR UP. GEAR UP partnerships typically consist of collaborations between public schools or districts, universities, community colleges, community and parent groups and businesses.

In 2004, the SBC Foundation provided $5 million in funding that supported 79 collaboratives across the U.S, directly impacting more than 325,000 low-income students. Under the program, 60 grants were made to existing GEAR UP partnerships to support a variety of community-focused education initiatives, including after-school programs to help students in math, science, reading and technology; training and assistance for teachers in the use of technology in the classroom; and utilizing technology in enhancing measurements of student achievement and program impact. Another 19 grants were made to new education reform communities to assist them with their partnership development efforts.

Examples of the 2004 — 2005 grants include the University of Connecticut GEAR UP, which launched, a Professional Development Academy that enabled teachers in New Haven, Conn., to use software to assist students in the areas of academic achievement, college preparation and technology awareness. Reaching beyond the grant objectives, they were able to repair, update and reopen four computer labs in the school. Another 2004 grantee, the University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire/Lac du Flambeau prepared students for advanced math and science courses in high school, increased awareness about professional math and science careers and created a technology lab for Native American middle school students. More than 2,400 students participated in the lab program.

Projects funded through the SBC Foundation GEAR UP initiative will be awarded through a competitive grants program managed by NCCEP. A Request for Proposal package is now available on the NCCEP Web site,, for GEAR UP grantees who meet the application criteria.

Over the last 10 years, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have distributed more than $206 million in grants to support new classroom technology, after-school programs, teacher preparedness and other educational endeavors. In 2004, the SBC Foundation provided more than $18.6 million dollars to support education initiatives across the nation. More than 40 percent of recent SBC Foundation grants helped support educational programs that use new technologies to enhance education. Since 1984, SBC Communications and the SBC Foundation have contributed more than $1 billion to nonprofit organizations and affiliates across the country.

The National Council for Community and Education Partnerships (NCCEP) serves as the national technical assistance provider, annual conference convener and voice in Washington, D.C., for the GEAR UP program. NCCEP, a non-profit organization committed to creating and sustaining K-16 education partnerships, works to increase academic achievement and access to higher education for economically disadvantaged students. By building broad-based partnerships, linking schools and communities, developing new initiatives, supporting proven programs, and using research findings to create successful frameworks for action, NCCEP aims to invigorate the principle of equal educational opportunity for all, and to help improve public education in the United States. One of the primary objectives of NCCEP is to promote academic achievement and encourage education reform in schools, colleges and universities.

The SBC Foundation is the charitable giving arm of SBC Communications Inc. The SBC Foundation supports efforts that enrich and strengthen diverse communities nationwide, particularly those with an emphasis on education and technology and those that benefit underserved populations. SBC Foundation-backed programs are designed to increase access to information technologies, broaden technology training and professional skills development, and effectively integrate new technologies to enhance education and economic development. The Foundation Center has consistently ranked the SBC Foundation among the nation’s top fifteen corporate foundations. In 2002, the SBC Foundation launched SBC Excelerator, a multimillion dollar competitive grants program that funds nonprofit organizations in their efforts to digitally connect communities. For more information, visit

SBC Communications Inc. is a Fortune 50 company whose subsidiaries, operating under the SBC brand, provide a full range of voice, data, networking, e-business, directory publishing and advertising, and related services to businesses, consumers and other telecommunications providers. SBC holds a 60 percent ownership interest in Cingular Wireless, which serves more than 52 million wireless customers. SBC companies provide high-speed DSL Internet access lines to more American consumers than any other provider and are among the nation’s leading providers of Internet services. SBC companies also offer satellite TV service. Additional information about SBC and SBC products and services is available at


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