We believe the zip code a child is born into should not control their ability to achieve their boldest dreams. And yet, we see a growing economic divide in our country, with income inequality at a 50-year high. The federal government only supports 8 to 9 percent of school budgets, with the rest falling on state and local governments—a construct that reduces the spending per student in under-resourced districts by as much as 15.6 percent per student. And while graduation rates have been on the rise over the last several decades, the progress hasn't reached the students with the most to gain from this economic mobility.
More than half of students in U.S. public schools—over 25 million children—live in poverty.
Only 15% of students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree by age 24, compared to 77% of their high income peers (that’s 5x).
While the college graduation rate for high income students has nearly doubled in the past 40 years, that of low income students has stagnated.
People with college degrees earn about $1 Million more over their lifetimes than those who do not earn college degrees.
The Challenges of Filling the Gap
There are currently many programs addressing components of this problem — including targeted early childhood literacy, tutoring, mentorship, and after-school programs. Individually, these programs tend to stay with students for a short period of time, providing temporary relief and allowing students to fall behind. Moreover, programs designed to promote educational equality frequently “cherry pick” students for inclusion based on academic performance, and the young people with the greatest need fall through the cracks entirely. We believe making supports available to all students on a long-term, individualized basis is the solution to holistic transformation in the lives of children and their families.