Press Highlights

For press inquiries, please contact our Director of Marketing & Communications, Kaitlin Archambault, at karchambault@ihaveadreamfoundation.org.

Pitfalls of promising free tuition

San Francisco Chronicle | 04/19/2017

“While the promise of free college sounds like a winning proposition, advocates could learn from the experience of millionaire New York businessman Eugene Lang. In 1981, he spontaneously promised a sixth-grade class at his Harlem alma mater he would pay for their college education if they would graduate from high school. This promise resulted in the formation of the I Have a Dream Foundation. It says that, since 1986, it has served 18,000 students who were three times more likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than their peers.”

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Eugene Lang Found Giving Money Wasn’t Enough

Wall Street Journal | 04/14/2017

“Juan D. Martínez was one of the original students. With Mr. Lang’s help, he earned a philosophy degree at Swarthmore. On his own dime, he went on for a law degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Now he is a diplomat at the State Department in Washington, a veteran of postings in Mexico and Britain. He remembers meeting Mr. Lang several times a year as a teenager to talk about goals and ways to reach them. ‘We definitely got a lot more out of it than just a tuition check,’ Mr. Martínez said.”

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Former Student Remembers Life Of Education Donor Eugene Lang

NPR | 04/12/2017

“NPR’s Audie Cornish talks with Juan Martinez, one of the many thousands of students the philanthropist Eugene Lang helped send to college. Lang died over the weekend.”

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Eugene Lang, millionaire who financed college dreams, dies at 98

The Washington Post | 04/11/2017

“When he rose to speak in 1981 to the graduating sixth-graders at his old Harlem elementary school, Eugene M. Lang had planned, he said, on ‘mouthing the usual commencement banalities.’

But as the wealthy industrialist eyed the five dozen underprivileged, largely minority students, he could not bring himself to preach to them about the successes that they might never have the tools to reap. He discarded his remarks and recalled to them the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech, urging the children to pursue dreams of their own.”

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Eugene Lang changed thousands of lives for the better

New York Post | 04/10/2017

“Eugene Lang, who died Saturday at 98, was already a very successful man on the day in June 1981 when he began to change history in a small but powerful way.

Invited to give a sixth-grade graduation speech at his childhood alma mater, PS 121 in East Harlem, he learned on his way to the podium that three-quarters of the children wouldn’t finish high school — and scrapped his prepared ‘banalities’ about hard work.”

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Eugene Lang, Investor Who Made College Dreams a Reality, Dies at 98

New York Times | 04/08/2017

“Eugene M. Lang, an investor whose spur-of-the-moment promise to an East Harlem sixth-grade graduating class that he would pay for their college education inspired a foundation, led to the support of more than 16,000 children nationwide and made him something of an American folk hero, died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 98.”

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Income and education inequality persists, more must be done

The Hill | 03/16/2017

“We know that long-term, year-round, individualized engagement is what we need to truly turn around the educational inequities that exist in low-income communities. By transforming the lives of young people growing up in poverty, we can improve our economy and make our job opportunities truly equitable for all Americans.”

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The White House ‘Beating the Odds’ Summit

Black Enterprise | 12/14/2016

“Co-sponsored by the I Have A Dream Foundation, among other college access programs, the event brought together students from communities across the U.S. who have overcome seemingly daunting odds to enroll in college—such as poverty, homelessness, immigration status, and learning disability.”

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I Have A Dream Foundation Celebrates 35th Anniversary Gala

Black Enterprise | 06/09/2016

The I Have A Dream Foundation will celebrate its 35th anniversary on Thursday, June 9, with its annual Spirit of the Dream gala at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

This year’s honorees are philanthropists and education advocates Lauran & Justin Tuck, founders of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. (Read, Understand, Succeed, and Hope) for Literacy; U.S. Diplomat and member of the original 1981 ‘I Have A Dream’ class, Juan Martinez Esq; and the CBS Corp. The gala will be hosted by Bill Whitaker of CBS’s 60 Minutes.

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Delivering MLK Day Love With Care Packages

blog.viacom.com | 01/20/2016

“On the Friday before Martin Luther King Day, Viacommunity, BET and many eager volunteers teamed up with the ‘I Have a Dream’ Foundation to assemble 200 care packages for college freshman across the country. The care packages contained branded BET notebooks, Viacommunity-branded sunglasses and tote bags, stationary, snacks, and personal handwritten notes of encouragement. The students, or ‘Dreamers,’ receiving the packages have overcome disadvantaged and underserved beginnings and are on their way to becoming the leaders of tomorrow – truly fulfilling Dr. King’s vision of an equal world.”

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Nonprofit helps Metropolitan State expand low-income student capacity

Education DIVE | 12/23/2015

Metropolitan State University of Denver strives to be a preeminent public urban university, serving the diverse local community with high-quality access to higher education. One way it helps traditionally hard-to-reach students succeed is by partnering with outside organizations that can support them in the classroom and in their transition to college life.

One partnership, however, provides a range of benefits to the wider MSU Denver community, residents of the city, and prospective college students as young as five years old.”

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Closer Look: Atlanta Dreamers; Andy Griffith; And More

wabe.org | 12/22/2015

44:20: Vicky Jackson, program director for Atlanta’s I Have A Dream Foundation, and Martisia Jackson, a college student who participated in the Atlanta Dreamers program, talk about the program, which is paying college tuition for a group of students “adopted” 15 years ago

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Putting the dream of higher education within reach

The Hill | 12/11/2015

“When I was 12 years old, an industrialist named Eugene M. Lang took a chance on me. He was scheduled to speak at my sixth grade graduation in 1981. On the way to the podium, Mr. Lang learned that three-quarters of the students sitting before him would probably never finish high school. So he made a promise: he would pay college tuition for all 61 of the kids in my class, if we could show him a high school diploma.”

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The Outgoing Education Secretary Reunites With A Former Student

NPR | 12/01/2015

“As he prepares to leave office this month, Education Secretary Arne Duncan reunited with a former student as part of a StoryCorps interview project.

More than 25 years ago Duncan took part in a mentorship program run by the ‘I Have a Dream’ Foundation at Shakespeare Elementary School in Chicago. And Lawanda Crayton was one of the young students he mentored.”

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Mayim Bialik and LL Cool J Came Together for This Cause

Kveller | 12/01/2015

“Mayim Bialik and LL Cool J together at last. Yes, you read that properly. Mayim and LL did a PSA together. Not a pairing you normally think of together. And even better, they are Christmas-and-Hanukkah-themed PSAs, which aired nationally starting November 27th.”

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“I Have A Dream” Foundation And CBS Cares Collaborate On PSA Campaign

mysocialgoodnews.com | 11/24/2015

“The “I Have A Dream” Foundation (IHDF) and CBS Cares have joined together to create a public service campaign focusing on educational support and mentoring for young students in low-income areas.

Christmas- and Hanukkah-themed IHDF public service announcements featuring Mayim Bialik (THE BIG BANG THEORY) and LL COOL J (NCIS: LOS ANGELES) will launch online and across CBS Interactive platforms on Wednesday, Nov. 25. On Friday, Nov. 27, the PSAs will begin to air nationally on the CBS Television Network and on local CBS stations across the country.”

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I Have A Dream Foundation Celebrates 35th Anniversary Gala

Black Enterprise | 03/11/2015

The I Have A Dream Foundation will celebrate its 35th anniversary on Thursday, June 9, with its annual Spirit of the Dream gala at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

This year’s honorees are philanthropists and education advocates Lauran & Justin Tuck, founders of Tuck’s R.U.S.H. (Read, Understand, Succeed, and Hope) for Literacy; U.S. Diplomat and member of the original 1981 ‘I Have A Dream’ class, Juan Martinez Esq; and the CBS Corp. The gala will be hosted by Bill Whitaker of CBS’s 60 Minutes

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The first lady gives NYC seniors a dreamy college sendoff

metro.us | 01/07/2015

“As high school seniors around the country take a sigh of relief as college acceptances roll in, a group of New York City students had an additional reason to celebrate this week.

Deja Daniels, 18, was one of 4,000 high school seniors who got to “sign” her college of choice along with first lady Michelle Obama at College Signing Day on April 26th. The event was part of Obama’s Reach Higher initiative, which encourages first generation and low-income students to pursue higher education.”

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