AT&T invests $5 million in communities in schools

Lauren Williams's picture
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Nearly one in five high school students don’t graduate with their class, with a devastating impact on lives and a crisis for our future job force, the economy and U.S. global competition.

AT&T* and Communities In Schools (CIS), the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, are joining forces to address this problem with a proven model for success.

Supported by a $5 million contribution from AT&T, Communities In Schools will expand and strengthen its network that is helping 1.25 million of the nation’s most challenged students achieve in school, graduate and go on to college and career success. In addition, AT&T employees will support these efforts as volunteer mentors across the country.

AT&T’s $5 million contribution is one of the largest ever through AT&T Aspire, the company’s $350 million investment in education to help more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. Since 2008, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have provided $14.2 million in funding to Communities In Schools and its local affiliates.  With the latest contribution, AT&T is the largest corporate funder of CIS.

The $5 million investment by AT&T includes:

  • Total Quality System: $2.8 million to support the CIS Total Quality System (TQS) accreditation standards that help ensure local affiliates are implementing the CIS model to its full potential. Fifty CIS affiliates, serving approximately 700,000 students, are expected to be TQS-accredited over the period of the contribution. CIS research shows that affiliates with accreditation can double positive outcomes and serve more students than those without accreditation.
    • Site Coordinators: $2 million to enable CIS to continue its collaboration with Diplomas Now, a pioneering collaborative with City Year and John Hopkins University Talent Development that reaches the most challenged students in the most challenged schools. The program helps CIS site coordinators target community services and high-intensity supports to students showing early warning signs of dropping out, such as poor attendance, poor behavior and course failure in English or Math. More than 25,000 students will be served, including 2,500 with intensive support.
    • Mentors: $200,000 will help expand mentoring opportunities through Aspire Mentoring Academy -- the employee engagement initiative of Aspire -- to an additional 4,000 CIS students. The funding will build on successful pilots in North Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Kansas that took place earlier this year. The initiative will connect more students with AT&T employee volunteers who will share life and career experiences with the students.

Communities In Schools deploys approximately 3,200 school-based site coordinators as the points of contact for providing integrated student support for at-risk youth. They are supported by more than 70,000 volunteers and 15,700 community partners in nearly 200 affiliates across the network. Communities In Schools has earned a four-star rating from Charity Navigator as well as the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance Accredited Charity Seal. CIS continues to be recommended by Philanthropedia, a nonprofit that helps donors give more strategically, and recognized by the Social Impact 100 as a top-performing, evidence-based nonprofit.

“We are grateful for the long-standing collaboration with AT&T. Their support will enable Communities In Schools to continue impacting even more of our nation’s youth,” said Communities In Schools President Daniel Cardinali. “AT&T’s investments of time and resources demonstrate leadership that increases the likelihood students will make positive life choices, succeed academically and finish school prepared to achieve in life.”

“Communities In Schools combines the best of what we know works – a caring adult and the effective use of metrics and evidence-based strategies – to drive positive, measurable outcomes for the students they serve,” said Beth Shiroishi, vice president, sustainability and philanthropy at AT&T. “This new support will help ensure these best practices are implemented across their national network. Coupled with the commitment of AT&T employees, we will help more students  graduate high school ready for future success.”

“The collaboration between AT&T and Communities In Schools shows the potential for evidence-based funding in education philanthropy,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, Executive Director of the Data Quality Campaign, a Washington-based non-profit that promotes the use of high-quality data to prepare students for high school graduation, college and career success. “By collaborating with an organization like Communities In Schools that puts a premium on collecting and analyzing data for constant student improvement, AT&T is helping to change the culture around data use in education.”

At the end of the 2011-12 school year, 99 percent of CIS students stayed in school, 94 percent of students in grades K-11 were promoted to the next grade and 93 percent of eligible seniors graduated on time. Research by EMSI, one of the nation’s leading economic modeling firms, showed that every dollar invested in CIS returns an average of $11.60 to local communities.