Fund Will Grow to $15 Million With $7 Million Match from DC-CAP
Plus $1 Million Gift from Monumental Sports & Entertainment
A $10 million grant awarded from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the DC College Access Program (DC-CAP) will allow DC-CAP to pave a path to college completion for hundreds of youth in DC’s Wards 7 & 8. Specifically, three million dollars of the grant will support the implementation of the Ward 7 & 8 Scholars Program, a new initiative based on the College Success Foundation – District of Columbia (CSF-DC) model of comprehensive college preparation and support services to students starting as early as 7th grade. The additional $7 million will seed a college scholarship fund for youth who participate in the new scholars program.
DC-CAP will also provide a $7 million match to the new scholarship fund and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will contribute $1 million to bring the new DC-CAP Ward 7 & 8 Scholarship Fund total to $15 million. Through the scholarship fund, Ward 7 & 8 youth participating in the scholars program will be eligible for annual college scholarships of up to $5,000 for up to five years beginning with the academic year 2018-2019.
DC-CAP will contract and partner with CSF-DC leveraging their middle school relationships and experience in delivering high intensity middle school, high school and college programming to help ensure maximum impact to the scholars. Working together, the organizations will track student progress from middle school through college, and pair scholarships with necessary wrap-around services.
“With the backing of our long-time supporter the Gates Foundation, DC-CAP, in partnership with CSF-DC, will deliver intensive support and essential financial aid to hundreds of remarkable DC students who face the most daunting challenges and obstacles yet are committed to beating the odds, earning a college diploma and making their career dreams come true,” said DC-CAP President & CEO Argelia Rodriguez. “DC-CAP is ready and well-prepared through this collaboration with CSF-DC to extend our pipeline of support services for the first time to middle school students and their families in order to further increase high school graduation rates as well as college access, retention and graduation rates in Wards 7 and 8.”
“It takes both high-quality support services and financial aid to empower and enable low-income and underserved youth to make their way to and through college,” said Ted Leonsis, DC-CAP Board Chairman and CEO and Majority Owner, Monumental Sports & Entertainment. “Monumental Sports & Entertainment is likewise committed to doing all we can to support DC’s young people as they aspire and work to create successful futures for themselves, their families and our great city.”
“For the past ten years, College Success Foundation-DC has empowered students from Ward 7 and 8 to graduate from college and thrive in life,” said Herb Tillery, Executive Director, College Success Foundation-DC. “We are pleased to bring our middle school, high school and college programming expertise to the new Ward 7 and 8 Scholars Program in concert with DC-CAP. We applaud the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their continued investment in the education of young people in Wards 7 and 8.”
The need is indeed great in Wards 7 and 8, D.C.’s most impoverished areas, where the percent of children living in poverty is 40 and 48 percent respectively, compared to 29 percent for D.C. as a whole and 19 percent nationally. Nearly 25 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds in Ward 7 will earn less than a high school diploma. In parts of Wards 7 and 8, closer to 30 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds will earn less than a high school education, compared to the Metro area at 12 percent. Only six percent of the overall 18- to 24-year-old Ward 7 and 8 population has a four-year college degree, and that percentage plummets to one to two percent for males depending on their location in Wards 7 and 8.
The new Ward 7 & 8 Scholars Program will provide high intensity individual support, wrap around services including the Triangulated and Integrated Case Management Support System developed by CSF-DC. Services will include academic advising, after school enrichment, summer academies, parent university summits, test prep, college admission support and other strategies designed to increase the student’s chances for college success.
The scholars program will operate in Hart and Kramer Middle Schools and the six largest public and public charter schools in Ward 7 and 8: Anacostia High School, Ballou High School, H.D. Woodson High School, Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Friendship Collegiate Academy Public Charter School and Thurgood Marshall Academy Public Charter School.