Press Release

America’s Promise Alliance Announces New GradNation Acceleration Grant

Grant targets state and community level efforts focused on successful practices with support from AT&T; New GradNation Action Platform highlights best practices for raising graduation rates nationwide

Washington, D.C. - As part of the next phase of the GradNation campaign to raise the national high school graduation rate to 90 percent, America’s Promise Alliance, with generous support from AT&T, announced today the launch of the GradNation Acceleration Grant. The new funding supports existing state- and community-level efforts focused on accelerating progress for more young people to high school graduation and post-secondary success.

America’s Promise, along with its campaign co-conveners, conducted data analysis to identify 10 states where graduating more students would have a measurable impact on the national graduation rate and equity gaps. Organizations in the following 10 states are eligible to apply for the grant: California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Washington.

Two state-level and three community-level organizations will be selected as GradNation Acceleration sites.Selected state and community organizations will receive $250,000 and $100,000, respectively, over the two-year grant period, which begins in 2018.

“Crossing the high school graduation stage is not the finish line, but rather a crucial first step on the path to economic mobility for more young people. As the campaign continues to push toward the 90 percent national goal, a more targeted approach is necessary if we are to get more young people to that starting line,” said John Gomperts, president and CEO of America’s Promise. “We recognize that for young people change happens locally and that’s why we will support smart, effective and focused efforts in these key states that are ready to make greater progress.”

“At AT&T, we strive to remove barriers to learning and ensure all students have the opportunity for success,” said Nicole Anderson, assistant vice president of social innovation and president of the AT&T Foundation. “We are committed to the goals of the GradNation campaign because when businesses, states and communities get behind young people, great things happen.”

In addition to the launch of the Acceleration Grant, the GradNation campaign is releasing its new GradNation Action Platform. This framework for action is based on the collective experience and expertise of practitioners in the field as well as young people. The Action Platform highlights six areas to raise high school graduation rates. Acceleration Grant sites will be selected based on their knowledge of the needs of young people, whether they have the conditions to extend their work, and their ability to convene and facilitate cross-sector collaboration – all consistent with the new Action Platform.

“These are not one-shot, silver bullet focus areas,” said Monika Kincheloe, a senior director at America’s Promise, who helps lead the day-to-day work of the campaign. “But what we’ve seen over time is that a deliberate and concerted effort to support these action items have led to improved graduation rates in states and communities across the country. And most importantly, effective practice in these areas improves young people’s experience during high school and increases their readiness for postsecondary success.”

The six action platform items are as follows:

  1. Use high-quality data to monitor cohort progress, identify struggling students, inform effective interventions, and provide accountability for overall progress.
  1. Respond to the non-academic factors that influence school participation and performance.
  1. Improve school climate by promoting a sense of caring and connection between students and in-school staff through disciplinary practices and policies that are inclusive and ensure students stay in school through to graduation.
  1. Increase the number and quality of caring adult relationships in students’ lives.
  1. Re-engage young people who have left school by providing accessible and effective options for completing high school prepared for success in college and/or career.
  1. Connect the high school experience with pathways to postsecondary education, workforce readiness and participation, and overall adult success.

The deadline to submit applications is November 8, 2017.

To apply and learn more about the GradNation Acceleration Grant and Action Platform, visit


America’s Promise Alliance leads an alliance of organizations, communities and individuals dedicated to making the promise of America real for every child. As its signature effort, the GradNation campaign mobilizes Americans to increase the on-time high school graduation rate to 90 percent by 2020 and prepare young people for postsecondary enrollment and the 21st century workforce. For more information, visit