Press Release

America’s Promise Alliance Launches New National Campaign to Improve the Lives of 15 Million Disadvantaged Youth Over the Next Five Years

Former Presidents Bush and Clinton Join with Colin and Alma Powell to Renew Commitment to Nation’s Young People at 10th Anniversary Celebration and Honor Heroes & Champions for Children

(ALEXANDRIA, VA) –To launch its next decade of action, the America’s Promise Alliance today announced the 15 in 5 campaign aimed at improving the lives of 15 million disadvantaged children over the next five years by providing them with more of the essential resources they need to succeed.  The new initiative was unveiled at the Alliance’s 10th anniversary event in New York City by America’s Promise Founding Chair General Colin Powell and current Chair Alma Powell. The event also honored Promise Heroes, including former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton, who helped found the Alliance and joined the Powells in renewing the call for children to be a national priority. 

The goal of the new 15 in 5 campaign is to see that the country’s most vulnerable young people experience more of the wrap-around supports – Five Promises – that increase a child’s chances of success: caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others - in their lives. The top priority for the campaign is to significantly increase high school completion rates. Three National Action Strategies to be implemented in communities across the country will advance the 15 in 5 campaign goal:

All Kids Covered: Work together to enroll all eligible children in health insurance. There are 6.5 million children who are eligible for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid, but currently not enrolled.

Ready for The Real World: Work together to engage all middle-schoolers in service learning and career exploration to deepen their motivation for achievement in their world – including school, community and the workplace.

Where the Kids Are: Beginning with schools as hubs, work together to deliver more of the Five Promises where kids already congregate. There are 11 million youth in Title One Schools and 6.5 million enrolled in after-school programs. Reaching youth where they meet makes it more likely that they will receive the support they need from people who already know them by name.

“As a nation we are not doing enough to prepare our young people to become successful adults. The time has come for us to target our efforts and put our resources where we can do the most good.  The 15 in 5 campaign is ambitious, but doable,” said General Colin Powell. “The success of our nation lies with the prosperity of our young people. America’s Promise Alliance is committed to mobilizing all sectors and every interested community to do what has to get done to reach 15 million of our country’s most vulnerable youth in the next five years.”

The Alliance partner organizations are currently working together to draft detailed plans to achieve the goals of the National Action Strategies through targeted, local efforts that include policy development, public education campaigns and volunteerism. The planning work around these strategies is being supported by funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“These strategies do not stand alone, they complement each other and represent a critical chapter in the next decade of the Alliance’s work,” said Alma Powell, Chair of America’s Promise Alliance. “The status quo is unacceptable, but together we can change it. Our National Action Strategies will help us reach our 15 in 5 goal and put us on a path toward ensuring that every child has every Promise fulfilled.”

A study conducted in 2006 by the Alliance, Every Child, Every Promise (ECEP), shows that the chances of children succeeding in life are greatly increased when they experience the Five Promises at home, in school and in their communities. Specifically, ECEP found that children receiving four of the Five Promises, as compared to youth receiving zero to one Promise, are far more likely to be successful, including twice as likely to get A’s, twice as likely to avoid violence and 40 percent more likely to volunteer. Moreover, the research shows that receiving four out of five of these basic resources has the potential to level the playing field for youth across racial and economic lines.

ECEP identified more than 10 million (20 percent) 6- to 17-year-olds who are unlikely to succeed because they are receiving zero or only one of the Promises. The study also revealed that young people are beginning to lose hope about their futures, and that more than four in 10 youth say they do not believe they will be able to realize their goals.

"The good news is that we know what works – efforts that engage both the public and private sector and impact young people at school, at home and across their communities," said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way of America. "United Way of America and other Alliance partner organizations are committed to the goals of the 15 in 5 campaign. We recognize that to be successful, we must collaborate. It will take a united effort across the nation and in each neighborhood to provide every child with what is promised."

Also at today’s event, the Alliance announced that The Vito Marcantonio School (PS/IS 50) in East Harlem, NY, was named the first recipient of the The Colin and Alma Powell Legacy Award, in recognition of the Powell’s commitment to and advocacy on behalf of America’s children. PS/IS 50’s Principal Rebekah Marler-Mitchell accepted the $100,000 award and said the money would be used to help provide more resources to more of her school’s students and their families.
 
Additionally, the Alliance recognized at the anniversary celebration private and public sector organizations and businesses, as well as individuals, with the Promise Hero and Promise Champion awards for going beyond the mission of their own organizations to deliver the Five Promises to young people.

“As we mark our 10th anniversary, it is fitting to honor those who have given powerful form to the founding vision and spirit of our Alliance. Our Promise Heroes and Champions have helped make the promise of America a reality for millions of children and youth,” said Marguerite Kondracke, President and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “It’s because of the energies, commitment, resources and leadership of these individuals that we have accomplished much and will accomplish much more.”

Recipients of the Promise Hero awards: Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and William Jefferson Clinton; Atlantic Philanthropies; The Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs; James Barksdale, Chairman and President, Barksdale Management Corporation; the Boys and Girls Clubs of America; Raymond G. Chambers, philanthropist and founder Amelior Foundation; Mayor David N. Cicilline, Providence, Rhode Island; Communities In Schools; Corporation for National and Community Service; Ford Motor Company Fund; MENTOR; the Points of Lights Foundation; State Farm Insurance Companies and Edward B. Rust, Jr. Chairman and CEO of State Farm Insurance Companies; and United Way of America.

Recipients of the Promise Champion award: National 4-H Council, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Bankers Association, American International Group Inc. (AIG), Best Friends Foundation, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Capital One, CVS/pharmacy, Forum for Youth Investment, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,  Hands on Network, Harper Collins Publishers, ING Financial Services, Junior Achievement, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the National Governors Association, The David and Lucille Packard Foundation, PNC Financial Services Group, Radio Flyer, Sappi Fine Paper, The Search Institute, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, The Volunteer Center National Network, the YMCA of the USA, and individuals such as: Senator Lamar Alexander (Tenn), Ambassador and Mrs. Walter Annenberg, Michael Ansari, Senator Jeff Bingaman (NM), Jean Case, Charles Cawley, Dr. Johnnetta Cole, Governor Joe Manchin (WV), Donald and Catie Marron, William Milliken, Catherine and Wayne Reynolds, Former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Donna E. Shalala, Mayor Joseph Riley, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Senator Ted Stevens (AK) and Former Governor Tom Vilsack (IA).

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About the America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership alliance comprised of corporations, nonprofit organizations, foundations, policymakers, advocacy and faith groups committed to ensuring that children receive the fundamental resources - the Five Promises – they need to lead successful, healthy and productive lives and build a stronger society. Building on the legacy of our founder General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our children is grounded in experiencing the Five Promises - caring adults; safe place; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others - at home, in school and in the community.