Press Release

America’s Promise Alliance Receives Gates Foundation Support for Campaign to Improve the Lives of 15 Million At-Risk American Youth and Increase High School Completion Rates

(ALEXANDRIA, VA) –The America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance), today announced it has received a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its new national campaign, 15 in 5, which has a goal to improve the lives of 15 million disadvantaged young people over the next five years.

The grant will be used to help mobilize the more than 100 Alliance partners engaged in the campaign and aid in the planning and implementation of the three National Action Strategies designed to ensure that more of the nation’s most at-risk young people experience the key developmental supports—the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; healthy start; effective education; opportunities to help others—they need to succeed and complete high school better prepared for college or work.

“We are becoming a ‘drop-out nation’ and failure to prepare America’s young people to succeed in life is not an option,” said Marguerite W. Kondracke, president and CEO, America’s Promise Alliance. “With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Alliance is better prepared to improve the chances of success for the country’s most at-risk young people.”

This grant will help fund the Alliance’s work to evaluate the campaign’s goal and to convene key thought leaders, researchers and already established working groups for the National Action Strategies which are:

  • All Kids Covered: Enroll 6.5 million eligible children in the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or Medicaid.
  • Ready for The Real World: Engage middle-schoolers in service learning and career exploration to deepen their motivation for achievement at school, in their community and the workplace.
  • Where the Kids Are: Beginning with schools as hubs, deliver integrated school and community services where kids already congregate. There are more than 11 million students enrolled in Title One schools, which represent 95 percent of the nation’s highest poverty schools

The Alliance’s landmark research study, Every Child, Every Promise: Turning Failure Into Action, revealed that two-thirds (34 million 6-17 year-olds) of America’s young people are receiving two few of the Promises needed to succeed. More than one million American high school students drop out every year. Improving high school completion rates would yield dividends in the form of higher lifetime incomes for those who graduate, higher tax contributions, fewer incarcerations and reduced dependence on public assistance.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people in the United States—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.

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About the America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s leader in forging a strong and effective 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. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance visit www.americaspromise.org.

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Bridgeland, John, John J. DiIulio, Jr., and Karen Morison. The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: March, 2006.