All students deserve the chance to earn a quality higher education. That’s why we applaud the Florida Legislature, which recently allocated an additional $1 million in funding to Take Stock in Children because of its solid history of awarding scholarships to more than 18,000 deserving low-income students, more than 80 percent of whom are the first in their family to have the opportunity to attend college.
We’re pleased that the state sees the organization as a strong partner in the solution for improving education. Their support comes on the heels of Take Stock in Children receiving national recognition for its outstanding results, including the prestigious Investing in Innovation grant from the U.S. Department of Education and shining as a top program in a study by the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability.
Take Stock in Children offers a unique opportunity for its students with comprehensive services starting in middle school, continuing through high school and including assistance during their transition to college. With an unparalleled high school graduation rate of 92 percent with 89 percent enrolling in college, we contribute to the economic viability of our communities and deliver an unmatched return on investment. High school graduates contribute 46 percent more in taxes, have longer lives with less public health dependency and are three times more likely to be employed and not dependent on government assistance. The total benefit to the state is estimated to be $300,000 per student over a lifetime.
With the Legislature’s vote of confidence, came the understanding that Take Stock in Children will enroll an additional 1,800 students. However, prior to enrolling students we must first secure the funding to purchase a college scholarship for them. This is the promise that we make to all our scholars.
In return, each student promises to meet with their mentor once a week, maintain a minimum grade-point average of 2.5, and remain drug- and crime-free. Once the student has fulfilled the agreement, he or she is awarded a college scholarship at high school graduation. Take Stock in Children is launching its Keeping the Promise campaign with the goal of raising enough funding to enroll 1,800 more students.
To achieve this goal, we need individuals and businesses to follow the lead of the Legislature and rally behind our organization. Volunteering, mentoring or providing resources to purchase scholarships are great ways to help us in Keeping the Promise. With our unique public and private model of funding, any contribution made is matched dollar for dollar by the state.
Now is your chance to help in changing the face of education. Take Stock in Children is a vital part of the solution to improve our communities and prepare a stronger workforce for tomorrow. We give everyone making an investment in education an A+. For more information about “Keeping the Promise” please visit www.takestockinchildren.org/donate/keepingthepromise.
Emilio Alonso-Mendoza, president/CEO, Take Stock in Children, Miami