Dallas, TX and Washington, DC-- April 7, 2010 – To combat the alarming high school dropout rate among American students, AT&T* and America’s Promise Alliance (the Alliance) today announced a $1 million contribution to fund a re-granting initiative led by the Alliance that will provide young people nationwide with the opportunity to develop and implement their own program ideas for increasing graduation rates.
The AT&T contribution is one of the first major gifts to support Grad Nation, the next phase of the Alliance’s highly successful Dropout Prevention Campaign. A 10-year initiative, Grad Nation is focused on mobilizing Americans to end the dropout crisis. This work will pay special attention to areas of the country where the need is the greatest, especially communities surrounding the nation’s 2,000 lowest-performing high schools, which account for approximately 50 percent of all young people who drop out of school.
The contribution to the Alliance is made through the AT&T Aspire program, the corporation’s $100 million commitment to help American students succeed in high school, the workforce, and in life. This contribution will mark the first youth-driven initiative in the Aspire portfolio.
A study by a professor from the School of Social Family Dynamics at Arizona State University found that by high school, teens are spending more than half of their time in the company of their peers, and that the credibility, authority, power, and influence of peers is greater during adolescence than at any other time in life.
Because of this, the Alliance will use AT&T’s $1 million contribution to create a grants program entitled “My Idea,” to empower youth in their communities to lead the local effort and generate new and innovative activities to increase graduation rates and
workforce readiness among their peers. Youth participating in the program will be paired with skilled Alliance partners to carry out the initiative.
This announcement from AT&T and the Alliance comes shortly after an announcement by President Obama where he unveiled plans to transform low performing schools, and praised the Alliance for being on the front lines in this must-win battle against the dropout crisis.
“Our youth must be involved in charting the solutions to the high school dropout issue,” said Charlene Lake, Senior Vice President-Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer for AT&T. “No one knows better than they do what will keep them in school and motivated toward post-secondary education and exciting career options.”
With the AT&T funding, the “My Idea” program will provide grants delivered in two different ways to ensure youth across the country have the opportunity to apply. Local grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 will be available to youth in targeted schools and neighborhoods in 10 Alliance-identified communities with higher dropout rates. National grants of up to $20,000 will be open to youth in all 50 states to fund community-wide projects. All applicants will be encouraged to develop projects focusing on improving known indicators that influence graduation rates, such as 8th grade math and science scores, or on-time promotion from 9th to 10th grade.
“Grad Nation offers us an opportunity to build on the terrific summit work and start driving real change in our communities to help kids stay in school. To be successful we must have partners like AT&T who are committed to helping students prepare for a productive and fulfilling life,” said Marguerite Kondracke, CEO of America’s Promise Alliance. “This partnership is the perfect opportunity to engage our young people and give their voices and ideas the support and spotlight they deserve.”
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of its commitment, AT&T launched Aspire in April 2008. AT&T Aspire is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to address high school success and workforce readiness.
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* AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verseSM and AT&T | DIRECTVSM brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine.
About Philanthropy at AT&T
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives and partnerships, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2009, nearly $155 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.
About America’s Promise Alliance
America’s Promise Alliance is the nation’s largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through the collective power of our partner network, we raise awareness, support communities and engage in nonpartisan advocacy to ensure that young people receive more of the fundamental resources they need to graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America’s Promise Alliance, visit www.americaspromise.org.