Atlanta Joins National Network to Increase Post-High School Education Completion

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ATLANTA– Feb. 25, 2015 – Lumina Foundation, (www.luminafoundation.org.) a national, independent, private foundation committed to increasing post-secondary graduation rates, recently accepted Atlanta into its final cohort of communities who have made the commitment to support Goal 2025, an innovative program to drive a 60 percent completion of post-secondary degrees, certificates or credentials by American students by the year 2025.

“Achieve Atlanta”, a partnership between The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation, is an educational initiative designed to increase the number of Atlanta Public Schools (APS) students graduating from higher education by the year 2025. Achieve Atlanta will offer opportunities for leadership and engagement across philanthropic, civic and public sectors through proactive and strategic alignment of resources and programs.

High school graduation and matriculation to higher education is a growing national concern. Fueled by low academic performance, decreased college entrance and retention (particularly for some groups of students such as African American males and Latinos) and rising college costs, the manifestation of this problem has grown to national levels of concern. Both The Community Foundation and the Whitehead Foundation believe Achieve Atlanta offers a unique window of opportunity to craft a student-centered and community-grounded regional response to this issue for APS students.

“Two-thirds of Americans live in or near urban centers. Our nation cannot meet its growing demand for citizens who have earned a postsecondary credential without meaningful community-based efforts that are tightly focused on increasing educational attainment,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina’s president and chief executive officer. “We are very pleased with the way this work has unfolded. With 75 communities across the nation working to align the work of business, civic and education efforts in their local communities, greater coordination will occur, resulting in tangible benefits for students of all ages. These students in turn will become graduates who form the backbone of the future economic, social and cultural success of those communities.”

“Leaders from all sectors of our community must come together around postsecondary attainment to ensure the future of our globally-recognized city. We must arm our students with the tools to forge new pathways and be successful in fulfilling their higher education goals,” added Lesley Grady – senior vice president, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta.

Achieve Atlanta will invest in strategies that meet the academic, social and financial needs of APS students to succeed in post-secondary institutions by:

  • Ensuring students beginning with the 8th grade class, receive consistent, top quality high school advising that prepares them for college;
  • Piloting innovative strategies for mobilizing community and civic support to rally around the student’s individualized needs;
  • Providing students with financial assistance to access and maintain enrollment in college; and
  • Supporting students with academic and social supports once enrolled in college.

The full impact of Achieve Atlanta will begin with the individual and expand to invigorate the entire community, improve the quality of life across the Atlanta region and develop a highly qualified workforce that will meet the needs of local employers, both now and in the future.Through the funding provided by Lumina, each chosen community will work closely with Lumina and national thought leaders to develop a customized action plan focused on reaching attainment goals to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents. The collaborative effort connects participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and the ability to customize attainment plans that will best suit each community’s needs and the well-being of its residents. Local leaders represent a range of sectors from higher education, to K-12, employers, human services, religious and a variety of other community-based organizations.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, log on to: www.luminafoundation.org.

About The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
Since 1951, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has been connecting donors, nonprofits and community leaders to strengthen the Atlanta region through philanthropy. We do this by providing quality services to donors and innovative leadership on community issues. Our work is influenced by our four goals: engaging philanthropists; strengthening nonprofits; advancing public will; and practicing organizational excellence. In 2014, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta received more than $78 million from donors (unaudited). The Foundation distributed more than $107 million to support nonprofits throughout the 23-county region and beyond. Visit our website at www.cfgreateratlanta.org to learn how we’re connecting people to the issues and organizations making a difference in our region.

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For more information:
Kristin Dunstan
Vice President of Marketing and Communications
404-688-5525
kdunstan@cfgreateratlanta.org