Uplift Education, a public school charter network in North Texas, raised $520,000 during its 4th Annual Dinner & Dialogue event at Union Station in Dallas, which included a $75,000 matching gift from an anonymous donor. More than 350 guests were inspired by stories of current Uplift students as well as alumni and were challenged by a riveting discussion with Uplift President Dr. Remy Washington and Shankar Vedantam, NPR correspondent and host of The Hidden Brain.
Funds raised support Uplift’s Road to College and Career program, an innovative approach to supporting students currently attending an Uplift school through the college admissions process as well as after they have graduated to ensure college completion.
The event, chaired by Uplift Board Directors Rev. Dr. Lael Melville and Dr. H. Michielle Benson, was filled with exceptional statistics of successful Uplift graduates, including the average wages of an Uplift graduate in Dallas County, based on a report by Commit!.
Uplift graduates ages 25-32 make an average of $75,000 a year, compared to the Dallas County average of $48,000 a year. In addition, 100% of Uplift graduates are accepted into college.
“At Uplift Education, we are passionate about providing our 23,000 scholars with the tools and opportunities they need on their journeys to economic opportunity and future generational wealth. The generous gifts we received empower Uplift to deliver on our promise of academic excellence, personal growth and postsecondary success for every scholar in our network,” said Uplift CEO Yasmin Bhatia. “Your generosity is especially meaningful given the economic challenges many of our scholars’ face. Your belief in their potential sends a powerful message.”
During the event, Bhatia shared why Uplift’s outcomes continue to be significantly elevated compared to other public school districts.
- Within the Uplift network of 45 schools, 78% of students will be the first to attend college in their family. The “not if, but where” college culture begins in primary school, introducing students to future possibilities they have not seen modeled in their own families. College banners line the halls where elementary school students walk each day. Uplift takes students to visit college campuses in middle and high school. Huge celebrations are hosted for seniors to announce the college they will attend after graduation. It is engrained throughout their entire experience.
- In their junior year, all students are matched with an Uplift Road to College and Career counselor to provide tools and support. The ratio of these college advisors to junior and senior students is 1 to 50, compared with traditional school districts’ ratios of 1 to 300. With that level of personalization and coaching in the college process, students are supported with introductions to a robust college portfolio and setting big but attainable goals for the future. Advisors walk students and parents through financial aid applications and scholarship opportunities. The median scholarships earned per Uplift senior is $25,000.
- Uplift’s unique approach includes an alumni success team whose jobs are 100% focused on supporting Uplift alumni – after graduation, through college and throughout their career. Advisors serve as thought partners with alumni as they navigate roadblocks that might prevent them from completing college or advancing in their career.
Uplift provides the same level of support for a small percentage of students who choose to start their career immediately upon graduation. Collaborations with Baylor Scott & White introduce seniors and alumni to healthcare careers that offer a competitive salary. Uplift connects students with additional training opportunities and certificate programs to build their experience before they start on the job.
At the event, featured speaker Shankar Vendantam spoke about the impact of scarcity and how Uplift Education is overcoming the obstacles scarcity brings for many of its students.
“Scarcity robs us of the capacity to look at the horizon,” said Vendantam. “Part of the benefit of Uplift’s work is helping kids to say – how do we get our eyes up from what’s right in front of us to see the horizon?”
Amerigroup and McGriff were Magna Cum Laude sponsors of the 2023 Dinner and Dialogue event. Cum Laude sponsors included Bain & Co., Robert W. Baird & Co., Yasmin and Vik Bhatia, Buck Financial Advisors LLC, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Simon Chen, Nita And Cullum Clark, Pilar and Lew Davies, Nisi and Ardo Fuentes, Mandy Ginsberg and Madhu Rajendran, Greystar, HKS Architects, JLL Capital Markets, Joeris General Contractors, PMSI, Todd and Amanda Rapp, Regions Bank, James M. Stanton, Tegrity Contactors, and Thompson & Horton.
source: press release