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Changing Lives by Changing the Game:

A 5-Year/$10 Million Dollar Program

The Challenge:

  • Only 7.5% of non-exam school students from the Boston Public Schools who entered the 9th grade in 2003 will complete a 2-4 year degree within 7 years of entering college.
  • Only 21.2% of residents in Boston's Spine—the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan—aged 25+ hold a Bachelor's Degree or higher.
  • A typical Bachelor's Degree holder earns $2.2 million more than a high school dropout.

But There's Hope:

In late 2012, Grand Circle Foundation launched CollegeWorks, a collaboration initiative between the Foundation, Bottom Line, and community partners in Boston's Spine to more than double the number of students from the Spine who receive a 4-year college degree by 2018. We will invest and leverage more than $10 million over the next 5 years.

Our Community Advisory Group partners have already made great strides toward reaching our common goal. Throughout our five-year CollegeWorks initiative, we hope to benefit from their wisdom and experience, and build upon their proven success. Here are just a few examples:

  • 74% of Bottom Line Students from Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan earn a 4-year college degree within 6 years.
  • 100% of City on a Hill and Codman Academy charter school graduates were admitted to college
  • 100% of Summer Search seniors graduated from high school in 2012
  • uAspire (formerly ACCESS) secured $59.6M in financial aid and served 2,614 students in 2011-2012.
  • 60% of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School alumni are enrolled in or have graduated from college.

Elements of the CollegeWorks Program

  • Community Engagement Sessions—a series of community meetings to encourage as many community leaders and residents as possible to work with us to improve college graduation rates for students in the Spine.
  • BottomLine Partnership—$2.5M over 5 years to be matched with new dollars by Bottom Line for total of $5M
  • $500K in Annual Donations to members of Grand Circle's Community Advisory Group and other community-based organizations that support initiatives to increase college graduation rates.
  • 10 Paid Summer Internships for students from the Spine at Grand Circle Corporation in Boston.
  • 10 Grand Circle Next Generation Leaders—a leadership, work, service, and adventure travel program for rising college freshmen, which culminates in a trip to Tanzania.
  • Fall and Spring CollegeWorks Days at Pinnacle Leadership Center in Kensington, New Hampshire—One-day experiential learning programs for 8th-11th grade students and community leaders from Boston's Spine.
  • Use of Pinnacle Leadership Programs, Facilities, and Staff to help Spine-based community organizations build capacity and develop leadership offered at no or nominal cost. Our Goal: 100 days of programming to Spine organizations.
  • Grand Circle's Associates Fund—$100,000 Fund to award grants, up to $10K per organization for nonprofits helping young people get into and through college.

"Like" us on Facebook to read the latest news about CollegeWorks, including progress reports and updates from our partner organizations and participating students.