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I Have a Dream Foundation

Each dollar raised allows The "I Have A Dream" National office to support the creation of the college savings accounts (CSA) for Dreamers. Statistics have shown that students with CSA's are 4 times more likely to graduate college.

'I Have A Dream' Foundation®

Since 1986, the national "I Have A Dream" Foundation has been working to ensure that all children have the opportunity to pursue higher education. We sponsor entire cohorts of students in low-income communities and work with them from an early age all the way to college. Upon high school graduation, each "Dreamer" receives guaranteed tuition assistance for higher education. Currently, more than 3,100 Dreamers are working their way to and through college, following the more than 16,000 Dreamers who came before them. At many of our sites, Dreamers are graduating from high school and entering college at double the rate of their peers. 

The national "I Have A Dream" Foundation supports and expands the network of "I Have A Dream" sites, now numbering 16 affiliates. Specifically, the Foundation's activities include:    

Funding: Heavily subsidizes affiliate participation in the national IHDF student conference and provides graduation gifts for students. When possible, sub-grants funds to affiliates.     

Development & Marketing: Seeks out press coverage, participates in education reform forums, and speaks at related events to enhance nation-wide knowledge about "I Have A Dream". Participates in national coalitions aimed at advancing educational opportunity and which provide opportunities for affiliates to promote their work locally. Assists with affiliate board structuring and development.     

Resources: Develops and disseminates resources to affiliates to better serve Dreamers, including curricula. Shares resources from partner organizations, aggregates and shares best practices, resources, and local funding opportunities. Collects data from affiliates and sends it back to them in a way that is useful to them for purposes of putting together funding proposals and planning.    

Technical Support: Provides ongoing support in many areas, including:  
  • Program: Provides comprehensive support to affiliates in person, via phone, the internet and newly created intranet in relation to program content, logistics, and outcome goals. The various affiliates are split between two staff members to ensure maximum support is provided. Staff conduct site visits to observe programming and provide feedback to increase student participation and benefit, guide local program staff to develop year-round programs and activities for students, help sites implement new curricula, and help affiliate staff deal with issues relating to Dreamers, families, and local partners.  
  • Strategic Planning: Presenting at affiliate Board meetings to help guide planning, participating in discussions and strategic planning sessions with site leadership. 
  • Human Resources and Operations: Guides sites on items including staff selection and budgeting through one-on-one interactions in person and by phone.   
  • Program Development: Currently, the organization is working to serve even more students and communities via providing best practices, new initiatives and resource sharing to current affiliates. Additionally, the organization provides support and guidance in the development of new "I Have A Dream" programs.    
Professional Development and Conferences: Provides various training vehicles to support Dreamers, Dreamer alumni and local program staff, including:  
  • National Dreamer Conference: Primarily funded by the national Foundation, this conference offers rising 7th grade through college freshmen students the opportunity to prepare for college through workshops, panels, and other activities. Generally, 75-100 students travel to the conference each year from programs across the country.  The National Foundation hosted (organized, arranged and largely funded) the 2015 National Dreamer Conference Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA.
  • National Program Staff Conference: Enables affiliate staff from across the country to share best practices and engage in meaningful professional development sessions led by internal and external facilitators, including national staff members.   
  • National College Dreamer Conference: Brings together College Dreamers from across the country for interactive leadership training, career site visits, workshops, networking, and education presentations.  
  • Affiliate Leadership Conference: Host a conference that brings together Program Sponsors and Executive Directors to learn more about what is happening across the network and to gather input on how the National Office can better serve our Programs, and ultimately, our Dreamers.
  • Intranet: Creating and implementing a user-friendly knowledge management center that promotes information sharing, community building, and collaboration within the "I Have A Dream" Foundation network.
  • College Savings Accounts: Launching College Savings Accounts for our Dreamers to foster a culture of college readiness, promote academic goals and reduce financial barriers. This year we opened over 150 CSAs for our Dreamers in Des Moines, IA, New York, NY, and Portland, OR and have plans to open many more this year.
  • Conference Calls and Webinars: Train affiliate staff in new curricula and resources, set goals and standards as a group, and connect staff with one another to discuss issues critical to their students' performance.  
  • In-Person Training: Travel to sites to provide in-person feedback on program implementation and train affiliate staff on new curriculum and resources.
  • Dreamer Alumni Network: Engaging the Foundation's network of Alumni and College Dreamers as they progress through and complete a postsecondary education, pursue meaningful and rewarding careers, and maintain relationships with the "I Have A Dream" Community.