"I Have A Dream" Foundation | October 11, 2016

Providing Youth in Under-Resourced Communities the Opportunity to Reach Their Full Potential Through Education

Today, 51% of students in U.S. public schools—over 25 Million children—live in poverty. Many of the impacts of poverty—like access to healthy foods, school attendance, and stability at home—are immediate and stretch across generations. Only 9% of students from low­-income families earn a bachelor’s degree, compared to 77% of their high­ income peers. And 65% of children whose parents have no more than a high school diploma go on to live in poverty.

Over the past 35 years, the “I Have A Dream” Foundation has worked in entire classes or schools to offer individualized, long-term social, emotional, financial, and academic support to over 17,000 children from as early as kindergarten all the way through college. Once given access to this individualized support, and the opportunity it provides, our students—who we call Dreamers—are nearly 3 times more likely to graduate college than their low-income peers. That’s about an additional $1 Million Dollars in lifetime earnings per Dreamer.

“I Have A Dream” Foundation’s Unique Approach

Our concept—giving every child access to the opportunity a college education provides—is simple, but our methods are high-touch and long-term. Here are some of the methods that set us apart and help us to make a lasting impact:

  1. Long- term. We follow the same group of children from elementary school all the way through college, providing a comprehensive program of support along the way.
  2. Inclusive. We do not “cherry-pick” students–rather, we welcome all children who are in the class or school at the time of program inception. Our staff members work closely with Dreamers, families, and service providers to manage special needs on a case-by-case basis.
  3. Comprehensive.  While we are dedicated to promoting Dreamers’ academic success, we focus just as intently on building life skills and fostering students’ ongoing social-emotional development.

We accomplish this work on a large scale—with over 200 programs to date—but through a highly individualized approach. Here are some of the programs we offer to Dreamers nationally in addition to our day-to-day services:

  1. Work Is Success Internship Program. After a full interview process and a series of work readiness trainings, Dreamers gain experience with top small businesses, corporations, law & medical offices, higher ed institutions and government agencies, with a 6-10 week paid summer internship.
  2. National Dreamer Conference. Each year, middle and high school Dreamers from across the nation come to a college campus to engage in a number of activities aimed at college readiness. The Dreamers live in college dorms, eat in the dining hall and attend workshops in college classrooms.  For many of our Dreamers, attending the Dreamer Conference  is their first experience traveling out of state, and with their peers.
  3. College Savings Accounts. Through our College Savings Account (CSA) Program, Dreamers earn CSA contributions by completing critical, grade-based academic and social milestones on the path to and through college. Our CSAs reinforce a culture of college from a young age, provide families and Dreamers with financial literacy education, and offset the costs of college tuition and supplies. Low-income students with up to $500 in college savings are 3x more likely to enroll in college and 4x more likely to graduate.

How you can help

All of these programs are made possible through the generous contributions of our supporters and partners.

  • $100—that’s under $10 a month—will cover transportation to send one Dreamer to the Dreamer Conference.
  • $350—that’s under $30 a month—will cover all registration costs for one Dreamer for the Dreamer Conference.
  • $500 would cover travel to the Dreamer conference for one whole class.
  • $1,600 would fund one Dreamer’s College Savings Account for four years.
  • $3,000 would cover all programs for one Dreamer for a year.

“I Have A Dream” Foundation 35th Anniversary Gala Video from “I Have A Dream” Foundation on Vimeo.

To support “I Have A Dream” Foundation’s work, please donate to them through your company’s workplace giving program (CFC#11312 if you’re a military or federal employee participating in the Combined Federal Campaign). 

If your company would like to start a workplace giving program to support nonprofits like “I Have A Dream” Foundation, click here. We have a portfolio of solutions designed to help large and small organizations give back to the causes they care about.

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