The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation today announced the recipients of four $150,000 grants to support some of the most innovative programs in America for high-achieving students with financial need. The four programs, which are based in Washington State, California, New York, and Virginia, were chosen following a national call for proposals that drew more than 600 applications from nonprofit organizations in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The recipients are:
• OneWorld Now! Global Leadership Youth Program (Seattle, WA): Founded in 2002, OneWorld Now! provides education in global leadership through a demanding and comprehensive after-school program for low-income Seattle public high school students that includes classes in Chinese or Arabic, leadership training, travel to China or Morocco, and internships in international affairs or education. With the Foundation’s support, the program will expand its service from 70 to 100 students annually and offer significant college and financial aid advising.
• The Posse Foundation (New York, NY): Founded in 1989, the Posse Foundation recruits and identifies talented urban students from poorly funded public schools and sends them in groups of 10 to top-tier liberal arts colleges and universities. Based on the idea that urban students perform better if they attend college in a peer group, or “posse,” the program has had great success retaining and graduating its students from college. In December 2003, 19 Posse partners served awarded full-tuition Posse scholarships, worth $22 million, to 223 high school seniors around the country. Posse is working with these 223 students in their pre-collegiate training program, and more than 500 additional Posse scholars on campuses nationwide. Posse training and support has resulted in a 90% retention and graduate rate for all Posse scholars. The program will now be able to serve more students and build partnerships with additional highly selective colleges.
• Ryman-Carroll Foundation (Los Angeles, CA): Founded in 1990, the Ryman-Carroll Foundation provides out-of-school, tuition-free, advanced studio art classes to high school students with exceptional visual art talent who would not otherwise have access to such training. Students receive lessons in drawing and painting, instruction on pursuing educational and career opportunities, and exposure to accomplished artists and professionals in creative industries. Eighty percent of Ryman-Carroll students enter postsecondary education. The Foundation’s support will allow Ryman-Carroll to intensify its efforts to recruit low-income students from six severely distressed high schools and nearby community centers in downtown and South Los Angeles and increase the number of students served.
• Youth for Tomorrow (Bristow, VA): Founded in 1986, Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) is a residential home, private school, and counseling center serving at-risk youth ages 11 to 18. The Foundation’s funds will provide college scholarships to students who, through YFT’s educational guidance and lessons in integrity and motivation, have proven their capacity to overcome their circumstances and fulfill their educational goals. YFT will select recipients for postsecondary scholarships based on students’ academic merit and financial need.
“These programs provide unique, individualized services for talented students whose families could not otherwise afford the opportunities they offer,” said Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, the Foundation’s executive director. “They are models for how to inspire and educate students in new ways.”
The programs will be expected to continue their development as leaders in educational innovation and report regularly on their progress to the Foundation. The Foundation also will work with the programs to learn how it might enhance its own ability to serve recipients of its scholarships, which are among the largest and most competitive in the US.
The Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. Mr. Cooke was a businessman and philanthropist who owned such professional sports teams as the Los Angeles Lakers and the Washington Redskins as well as the Chrysler Building in New York City. When he died in 1997, he left most of his fortune to establish the Foundation. Besides the Innovation Fund, the Foundation’s programs for outstanding students with financial need also include full scholarships for students attending graduate and professional school, scholarships program for students from community colleges who want to earn four-year degrees, and scholarships to help high-achieving youth develop their talents and abilities throughout high school. www.jackkentcookefoundation.org