Using the Power of Evidence-based Funding to Reduce the High School Dropout Rate

AT&T Provides Nearly $10 million in Funding to "Best of the Best" Organizations Across the Country

Dallas, Texas, October 29, 2012

Local organizations are on the front lines of education each and every day, and they deserve recognition, thanks and the opportunity to scale up the impact they make on students in their communities. That’s why, in March, AT&T* launched the Aspire Local Impact request for proposal (RFP), in search of organizations making a measureable difference in stemming the high school dropout crisis.

After a rigorous and competitive process, 47 schools and non-profits were selected from among thousands nationwide to share in nearly $10 million from AT&T.  Since August, AT&T, educators, community leaders, and students have celebrated the selection of these organizations at events across the country. To learn more about all of the organizations that were selected, visit

From coast to coast, these schools and non-profits illustrated that they are the best of the best when it comes to supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school and prepare for the next step in life.  Applicants were evaluated based on their alignment with evidenced-based approaches, their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school, and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. 

“By placing an emphasis on collecting, analyzing, and using data throughout the grant-making process, AT&T is helping to change the culture around data use in education. This new RFP process highlights the power of evidence-based funding and answers the call for funders to incent education to be a more data-driven enterprise,” said Aimee Rogstad Guidera, Executive Director of the Data Quality Campaign, a national, collaborative effort to improve the availability and use of high-quality education data to improve student achievement.

Through evaluations that collect on-track to graduate indicators and compare participant success to those in a similarly situated peer group, funders like AT&T play a pivotal role in identifying and bringing to scale programs that work.

“We know firsthand that data is an efficient guide to help organizations—for profit, nonprofit and governmental—reach their goals, and education is no different,” said Beth Adcock Shiroishi, Vice President of Sustainability and Philanthropy, AT&T. “We are investing in organizations that use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their dropout interventions and produce measureable outcomes for the students they serve.”

With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, the AT&T Aspire program is one of the nation’s largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.  Earlier this year AT&T announced an additional quarter-billion-dollar expansion to the program planned over the next five years, bringing the total commitment to $350 million. 

The 47 recipients of the Aspire Local Impact funding are:

  • ACCESS (Dearborn, MI)
  • Auburn University (Auburn, AL)
  • Boston Public Schools (Boston, MA)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Farmington (Farmington, NM)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Green Bay (Green Bay, WI)
  • Boys & Girls Club of Schenectady (Schenectady, NY)
  • Case Western Reserve University (Cleveland, OH)
  • Center for Companies that Care (Chicago, IL)
  • City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock (Little Rock, AR)
  • College Success Foundation (Issaquah, WA)
  • Common Ground High Schools (New Haven, CT)
  • Communities in Schools of Greater New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
  • Communities in Schools of Houston (Houston, TX)
  • Communities in Schools of Jacksonville (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Communities in Schools of Marietta/Cobb County (Marietta, GA)
  • Communities in Schools of Nevada (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Communities in Schools of Richmond (Richmond, VA)
  • Communities in Schools of Wilmington (Wilmington, DE)
  • Donnelly College (Kansas City, KS)
  • Firewall Ministries, Inc. (Cooper City, FL)
  • Floyd County Board of Education (Prestonsburg, KY)
  • Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce (Bloomington, IN)
  • Guilford County Schools (Greensboro, NC)
  • Highline School District No. 401 (Seattle, WA)
  • Jewish Renaissance Foundation (Perth Amboy, NY)
  • JUMA Ventures (San Francisco, CA)
  • KIPP Delta Public Schools (Helena-West Helena, AR)
  • LSU Foundation (Baton Rouge, LA)
  • Museum of Science (Miami, FL)
  • New Learning Resources District (Jackson, MS)
  • Pasadena Education Foundation (Pasadena, CA)
  • Programa de Educación Comunal de Entrega y Servicio, Inc. (Punta Santiago, PR)
  • Project GRAD Houston (Houston, TX)
  • Proyecto Pastoral (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Roseland Charter School (Santa Rosa, CA)
  • Sports & Arts in Schools Foundation (Queens, NY)
  • Sumter School District (Sumter, SC)
  • Teach for America – Oklahoma (Tulsa, OK)
  • Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania - Netter Center for Community Partnerships (Philadelphia, PA)
  • United Way of North Central Florida (Gainesville, FL)
  • University of Baltimore Foundation (Baltimore, MD)
  • Urban League of Greater Hartford (Hartford, CT)
  • Urban League of Greater Kansas City (Kansas City, MO)
  • Urban Prep Academies (Chicago, IL)
  • Vallejo Unified School District (Vallejo, CA)
  • YMCA of Greater New York (New York, NY)
  • Young Women’s Leadership Academy Foundation (Chattanooga, TN)