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Communities In Schools Announces Five-Year Vision for Growth and Innovation

May 11, 2018

Communities In Schools (CIS), the national organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future, today announced the first funders of its five-year strategic vision for growth and innovation.  

The strategic vision supports plans by the organization to grow its national network of affiliates to serve more of the 13 million kids who live in poverty and better sustain its operations through greater efficiency and more reliable funding. It also calls for innovative new strategies to deepen the impact and reach of Integrated Student Supports within more schools and districts across the country.

Among the initial investors in CIS’ new strategic vision is the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, who is investing $17M over four years to seed and help spur ongoing funding of CIS’s growth and innovation plan. Since 2011, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has invested $33.5M in Communities In Schools, and as the Foundation prepares to sunset, this investment is its final and largest contribution to CIS.

“Based on CIS’s strong track record of results and ability to innovate and adapt, we are excited to be investing in the organization’s next chapter of growth and impact to help more at-risk students access community supports that help develop the skills and abilities young students need to make them successful in school and life,” says Lizz Pawlson, a Portfolio Manager at The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

Communities In Schools President and CEO Dale Erquiaga thanked the Foundation for making a lasting investment in the future of children.

“Over four decades, we’ve adapted to new challenges, seized new opportunities and created new ways of working, all while holding true to our core purpose of building powerful relationships that transform the lives of young people,” said Erquiaga. “The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has been with us for much of this journey. With this latest investment, we are prepared to innovate and chart a new course so that we can meet our moral obligation to serve more students in need.”

The announcement coincided with the recent launch of the Milliken Center for Innovation and Student Success, one of the first initiatives of the strategic vision, and the inaugural Milliken Dialogues and Policy Summit, which addressed how to better prepare students for college, career and civic engagement. Communities In Schools established the Milliken Center as a programmatic center of excellence within its national office to focus on thought leadership, policy and human capital development. The Milliken Center also houses an Innovation Lab which will use research to advance the field of Integrated Student Supports so that millions of more students across the country will have access to critical non-academic services.  

Funding for the launch of the Milliken Center was provided by long-time investors in Communities In Schools, including the Elaine P. Wynn and Family Foundation, James Cox Chambers, the Baldwin-Sieck Family, and the Robertson Foundation. CIS is proud to recognize Altria Group as the inaugural corporate supporter of the Milliken Center. The Milliken Center is named after Communities In Schools Founder Bill Milliken in recognition of his lifetime contributions to the organization.    


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