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Communities In Schools Announces Transformative Investment to Help Students Overcome Obstacles to Learning

By Communities In Schools | Feb. 3, 2022

$133.5 Million Donation from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Will Deepen Organization’s Impact in Schools Across the Country

ARLINGTON, VA - Communities In Schools® (CIS™), the national organization working to ensure every student, regardless of race, zip code, or history of marginalization has what they need to succeed in school and beyond, today announced plans to broaden its groundbreaking work across the country. 
This expansion is thanks in large part to a transformative $133.5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. At a time when the global pandemic has particularly hurt students with fewer community resources or adequate supports, this investment will help CIS to carry out its mission to break down the systemic barriers that stand in the way of opportunity and student success. 
“Today is an important day for students who are underserved, under-resourced, and in need of transformative support to build a brighter future,” said Rey Saldaña, President and CEO of Communities In Schools. “This unrestricted gift allows us to combat the inequities in public education and reimagine the way schools operate and show up for all students. Our national goal is to bring our model inside of every one of the 70,000 Title I-eligible schools in the country; currently, we operate in 3,000 schools – so we still have a long way to go, and we will need ongoing support to get there.”
The unprecedented gift is the largest unrestricted donation in CIS’s history. Over the next five years, CIS seeks to scale its evidence-based model of integrated student supports to reach more schools and serve more students while deepening and sustaining its existing commitments to achieve broader impact across its affiliated Network. The work involves 40 affiliates in 19 states, in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington.
Communities In Schools’ school-based staff works inside schools and establishes one-on-one relationships with students in grades K-12 to help them navigate issues and move beyond barriers in the classroom, at home, and in the community. CIS coordinates with schools and local service providers to meet the needs of students and families, as well as providing critical resources, like food, housing, healthcare, counseling, access to remote technology, and more so that students (and educators) can focus on academics.

“With the pandemic continuing to interrupt public education and students’ lives, the work of Communities In Schools has never been more important,” said Elaine Wynn, Chairman of the CIS Board of Directors. “This generous gift will allow us to provide thousands more students with a significantly improved educational experience and the help they need to graduate from high school and go on to rewarding lives.”

CIS believes that transformative relationships are key to unlocking a student's potential. Our staff and community partners coordinate with schools to improve school climate; boost socio-emotional skills among students, teachers, and staff; and reduce barriers to academic success.
For decades, Communities In Schools has demonstrated measurable success in student outcomes. During the 2020-2021 school year, 99 percent of students enrolled in CIS programs remained in school through the end of the school year, with 96 percent of K-11 students being promoted to the next grade and 93 percent of seniors graduating or receiving a GED.

CBS MORNINGS interviewed Rey Saldaña this morning to discuss the announcement, click here to watch the full interview.
About Communities in Schools
Communities In Schools® (CIS™) is a national organization that ensures every student, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background, has what they need to realize their potential in school and beyond. Working directly inside 3,000 schools across the country, our network of 110 affiliates connects students to caring adults and community resources that help them see, confront, and overcome the barriers that stand between them and a brighter future. Together, we build a powerful change movement made up of peers, students, and alumni committed to building an equitable path to education for future generations. Visit to learn more. 

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