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More than 300 STAR students connected to opportunity coordinators, moving them toward graduation

STAR Team pictured above, left to right: Kike Tomori, Sherman Calloway, Enya Roach, Dennetra Williams, Irineo Medina, Tori McNeal, Brandon Holmes, Laura Jones, Eric Allen, Kayla McNamara

The gap in graduation rates between white students and African Americans in the Fox Valley is starting to shrink.

As we reported last year, the graduation gap locally was greater than Milwaukee’s. (More info here and here.) In fact, Wisconsin ranked 41st nationally in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2017 ranking of equity in graduation rates, college success and other measures of child welfare.

The Community Foundation is helping to reduce that disparity for local students. A three-year, $250,000 grant from the Bright Idea Fund and $300,000 over three years from the Basic Needs Giving Partnership helped the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley  and its eight partners launch STAR (Scholars on Target to Achieve), an intensive mentoring program in Appleton and Menasha public schools.

STAR students at Menasha High School

Today 313 black and African-American students in nine area schools are now connected with an opportunity coordinator who serves as a tutor, mentor, guide, and advocate for STAR participants as they move toward on-time graduation.

“On behalf of the STAR Team, thank you again for your investment in the STAR program! It’s been an incredible journey developing the program, hiring/training nine impressive individuals, and serving hundreds of students,” says Todd Sutton, continuous improvement and grants manager for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley.  “We are proud and grateful to have the support of United Way Fox Cities, Thrivent Financial Foundation, and multiple sources within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, including the Mielke Family Foundation, ThedaCare CHAT Fund, the Bright Idea Fund, and the Basic Needs Giving Partnership Fund supported by the U.S. Venture Fund for Basic Needs, the J. J. Keller Foundation and other community partners.”

You can make the Bright Ideas burn even brighter by adding your support.

Check out our current Bright Idea Fund results from 2018 – 2019!
See how our Bright Idea Fund impacted our community last year.



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