Biopharmaceutical company AbbVie has announced grants totaling $55 million to three nonprofits working to address the achievement gap among underserved children in Chicago and beyond.
Aimed at expanding and strengthening programs focused on improving graduation rates, reducing dropout rates, and increasing college and career readiness for K-12 students, especially those in high-poverty neighborhoods, the grants include $30 million to Communities In Schools — the largest corporate gift in the organization’s forty-year history — to provide essential support services to nearly seventy thousand underserved children, including students in sixteen high-need Chicago public schools.
In addition, the company awarded a grant of $10 million to City Year in support of that organization's efforts to put teams of "near-peer" corps members in high-need schools where they help students acquire critical strengths and skills. With the grant, City Year will work to expand its reach over the next five years to more than eighteen thousand students in thirty-six Chicago schools, while providing afterschool STEAM programming to underserved students in San Jose, California, and its National Math and Literacy Academic Services to an additional three hundred and eighty-five schools.
And the company awarded a grant of $15 million to the University of Chicago Education Lab to expand a partnership with Chicago Public Schools that will bring programs proven to work to more young people in the city and support the design and implementation of approaches aimed at better serving adolescents at greatest risk for school failure, dropping out of school, and victimization. After evaluating the results, the lab expects to scale the most effective solutions in similar settings around the country.
"City Year is dedicated to ensuring that students receive the support they need to help them persevere through challenges, build on their strengths, and thrive," said City Year co-founder and CEO Michael Brown. "Through AbbVie's tremendous investment, more students will have access to positive relationships and holistic support provided by our AmeriCorps members, helping us reach our goal of significantly increasing the number of students who are on track to graduate from high school in the communities we serve. We are deeply grateful to AbbVie for its generous support."
The grants are part of AbbVie's pledge to provide an additional $350 million to charities and nonprofits in 2018, including gifts of $100 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities and $50 million each to Habitat for Humanity International and Direct Relief in support of disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico.
"A solid foundation in education can be life-changing for all children and allows them to gain the confidence and tools they need to recognize that their potential is limitless and their futures are bright, irrespective of where they grow up," said Laura Schumacher, AbbVie's executive vice president of external affairs, general counsel, and corporate secretary. "We are stepping up for children in our backyard of Chicago and across the nation by elevating the missions of our three new partners who have all demonstrated that their programs make a deep impact for students."