Gates Foundation Awards $4.5 Million to Close Degree Attainment Gap

Gates Foundation Awards $4.5 Million to Close Degree Attainment Gap

OneGoal, a Chicago-based education nonprofit, has announced a three-year, $4.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in support of its efforts to close the college degree gap among students from low-income communities.

The grant will fund an expansion of OneGoal's teacher-led model — which supports students from their junior year of high school through their first year of postsecondary education — from individual schools to entire school districts. Since its creation in 2007 as an afterschool program, the OneGoal model, which pairs one teacher to a cohort of about twenty-five students, has been implemented in schools in Chicago, Houston, New York City, Massachusetts, Atlanta, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Starting next fall, OneGoal will partner with select school districts to embed the model into postsecondary readiness systems and co-create systemwide solutions that leverage the professional learning, curriculum, and data it has developed.

"We've had great success thus far: 88 percent of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution, and 79 percent of those who enroll persist one year after high school," said Patty Diaz-Andrade, who will lead the new initiative. "Our vision is to deliver our program to every student in our partner district so that they graduate from high school prepared for their chosen postsecondary pathway and continue to receive critical support as they navigate their first year of college or other postsecondary and/or workforce pathways."

"Our vision is to deliver the OneGoal program to every student in our partner districts so that they graduate from high school prepared for their chosen postsecondary pathway, whether that's a four-year university, two-year college, trade school, or certificate program," said OneGoal CEO Melissa Connelly. "We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generosity and support of this initiative to expand our impact at a much larger scale."