Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance Program Expands Thanks to $3.2 Million Grants from Kresge, Lumina and Walmart Foundations

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17 Mar 2010
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Dreamkeepers’ average emergency assistance grant of $523 is sometimes all it takes to keep community college students in school.

Scholarship America announced today plans to add 14 more schools to its Dreamkeepers Emergency Financial Assistance Program. The program helps community colleges keep moderate to low-income students from dropping out of school by providing emergency financial assistance.

The Dreamkeepers’ expansion is made possible thanks to $3.2 million in grants from the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation for Education and the Walmart Foundation. Scholarship America will use the funds to strengthen the Dreamkeepers program at existing schools, to implement the program at new community colleges and to deliver new technology, fundraising and technical support.

“Our pilot results have been very promising. Eighty-four percent of students who received Dreamkeepers assistance in 2008 either re-enrolled in school the following semester or graduated,” says Donald Lassere, Senior Vice President – Scholarship America. “The funding we’ve received from the Kresge, Lumina and Walmart foundations allows us to help more schools retain more students.”

“Achieving broader education goals is only possible if enrolled students stay in school,” says Dr. Sam Cargile, Senior Director of Grantmaking – Lumina Foundation for Education. “We have continued investing in Dreamkeepers because it removes short-term obstacles to students’ long-term success.” 

“We’re proud to support a program that’s helping keep students in school and working toward their educational goals,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “The unique grant partnership between Kresge, Lumina and Walmart is a model for ways that foundations can work together to streamline the grant process and provide broader support. We’re proud to be part of this collaborative solution."

Schools that enroll large numbers of historically underserved, low-income and/or first-generation students will be considered for Phase II of the Dreamkeepers program. Scholarship America provides onsite support and training to help each college establish the program and raise funds to ensure its long-term success. Scholarship America also provides an online application tool and online financial literacy tool.

 “Many community colleges see the value in having an emergency financial assistance program, but don’t necessarily have the tools to get started and sustain the effort,” says Caroline Altman Smith, Program Officer – the Kresge Foundation. “Our grant will help Dreamkeepers share best practices for replication at community colleges across the country.”

Since 2004, Scholarship America has distributed nearly $1.1 million in student grants to the 17 community colleges and one university in the Dreamkeepers program. The average student grant was $523 and was used for purposes like housing, utilities, meals, childcare, transportation or car repairs. Scholarship America’s goal is to continue increasing the number of community colleges that implement the Dreamkeepers program so more students stay in school and graduate.

Kellie Due Weiland, Beehive PR
(651) 789-2239; kweiland@beehivepr.biz

Janine Fugate, Scholarship America
952.830.7307; jfugate@scholarshipamerica.org

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About Scholarship America
Scholarship America is a national education service organization that mobilizes support for students getting into and graduating from college. We have three core programs that help us achieve our mission: Dollars for Scholars, Scholarship Management Services, and Dreamkeepers. Scholarship America has distributed more than $2.5 billion in scholarship assistance to more than 1.7 million students since 1958.

About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations by creating access and opportunity in underserved communities, improving the health of low-income people, supporting artistic expression, assisting in the revitalization of Detroit, and advancing methods for dealing with global climate change. The foundation works in six program areas: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services and community development.

About Lumina Foundation for Education
Lumina Foundation for Education is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Our goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. To learn more, visit www.luminafoundation.org.

About Philanthropy at Walmart
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are proud to support the charitable causes that are important to customers and associates in their own neighborhoods. The Walmart Foundation funds initiatives focused on education, workforce development, economic opportunity, environmental sustainability, and health and wellness. From Feb. 1, 2009 through Jan. 31, 2010, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation gave more than $512 million in cash and in-kind gifts globally, $467 million of which was donated in the U.S. To learn more, visit www.walmartfoundation.org.

The Dream Award

Dream Award Scholarship America’s Dream Award is a renewable scholarship fund targeted toward completion. These annually-increasing awards will be given to students selected from across the nation who are entering their second year of education beyond high school.

Success By Degrees

Scholarship America's blog, Success By Degrees, covers items of interest to parents, volunteers, educators and anyone interested in the big issues surrounding education, financial aid and postsecondary success. You'll find policy announcements, news releases and more, every week!

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