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How To: Get More Money

Showing how a financial contribution is making a difference can double the investment the next time around.


That’s what happened when United Way of the National Capital Area's $100k investment in City Year turned into dramatically higher test scores in one of the lowest-performing middle schools in DC. United Way NCA announced it’s doubling its investment so City Year can expand into the elementary school that feeds into that middle school. City Year has 158 AmeriCorps volunteers, here with United Way NCA CEO Rosie Allen-Herring, that help students who may be on the path of not graduating from high school based on poor attendance, behavior, and failure in math or English. Volunteers spend the school day with them and work closely with the student’s teachers and parents.


Kelly Miller Middle School in Ward 7 saw scores improve 13% in reading and 14% in math during 2012-13. (The rest of the school system only jumped 3% to 4%.) City Year DC VP and executive director Jeff Franco says the program is trying to fix DC Public Schools’ 58% graduation rate by targeting the lowest-performing schools. The kids destined for drop out can be identified by 6th grade. The program is reaching 20% to 25% of those kids and the goal is to double it and have City Year volunteers in the seven high schools with the lowest graduation rate, and their feeder schools. It just needs more funding. (It takes $100k to sponsor a volunteer team for one school.) Some of its $6.6M annual budget comes from AmeriCorps, the school system, and 54% comes from private donors like United Way, CSX, Microsoft, and Comcast.