Communities in Schools of Nevada this week said it had received a $5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. The donation is part of $133.5 million total given to the organization’s national office for distribution to 40 affiliates.
Scott is the ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and has said she will give away all of the more the estimated $59 billion she’s worth. To-date she’s given away more than $8 billion to a variety of causes, including numerous educational organizations.
“It’s a great day for every Nevadan who cares about our children’s success, and for the thousands of students and families we serve statewide,” said Tami Hance-Lehr, state director for CIS of Nevada.
CIS is a national school-based dropout prevention program that gives support to students to succeed in school and once graduated. The organization focuses on Title I and high-needs schools and enrolls students who come from low-income households or who may have experienced hunger, homelessness, emotional or physical trauma that may create obstacles to graduation.
In the last school year, students who participated in the CIS program had a graduation rate of 92%–13 percentage points higher than the statewide average for students on free or reduce lunch.
Hance-Lehr said the donation comes at a time when pandemic challenges have made investments in student support more essential.
“An investment in CIS to use its model and evidence-based programs to help students overcome obstacles to learning is tremendous fuel for impact, infrastructure and the people working inside the schools. However, it does not change the reality of the continued work ahead, which requires an all-hands-on-deck approach across the public and private sectors,” she said.
In Nevada, CIS operates in 81 schools across Clark, Washoe, Elko and Humboldt counties. In Reno, the organization focuses on Sparks and Hug high schools, Vaughn, Traner, Sparks and Desert Skies middle schools, and Anderson, Glenn Duncan, Juniper, Libby Booth, Natchez and Virginia Palmer elementary schools.
Hence-Lehr said that despite its reach, CIS is only reaching about 20% of Title I schools in the state. Her goal is to eventually have the CIS model in all of the state’s more than 400 Title I-eligible schools.
Source: CIS of Nevada