NORTH CHICAGO, Ill., Nov. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- AbbVie, a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced a $55 million total donation to three leading nonprofits working to address the achievement gap for children in underserved areas: Communities In Schools, City Year and the University of Chicago Education Lab. The donations will grow and strengthen programs focused on improving graduation rates, reducing dropout rates and increasing college and career readiness for children in kindergarten through grade 12 – with an emphasis on children growing up in high-poverty neighborhoods.
In America, nearly 13 million children under the age of 18 live in poverty and face significant barriers to education. Often forced to contend with hunger, homelessness, emotional trauma, lack of access to basic medical care or other barriers, these students can have higher dropout rates, lower grade promotion rates and lower on-time graduation rates. AbbVie's donation will help support these children, by investing in effective educational programs that connect underserved students with the resources they need to stay in school and fulfill their potential.
"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, executive vice president, external affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, AbbVie. "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."
Communities In Schools, the nation's largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students, is committed to mitigating the consequences of poverty and ensuring every student is offered an equitable opportunity to excel in the classroom and beyond. AbbVie's donation of $30 million will allow Communities In Schools to provide essential support services to nearly 70,000 underserved children, including for children in 16 high-need Chicago public schools. This investment represents the largest single corporate donation Communities In Schools has received in its 40-year history.
"There are millions of at-risk students who could have a brighter future if they were connected to caring adults and community resources," said Dale Erquiaga, president and CEO of Communities In Schools. "AbbVie's generous investment is an important step in helping us serve more of these kids."
City Year helps students and schools succeed by recruiting diverse, talented and trained AmeriCorps members to serve full-time as tutors, mentors and role models, preparing students with the skills and mindsets to succeed. AbbVie's $10 million commitment will help City Year to place teams of "near-peer" corps members in schools to help students acquire critical strengths and skills. Specifically, AbbVie's support will help expand the organization's reach to serve more than 18,000 students in 36 schools in Chicago over the next five years, bringing engaging afterschool STEAM programming to underserved students in San Jose, California and strengthening City Year's National Math and Literacy Academic Services to 385 schools and 258,000 students by 2022.
"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 Michael Brown, chief executive officer & co-founder of City Year. "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 University of Chicago Education Lab partners with Chicago Public Schools, local nonprofits and city government to identify and test innovative ways to improve outcomes for Chicago's most vulnerable youth. The Education Lab works with partners to co-produce rigorous evidence about the most effective ways to improve academic achievement, to provide youth with the social emotional supports they need and to re-engage students who are at greatest risk of school failure, violence victimization or incarceration. This work aims to inform policy and practice in Chicago and generate evidence that cities across the country can draw on in their efforts to better serve youth. AbbVie's $15 million donation will expand the Lab's partnership with Chicago Public Schools, supporting work to implement promising services for Chicago's students, and evaluate and scale these solutions in similar settings around the country.
"We are proud to continue our work with the Chicago Public Schools on innovative approaches to better serve Chicago's students," said Roseanna Ander, founding executive director, Education Lab at the University of Chicago. "AbbVie's support will help generate evidence about the most effective ways to ensure that all students have the support they need to achieve their potential, not only in Chicago but in cities across the country."
The work of these three leading organizations complements the school curriculum and ensures a whole-child and whole-school approach to learning, providing students with social and emotional support as well as academic support. AbbVie's contribution will allow the organizations to significantly expand their capacity to reach more students, and will elevate work to generate evidence about the most effective strategies for supporting children.
A Facebook Live panel discussion entitled "Narrowing the Education Gap: A live discussion with 3 nonprofits using a Whole-Child/Whole-School approach to help kids succeed" is planned for November 16, 2018 at 10:15 AM CT on www.facebook.com/abbvieglobal. The panel will be moderated by Tracie Haas, VP, Corporate Responsibility, Brand and Communications, AbbVie, and include Arne Duncan, Managing Partner, Emerson Collective, and Communities In Schools Board Member; Roseanna Ander, Founding Exec. Director, Education Lab; Jim Balfanz, President, City Year; and Janice Jackson, CEO, Chicago Public Schools.
The donations to Communities In Schools, City Year and the University of Chicago Education Lab are part of a series of donations AbbVie is making to nonprofit partners in 2018, totaling $350 million. AbbVie has selected these partners based on their ability to deliver long-term impact in key areas of K-12 education, disaster relief and supporting sick children and their families. As part of these donations, AbbVie has given $100 million to Ronald McDonald House Charities and $5 million to Family Reach to help families thrive and $50 million each to Habitat for Humanity and Direct Relief for rebuilding efforts following hurricanes in Puerto Rico.
AbbVie is a global, research and development-based biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. The company's mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram.
About Communities in Schools
Communities In Schools (CIS) is the nation's largest organization dedicated to empowering at-risk students to stay in school and on a path to a brighter future. Working directly inside more than 2,300 schools across the country, we connect kids to caring adults and community resources designed to help them succeed. We do whatever it takes to ensure that all kids—regardless of the challenges they may face—have what they need to realize their potential.
About City Year
City Year helps students and schools succeed. Fueled by national service, City Year partners with public schools in 29 urban, high-need communities across the U.S. and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members provide research-based student, classroom and school-wide supports to help students stay in school and on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and career success. A 2015 study shows that schools that partner with City Year were up to two-to-three times more likely to improve on math and English assessments. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by the Corporation for National and Community Service, local school districts and private philanthropy from corporations, foundations and individuals.
About the University of Chicago Education Lab
The University of Chicago's Urban Labs, housed at the Harris School of Public Policy, work to address challenges across five key dimensions of urban life: crime, education, health, poverty, and energy & environment. The Education Lab partners with civic and community leaders to identify, rigorously evaluate, and learn how to scale programs and policies that improve education in America's most distressed urban neighborhoods.