Editor’s Note: Last week we announced Microsoft YouthSpark a new company wide initiative that aims to create opportunities for 300 million young people. A key part of YouthSpark is the work we are doing with nonprofit organizations focused on helping young people access education, employment and entrepreneurship. Globally, our nonprofit cash grant recipients have been carefully selected with a focus on these specific outcomes. In the United States we’ll be focusing the majority of our nonprofit cash grants on five national nonprofit partners Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City Year, Junior Achievement, NFTE and Year Up. We wanted to share how they will be working as part of YouthSpark and today Michael Brown, Co-Founder and CEO of City Year shares his perspective.
By Michael Brown, Co-Founder and CEO of City Year
City Year is honored to be selected to receive support from Microsoft through its newly launched YouthSpark initiative, and we are pleased to welcome Microsoft as City Year’s newest National Leadership Sponsor. The YouthSpark initiative's mission is to create opportunities for 300 million youth around the world through various programs, including three-year support for national U.S. nonprofit organizations. We at City Year are tremendously grateful to partner with Microsoft to keep students in high-poverty schools in school and on track to graduation.
Last year, Microsoft invested in a team of City Year corps members serving in the Diplomas Now collaboration at Newtown High School in New York City. The success of this team of inspirational young adults has led to this new exciting partnership. Microsoft’s support for City Year’s work as part of the Diplomas Now collaboration, which you can learn more in this feature story, is allowing us to deliver comprehensive and validated impact on the nation’s lowest-performing schools, where we address the early warning indicators – poor attendance, behavior and course performance – that predict whether a student is likely to drop out of school. Diplomas Now’s transformational national model is designed to help close the achievement gap, ensuring that students receive the right intervention at the right time to succeed in school.
|As part of Microsoft’s grant to City Year, Microsoft will sponsor City Year teams in three Diplomas Now schools in New York City, Chicago and Seattle, making it possible for us to deploy diverse teams of young adults in full-time service to these high-need schools as tutors, mentors and role models. In each school, trained City Year corps members support students every day, all day, year after year. They partner with schools to deliver evidence-based interventions, providing individual attention to help students succeed.|
Microsoft’s support will play a vital role in helping City Year to achieve our Long-Term Impact goal. This goal, announced at our May 2012 In School & On Track National Leadership Summit with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, is to ensure that 80 percent of students in City Year schools reach 10th grade successfully—nearly doubling the current rate of 44 percent—which will mean they are four times more likely to graduate. City Year also seeks to reach 50 percent of the off-track students in all of its markets and expand to reach the cities that account for two-thirds of the nation’s urban dropouts. Over the next 10 years, City Year aims to serve close to one million students a day.
Thanks to Microsoft’s generous support, City Year is able to improve our national math capacity to reach close to 8,500 students for one-on-one math tutoring. Our national program design team will now be able to carry out key activities, including preparing online content, testing math activities in the field before being implemented nationwide, packaging site-specific best practices for national distribution and creating a framework for a Sharepoint resource library.
Since 1999, Microsoft has been a valued technology partner of City Year providing over $19.4 million in software to ensure City Year’s network is fully integrated to leverage communications and collaboration for service impact.
Microsoft shares our vision to prepare our youth to compete in a modern workforce by keeping them in school and on track to graduate. With Microsoft’s support, City Year can scale to reach an unprecedented number of youth in high-poverty schools nationwide, ensuring the right students receive the right interventions at the right time. Together, we can dramatically improve the graduation pipeline in America.