UPDATE: Behold the power of internet friends!  Thanks to Swistle, and Alice, and Samantha, and Nilsa, and Jess, and any and everyone else who has linked to this today!  I’m committed to raising money for College Summit, so I’m keeping the 50 cents per comment period open until 8 am central standard time tomorrow (Friday,) which is 24 hours after I posted it, or until my total donation reaches $150 (which, given the matching, would be a $300 donation!)  After that, I’ll close out the”pay for comments” portion of our program,  and open the voting for the “choose Friday’s charity” portion.  Let’s see how much dough we can bring in!  Thanks again for supporting these great causes!

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Hello again!

I’m really enjoying this week of giving and exploring other people’s favorite charities.  Today, we continue as we have for the past three days: I guarantee a $25 donation, and add on an additional 50 cents for every comment I receive.

And today, there’s a BONUS AT STAKE: today’s organization has a private donor who has agreed to match match all donations of $50 or more through December 31, essentially double our donation if we raise $25 on top of my $25 pledge. This would take a LOT more comments we’ve had so far this week, but here’s the thing:  I pretty much never check blog stats, but I did yesterday, and there are a lot of you out there this week who are visiting but not commenting.  Welcome, new friends!  I am asking you, today, to please, please comment.  Comment anonymously if you wish, tell me you disagree with my choice of charity and advocate for one of your own, do whatever you feel you should.  But please, if you’re here today, just comment.  I’m really hoping I can get 50 comments on this post to raise the extra $25 so that my donation gets matched.  Let’s do it!

Today’s featured organization is not Chicago-based, but it is one very close to my heart:  College Summit.



College Summit is a truly amazing organization that has a proven record successfully addressing one of the hardest truths about the American education system: poor students, even really excellent poor students, aren’t going to college at the rates they could and should be, and this fact is hurting kids, families, and communities.

From their website:

National data indicates that low-income students who got A’s on a standardized test went to college at the same rate as top-income students who got D’s on the same standardized test.

A college education can break the cycle of poverty for families and drive economic growth for communities. Yet, community-wide solutions to enrolling more low-income students in college are particularly difficult to achieve. College Summit addresses this challenge by using a proven strategy that engages critical stakeholders across the community and employs an approach that helps embed systemic, scalable, and enduring change.

I’ve worked with College Summit before, and can speak personally to the power of their model.  Simply said: it works. And you don’t have to take my word for it:

Since 1993, we have trained more than 13,000 student influencers. The high school GPA for these students has been mid-tier: 2.9 (on a 4.0 scale). Yet they have enrolled in college at a rate of 79%, significantly above the national college enrollment rate among low-income students of 52%. These Peer Leaders don’t just make it to college, they stay in college. The retention rate for these students has been 80% – above the national rate across all demographics.

If you’re familiar with education reform, and how hard it is to make meaningful, sustainable change, these numbers should blow you away.

If you want to be really inspired, (and work in an office where you’re reasonably protected from embarrassment if you tear up at your desk,) check out some of the essays students have produced at College Summit workshops.

SO!  Let’s give them some money!

(And tune in tomorrow for the five finalists for our “vote for our final charity” feature!)

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