CHARLOTTE — Communities in Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the local affiliate of the national Communities in Schools organization, announced Thursday it has received its largest financial donation ever.
Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, former wife of Jeff Bezos, donated $133.5 million to the Communities in Schools Network and National Office. CIS-Charlotte is a direct recipient of $5 million.
President and CEO of CIS-Charlotte, Men Tchaas Ari, told Channel 9 the group currently serves more than 4,000 students in 54 Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, and this gift will transform the services they’re able to provide those students.
“We are beyond ecstatic about what this transformative gift means for our students,” Ari said. “It’s no exaggeration to share that the needs of our kids are greater now than during any point in our 37-year history, so this donation comes at such a critical time. (It) will allow us to both deepen and extend our programming to reach even more of the CMS students who need us.”
Ari said the group is focusing on three priorities this year: to reengage students in their education after extended remote learning during the pandemic, to expand programming to support more students in under-resourced schools, and to grow the agency’s college and career readiness program.
“This gift will allow us to build capacity to address these priorities, while also positioning us to accelerate towards our ultimate goal – ensuring that all students have an equitable educational experience and are poised for success,” Ari said.
Since 1985, CIS-Charlotte said it has demonstrated measurable success in student outcomes. In the 2020-2021 school year, 99% of students enrolled in CIS-Charlotte’s programs remained in school, with 96% of K-11 students being promoted to the next grade, and 96% of seniors graduating or receiving a GED.
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