Communities In Schools of Ohio Announces Transformative Investment to Help Students Overcome Obstacles to Learning

$2 Million Donation from Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott Will Deepen Organization’s Impact in Ohio Schools

Columbus, OH (February 3, 2022) – Communities In Schools of Ohio (CIS), the local affiliate of the national organization, working to ensure every student, regardless of race, zip code or history of marginalization has what they need to succeed in school and beyond, today announced it has received an unprecedented gift of $2 million.

This gift is part of a transformative $133.5 million donation from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to the Communities In Schools Network and National Office. In addition to the CIS National Office, 40 affiliates of the 110 organizations in the CIS Network were also direct recipients of the MacKenzie Scott donation.

In a time when the global pandemic has created unparalleled challenges for students and families, including experiences of social isolation, economic crisis, stress, and trauma, this investment will help CIS of Ohio to carry out its cause to build sustainable systems of support for the students and families that would otherwise be left behind. An investment in CIS to use its model and evidence base to help students overcome obstacles to learning is tremendous fuel for impact, infrastructure and the people working inside schools. However, it does not change the reality of the continued work ahead and the public and private partnership that must remain true.

“This donation will allow us to expand our much-needed services to more students in our state,” said Amy Gordon, CEO of CIS Ohio, which currently serves 21,873 students in 34 schools across Ohio. “As we continue to see the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students and their families, the funds could not have come at a better time.”

For almost 30 years, CIS of Ohio has demonstrated measurable success in student outcomes. In the 2019-2020 school year, 79% of the students showed improved attendance, with 92% percent of K-11 students being promoted to the next grade and 93% of seniors graduating or receiving a GED.

“CIS Ohio will appoint a board committee to ensure that all existing and new programming added through the donation will be sustainable and deliver targeted outcomes,” said Gordon. “There are many more students to serve and effective, expanded services to provide. We must be able to serve students now and in the future.”

CIS believes that transformative relationships are crucial to unlocking a student’s potential. The school-based staff works inside schools in partnership with teachers and parents to help address the non-academic needs of students. CIS coordinates with schools and local service providers to meet the needs of students and families and provide critical resources, like food, housing, health care, counseling, access to remote technology and more so that students (and educators) can focus on academics. By identifying the points of a challenge for students in their personal lives, CIS staff helps to empower students to move beyond the barriers they face in the school building and the community.

“Today is an important day for students who are underserved, under-resourced, and in need of supports to build a brighter future,” said Rey Saldaña, President and CEO of Communities In Schools. “This unrestricted gift allows us to combat the inequities in public education and reimagine the way schools operate and show up for all students. Our national goal is to bring our model inside of every one of the 70,000 Title I-eligible schools in the country; currently, we operate in 3,000 schools – so we still have a long way to go, and we will need ongoing support to get there.”