When it comes time to make a charitable donation, it can be an overwhelming decision to determine which cause to support. Do I want to support children, homelessness and poverty, the environment, world health? Furthermore, once a specific cause is determined, it can be even more difficult to determine which organization to direct the funds. I found myself in this position back in early 2006 when my dad encouraged my brother and me to become more heavily involved in the Family Foundation.
At the time, I had recently moved to NYC and wasn’t yet involved in any not for profit organizations in the area. I also knew that my husband and I wouldn’t stay in NYC long-term and I wanted to choose an organization with which I would always have a direct link, regardless of where my life took me. That led me to focus on Durham, NC, where I went to college at Duke University. I will always have a connection to and be interested in Durham and organizations affiliated with Duke, and so I chose this as my starting point.
After only a short time networking, I was introduced to Dan Kimberg, a recent Duke graduate and pure enthusiast for empowering low-income children through education, specifically through a students-teaching-students model. Dan had just launched Student U as a not for profit organization and had such a passion and clear vision for what he was looking to accomplish. Immediately, I was compelled by his mission to advance the education outcomes of low-income students, while furthering the profession of teaching through the college students who would instruct the program.
Ultimately the decision to give to Student U was an easy one.
• They had a concise vision with clear goals that spoke to my own
• They had a strong, articulate leader with contagious passion for his cause
• They had the support of local, well established organizations to help support their launch
• They already had success receiving early-stage funding from respected organizations
At the time that we chose to give our first donation to Student U, its program was simply an idea in motion. Soon after, the organization welcomed its first class of 50 Durham Public School students and 16 teachers in the summer of 2007, as a result of the collaboration of Durham Public Schools, Durham Academy, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina Central University, and Duke University.
Over time, their programming has expanded from a summer-only academic enrichment for middle school students, to a pipeline of year-round services for students through middle school, high school and college. Student U provides direct services during out of school time in the summer and after-school, as well as advocating for students and families within schools, to ensure that each student develops the academic skills and personal well-being needed to beat the statistics and succeed in college.
Student U is built on the premise of six powerful core statements, not only true for students, but in my opinion, true to society as a whole.
● I will energize my community.
● I will achieve greatness.
● I will respect myself and others.
● I will discover my best self.
● I will dream fearlessly.
● I will share my brilliance.
What was once a dream of Executive Director Dan Kimberg, is now a reality through the success of Student U’s programming.
● Throughout the 2015-2016 school year, Student U will work with over 400 Durham Public School students
● Among the Class of 2016, 31% more students scored proficient on their 8th grading Reading End-of-Grade (EOG) test as compared to the same students on their 6th grade Reading EOG test.
● Since the implementation of Student U’s Read Fearlessly, Student U students have outperformed their peers who qualify for free or reduced lunch and the Durham Public Schools as a whole on standardized reading tests.
● 100% of Student U’s students have graduated from high school.
● 97% of Student U’s graduating high school seniors have enrolled in college.
● 100% of Student U’s college students have persisted in college and are thriving in their classes.
With statistics like these, it’s easy to look back and be affirmed that choosing to give to Student U was indeed an easy decision!
Visit Student U to learn more and contribute to this amazing organization.