Communities In Schools Cape Fear is one of 40 Communities In Schools affiliates chosen by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to receive a direct gift as part of an overall donation of $133.5 million to the nonprofit organization.
Scott, billionaire and ex-wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has given $1.5 million to the local CIS.
CIS Cape Fear partners with public schools and community agencies in New Hanover, Pender and Duplin counties to connect students and their families to critical resources, such as food, housing, health care, counseling and remote learning technology.
"CIS Cape Fear works to remove barriers that could hold a child back, so the student can stay engaged in school and on the path to graduation," a news release stated.
In addition to 29 student support specialists who work in 21 area schools, CIS Cape Fear provides after-school programming and tutoring, young parent support programs, teen court, mediation and restitution programs and summer enrichment opportunities such as the Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools, according to the release.
In the 2020-2021 school year, 16,242 students and families were connected to resources and an additional 1,108 students received case-managed services at their schools, the release stated. Of those, 99% remained in school, 89% improved academics, 88% improved attendance and 92% of seniors graduated.
“Our program’s success is due to the dedication of our staff and all those who have supported us through the years, particularly as we faced the challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Louise Hicks, executive director of Communities In Schools Cape Fear, in the release. “Our local donors, volunteers, and community leaders have believed in our mission and helped us make a difference in the lives of so many young people.”
Scott’s one-time gift to CIS Cape Fear will be invested to help build internal capacity and secure the long-term availability of programs in the areas where they are most needed.
“As always, we will be thoughtful in how we grow our programs to ensure we’re helping the greatest number of students,” said Hicks. “We will continue to rely on the generosity and involvement of our local community to build on this wonderful opportunity and have an even greater impact.”
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