ACE SCHOLARSHIPS is one of seven local charities nominated in Citywide Banks’ Charity Hand-Up Contest taking place from March 1-14, 2013. The Denver/Boulder community is invited to vote for a nominee and enter prize drawings. Citywide Banks will donate $7,500 to nominated charities based on voting results.
While it’s true that some children fail out of school, it’s also true that some schools fail their children, especially children from low-income families. During 2012, graduation rates for children from low-income families were a disappointing 54% in Denver Public Schools and 61% statewide.
Why is it so low for these children? One reason is their limited options of quality schools. For middle and high-income families, if their local school is not a good fit for them, they have the option of private schools or moving to another district. But for low-income families these options are often out of reach.
It’s all about choice. And that’s the mission of ACE Scholarships. ACE is committed to helping metro Denver’s low-income families send their children to the K-12 private school of their choice with the help of partial tuition scholarships. Subsequently, the program has led to an impressive 9 of 10 ACE Scholars graduating high school in 2012. 100% of those graduates went on to attend college.
Founded in 2000, ACE Scholarships has provided more than 10,000 scholarships worth more than $20 million. Unfortunately, they’ve also had to turn away more than 5,000 children since that time due to insufficient funds – funds that they raise through contributions from private citizens, corporations and foundations.
“Our vision is that every child will have access to the quality education of his or her choice,” explained Jonathan Tee, ACE Scholarships Chief of Operations.
The scholarships cover up to $2,000 per year for grades K-8 and up to $3,000 per year for high school. Once a child has been granted a scholarship, she will receive those funds throughout her entire K-12 career, provided that student remains in financial need and is in good standing at school, and that ACE can continue to raise the funds necessary to meet its scholarship commitments.
You might be thinking that $2,000 or $3,000 is not going to get you very far toward private school tuition, but that’s not accurate. “One of the challenges we face is that when people think of private schools they think of $20,000+ schools that are out reach for most people,” said Tee. “We want to show families that there are quality private schools that are less expensive.”
Through partnerships with over 100 small neighborhood private schools with tuition rates in the annual $5,000 to $7,000 range, ACE not only provides the opportunity to attend these private schools but also educates families on the existence of these quality private institutions – intuitions whose mission is, in part, to serve low-income populations.
ACE Scholarships are strictly needs based. All families who qualify for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program are eligible. A household must make less than 185% of the federal poverty level, approximately $42,000 annual income, to qualify.
The partial tuition policy not only enables ACE to provide more scholarships to families in need, it also affects academic success. “We believe it’s important for parents to have skin in the game,” explained Tee. “That way we’re working with parents who are making sacrifices and so they’re diligent about the choices they’re making and how their children are doing.”
Parents match the scholarship funds to the best of their ability and sometimes the school brings in other resources to cover the gap, Tee explained.
Tee says that although the Denver School Board is bringing about changes that help students with choice such as adding more charter schools and making others open enrollment, the changes are not coming quickly enough. “We provide an immediate alternative to these kids so that they can get into the environment that works best for them,” he said.
Because they need to turn away more families every year, financial support is always appreciated. They also need volunteers throughout the year at their family, outreach and school events. Additionally, they look to match their volunteer database with volunteer needs at the schools in their network.
A $5,000 donation would go directly to helping at least two more students attend the school of their choice in the 2013-14 school year. For more information on ways to donate your time or money, please visit www.ACEscholarships.org.
Vote to Give ACE Scholarships a $5,000 Hand-Up
As a Colorado owned bank focused entirely on the Front Range, Citywide Banks shares a commitment to our local community with ACE Scholarships. Through our Charity Hand-Up Contest, we are proud to spotlight the great work and ongoing needs of Denver/Boulder nonprofits. Based on the results of a 14-day vote on Facebook, the local community will determine how $7,500 is split among seven Colorado charities nominated by Citywide Banks employees. The charity receiving the most votes will receive $5,000 and the runner-up will receive $1,000. The remaining donation amounts will correspond to the voting results for each nominated charity. The voting public can also enter to win 1 of 10 prizes, including dinner for two at some of Denver’s top restaurants. Official prize drawing rules are available by clicking here. For more information about the contest please visit www.CitywideBanks.com/charity/.
How to Cast Your Vote – March 1 -14, 2013
The voting will take place at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Users will need to make sure they are logged into their personal Facebook account. If a user doesn’t have an account, it only takes minutes to set up a new Facebook account and it’s free. The online voting form will only be accessible for Citywide Banks Facebook Fans. To become a Fan, simply click on the “Like” button on top of any of the pages on Citywide’s Facebook Fan Page at Facebook.com/citywidebanks. Then, click on the link for the ”Charity Contest” tab to access the online voting page. Each Facebook account will be permitted one vote during the 14-day voting period.
Spread the Word about Voting for ACE Scholarships
Tell your coworkers, friends, and family in Colorado to cast their vote for your favorite nonprofit. Use the sharing buttons above this article, on the Facebook voting page, or throughout Citywide Banks’ social media pages to help spread the word.