The Essential Impact of the Sustaining Leaders Fund 

The Sustaining Leaders Fund is an essential group of donors dedicated to supporting High Jump’s mission to equalize educational opportunities in Chicago. The members of this community are pillars that strengthen High Jump’s ability to provide impactful programming to students who need it most.

The Sustaining Leaders Fund donors provide a foundation for growth resulting in greater impact for middle school students in Chicago. In the past year, the Sustaining Leaders Fund helped support our students by:

  • Ensuring consistent access to education by removing technological barriers – providing computers, tablets, and internet connectivity to all who need it – and transportation barriers – providing bus service for students throughout the school year.
  • Partnering with Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development to provide a social justice workshop for all of our teachers and TAs to ensure that the educational space they create for our students is one that is affirming and supportive.
  • Providing funds and bandwidth to make it possible for High Jump to launch our “Community Scholars” pilot program in the summer of 2021. Community Scholars brings our model directly to students in high-need areas not otherwise reached by our program, helping us increase our reach exponentially as we expand outside Chicago. Currently, 30 students participate in this program. 

The impact of the Sustaining Leaders Fund is far-reaching and long-lasting:

  • Each year of participation in High Jump results in the equivalent of two years of academic gains.
  • 100% of students who completed the High Jump program graduated from high school.
  • 87% of our college-aged alumni have graduated from 4-year colleges and universities nationwide within 6 years of completing high school, compared to 14% of low-income students nationally (based on 2021 data from High Jump cohorts 18-20).
  • 96% of High Jump students maintained a 3.0 GPA or higher (2018-2019 cohorts).

In 2023 and beyond, Sustaining Leaders Fund donors will be essential supporters of several initiatives:

  • Meeting the rising costs of bus transportation, food, and technology to support the needs of our largest cohort of 225 High Jump Scholars and helping us expand so that we can accept even more scholars into our 35th cohort.
  • Improving High Jump scholars’ college completion rates beyond 87%. In the fall of 2020, Illinois saw a 7% decrease in overall college enrollment, but High Jump alumni maintained their college completion rate at 2019 levels. Currently, 98% of High Jump’s high school class of 2021 are attending college, including at the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Dominican University, and more! We will continue building on this momentum!
  • Expanding programs such as our Teaching Assistant (TA) and Special Project Internship (SPI) programs to provide more high-quality professional development, job training, employment counseling, and goal-setting support to our alumni.
  • Continuing to provide stability and funding necessary to develop new pilot programs that will support more ambitious students both in and outside of our High Jump program. After our first year of the Community Scholars pilot program, 97% of students and 100% of families reported feeling their students benefit academically, socially, and emotionally.

Become a Sustaining Leader.

Your support will sustain our programming for years to come.
Contact Jill Reid, Chief Advancement Officer, at 312-582-7716 or [email protected].

Posted in