Chevron Cuts Large Promise Check

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There is a broad range of Promise programs, but there are a small number of large comprehensive programs that supply millions of dollars in scholarships each year. The Richmond Promise in California is about to join them.

The Chevron Corporation — which has committed $35 million in agreement with a $1 billion modernization of its Richmond refinery — recently handed over its first check, a large one of $8 million to get the Promise started. The first recipients are expected to be the rising high school seniors of the Class of 2016.

Richmond City Manager Bill Lindsay — who was part of a six-person exploratory team at PromiseNet in November — told the Richmond Standard that college readiness was going to be an important component to the programming. He also said that the city hoped to leverage the Chevron commitment into $150 million in additional funds from foundations and private individuals.

Community leaders and school officials have yet to determine how funds will be distributed, but there is a call to make college both “attainable and affordable” for the most possible students. Vice Mayor Jael Myrick — who led the charge for the Richmond Promise as a city councilor — called the opportunity “transformative” and “game-changing.”

“This is real; this is happening,” Myrick said. “We expect young people after high school to still be in school.”

No, Not A Pet Project

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One of the exciting developments in the Promise movement in 2014 was the establishment of the Richmond Promise in California’s Bay Area, which was announced in August.

The man credited with its founding was city council member Jael Myrick, who negotiated the package with Chevron Richmond as part of the Richmond Refinery Modernization Project. While the funding has yet to begin to flow, students in the city will soon have college options previously unavailable.

Myrick was one of six local officials to fly across the country in November to attend PromiseNet 2014 in New Haven, Conn., and admitted afterward that the delegation learned so much that they’d need some time to decompress and assess.

Since then, Myrick — who is not yet 30 — has been named the vice mayor of the City of Richmond for 2015. His closest council ally on the Richmond Promise project was Tom Butt, who is now the mayor. Expect a lot of movement with the Promise in 2015.

Myrick — pictured at left above with Von Washington of the Kalamazoo Promise at the Yale University Art Gallery in November — recently posted a suggestion regarding the initiative to his Facebook page:

The next person who refers to the Richmond Promise as a “pet project” has to come with me to Kennedy High (better yet Gompers) and give their Bachelor’s Degree to a deserving but struggling High School Senior, quit their job and then go online to find a new job with no degree or certification.

Yes, the commitment stands.

Looking Back At 2014

As we enter the final days of 2014, we look back at a significant year in the Promise movement as new Cities of Promise have emerged with innovative ways to fund scholarships and support students. Here’s a look back at some of the things that happened in the last 12 months:

cop-people-bill-haslam• Tennessee went Promise mad as a huge percentage of the state’s high school seniors signed up for the Tennessee Promise, which Gov. Bill Haslam proposed and guided into law. The Promise will use proceeds from the state lottery to provide residents with free tuition at community colleges and colleges of applied technology beginning in the fall of 2015.

The Seattle Promise — a bold new initiative from the Seattle Central Foundation — was established to provide a full scholarship to every student at Seattle Central College who demonstrates financial need, enrolls full time and maintains a 3.0 grade-point average. By eliminating financial need as a barrier to paying tuition, the Seattle Promise will allow low-income Seattle students of all ages — not just recent high school graduates — to pursue a higher education. Continue reading