A Promise On Steroids?


Back in November, at PromiseNet in New Haven, San Marcos Unified Schools Superintendent Kevin Holt served as a panelist for a session called “The Promise Is Not The Beginning,” focusing on the required pre-conditions to start a Promise program. That’s Holt on the far right in the photo above at Yale SOM following the Cities of Promise Town Hall.

Dr. Holt had been a driving force in the establishment of PACE Promise — a partnership between the school district, California State University-San Marcos and the Leichtag Foundation, which provided the funding. In the last five years, PACE Promise has provided financial and academic support to more than 300 students.

But now he is aiming for something larger; something that Logan Jenkins of San Diego’s Union-Tribune calls “PACE on steroids.” On Friday, Dr. Holt will host a city-wide town hall forum, to include political and business leaders, to discuss the creation of the San Marcos Promise, a $100-million investment in the students of the city.

On the table are everything from a parcel tax to a sales tax hike or even sugar daddies like the anonymous donors who have been floating The Kalamazoo Promise in Michigan for nine years now. Dr. Holt wants a multi-investment approach to his goal in making San Marcos the educational hub of the San Diego metro. “I don’t want to depend solely on foundations and corporations,” he told Jenkins.

Jenkins, who is moderating Friday’s forum, calls the proposal a “moon shot.” But we must remember, the moon was conquered.

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

Yale SOM Case Study Released

Download Yale SOM PromiseNet Case Study

cop-yale-somAt the center of Thursday’s Cities of Promise Town Hall — to be held in the Yale School of Management’s new campus, Edward P. Evans Hall — is the case study focused on the national Promise movement, the country’s premier place-based scholarship and economic development program. Representatives of Promise organizations from across the United States will discuss the challenges and opportunities in knitting together the various Promise organizations into a more formal network for collective impact. Continue reading