Our Vision: All youth graduate high school with skills and resources for life, work and continuing education.
Key impact areas:
- Middle school success
- High school completion
- Transition to continuing education
Did You Know:
- A third of ninth graders will not graduate from high school on time.
- 1 in 2 students of color in the Portland metro region do not graduate high school on time.
Education is about much more than the basics. Now, more than ever, education is fundamental to the hopes and future of our young people, families and communities.
Schools and out-of-school projects present the first steps towards career paths, offer reinforcement of social-emotional development and teach critical thinking skills that will be used in all aspects of life.
For some children, educational environments also provide the best meals a child will eat in a given day, represent a source of stability that they struggle to find elsewhere, and give their family a chance to break the cycle of poverty.
However, report after report shows that America is falling further behind the world's leaders in preparing children for the future. Currently, 1 in 3 ninth graders in our region do not graduate high school on time.
Many other local districts are struggling to reach two-thirds on time graduation rates for their students. The numbers are significantly higher for children from low income families, kids with disabilities, and African-American, Native American, Latino and other underserved populations.
United Way of the Columbia-Willamette supports our regional education goals by funding eight innovative projects through our Community Investment grants project. These projects serve culturally, geographically, and economically diverse youth and their families.
We also endorse and strive locally to achieve United Way Worldwide's goal to cut the dropout rate in half by 2018.
United Way of the Columbia-Willamette also engages in a number of special projects to serve the youth in our area. In partnership with Oregon Mentors, we are working to recruit 7,000 new mentors over the next two years to be active in young people's lives.
We have funded Oregon Children's Theater to bring important works to the stage while taking advantage of the arts to help youth grapple with difficult issues of the day and offering them a cultural experience they may not have otherwise have had.