Harold Simmons Foundation Makes $5M Commitment to Uplift Education

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The Dallas-based Harold Simmons Foundation announced it would make a $5 million gift over four years to Uplift Education, North Texas’ largest charter school network. This is one of the Harold Simmons Foundation’s largest gifts directed towards an education venture, signaling their interest in supporting education reform in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

Uplift is proving that low-income students can achieve at high academic levels.

The Dallas-based Harold Simmons Foundation announced it would make a $5 million gift over four years to Uplift Education, North Texas’ largest charter school network. This is one of the Harold Simmons Foundation’s largest gifts directed towards an education venture, signaling their interest in supporting education reform in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The funds will be used to help Uplift start new schools as it expands to 13,000 students by 2015.

The $5 million gift is the largest gift to Uplift Education from the Harold Simmons Foundation. The Foundation has been an ongoing partner of Uplift Education with its first large gift in 2007 to help open Uplift Hampton Preparatory and a second grant in 2011 to open Uplift Pinnacle Preparatory. This most recent gift represents a portion of Uplift’s $57 million capital campaign project goal. To date, Uplift Education has raised $32 million and is looking to close the campaign by 2015. Through the campaign, Uplift will offset the first three years’ operating deficit of new schools. After schools achieve capacity they are operationally self-sustaining. Renovations and construction of new buildings are raised through bond sales, leveraging the Harold Simmons Foundation gift 3 to 1 for every school it builds. Uplift receives no state money for new buildings and relies on grants, private donations and bond financing to support new school growth.

Lisa Simmons, president of the Foundation, has been watching the charter network produce results during the past five years.

“Uplift is proving that low-income students can achieve at high academic levels. This is an organization that each year helps all of its graduating seniors get accepted to college. When so many students start school without any expectation they will go to college and then do, you know the Uplift approach is working. The Harold Simmons Foundation is delighted to help more students in North Texas have this opportunity through Uplift,” she said.

Yasmin Bhatia, Uplift Education’s CEO, appreciates the strong support from the Foundation.

“Today only 11% of low-income students will graduate from college. We believe that all students, regardless of socio-economic status, deserve the opportunity to attend college, be successful while there and graduate. This generous gift from the Harold Simmons Foundation will be felt immediately by thousands of students as we add schools in North Texas,” Ms. Bhatia said.

The first installment of $1.25 million will help Uplift expand in Dallas’ Bachman Lake area, where a primary school is planned. The network has purchased a 41,580-square-foot building at 9411 Hargrove Dr. and will begin renovations on the property this spring. The school will eventually be home to kindergarten through fifth grade and will have classroom space for more than 500 students when it is fully enrolled.

“We hope our school near Love Field will provide an important opportunity for the families in this community. We will begin accepting applications for the Hargrove Road campus location in late January or early February. We are looking forward to serving these children,” Ms. Bhatia said.

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About Uplift Education
Uplift Education is a is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating a network of 26 tuition-free, college preparatory, public charter schools in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving on 12 campuses. Founded in North Texas, Uplift Education schools provide a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum, with an emphasis on college preparation – 100% of graduates are accepted to college. Uplift Education is the largest charter system operating in North Texas, educating 7,500 students. The majority of its students are low-income and minority students who will be the first in their family to attend college. Uplift schools are public schools -- students are selected by a blind lottery with no information collected on their past academic performance. For more information, visit uplifteducation.org or facebook.com/uplifteducation.

Media Contacts:
Mike Terry, Director of Communications
Uplift Education
mterry(at)uplifteducation(dot)org
Direct 469-621-8545

Sara Ortega, Public Relations Coordinator
Uplift Education
sortega(at)uplifteducation(dot)org
Direct 469-621-8498

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Uplift Education
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