Hamon Charitable Foundation Makes $12.5 Million Gift to Uplift Education

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The Hamon Charitable Foundation has announced it will give a $12.5 million matching gift to Uplift Education, North Texas’ largest charter operator. The funds will help Uplift reach its capital campaign goal of $64 million and add 5 new schools to its growing network.

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The Hamon Charitable Foundation will allow us to make an immediate impact on the number of Uplift schools available to students on our wait list.

The Hamon Charitable Foundation has announced it will give a $12.5 million matching gift to Uplift Education, North Texas’ largest charter operator. The funds will help Uplift reach its capital campaign goal of $64 million and add 5 new schools to its growing network. The Hamon Charitable Foundation was created by Nancy B. Hamon after the death of her husband, Jake L. Hamon, who died in 1985.

The Foundation, impressed with Uplift’s expansion plans and academic track record, hopes the challenge grant will motivate other private donors and foundations to join the effort to provide high-quality schools to communities with few educational options. The matching grant would see the Foundation’s initial $12.5 million gift double over four years, increasing its impact to $25 million.

Uplift CEO Yasmin Bhatia feels a sense of urgency to provide excellent schools in underserved communities. She appreciates the Hamon Charitable Foundation’s commitment to helping the network meet the education demand in North Texas. Uplift, which will have more than 10,000 students enrolled in its 28 schools this fall, is striving to enroll 13,000 by 2015.

“Families across our region want quality schools. Our waitlist for the 2013-14 school year is more than 8,000 families deep. Right now, many of these families do not feel they have other strong school options. The Hamon Charitable Foundation will allow us to make an immediate impact on the number of Uplift schools available to students on our wait list,” Ms. Bhatia said.

In the last two years Uplift has opened five new North Texas schools, including the newest primary campus, Uplift Triumph Preparatory, located near Love Field in northwest Dallas. The new campus will serve kindergarten through second grade in its first year. Eventually, it will have kindergarten through fifth grade. More than 300 families have received spots at the school with many more on the wait list.

Uplift Triumph, which officially opened on August 6, provided summer learning to help students catch up and get ready for the rigorous academic schedule of the regular school year.

Demand for spots in Texas charter schools was big news this spring as the Texas Legislature considered measures to make it easier for charter networks to grow. As he promoted his signature Senate Bill 2, state Senator Dan Patrick said more than 100,000 families are currently waiting for openings at charter schools across the state.

According to the Texas Charter School Association (TCSA), waitlist numbers are likely much higher. Approximately 67% of Texas charter schools answered TCSA’s survey in 2012. Numbers submitted by those networks suggest that 101,000 families are on waitlists. With charter growth across the state on the uptick and the likelihood the TEA will award more charters in the next few years, enrollment in Texas charter schools will grow far beyond the current estimates of 140,000 students.

“Each time we start a new school in a new community, our waitlist grows. More and more families become aware of their school choices. They express their desire for better educational options by applying to Uplift. The Hamon Charitable Foundation gift paired with the matching gifts of others will help us answer the requests of these parents to provide high-quality schools to their children,” Ms. Bhatia said.

Uplift plans to open two or three new schools for the 2014 school year. The network is still evaluating sites for the new locations.

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About Uplift Education

Uplift Education is a is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization operating a network of 28 tuition-free, college preparatory, public charter schools in Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Irving on 13 campuses. Uplift Education schools provide a rigorous, multidisciplinary curriculum, with an emphasis on college preparation – 100% of graduates are accepted to college. Uplift Education educates more than 10,000 students, with the majority being 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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