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College Crusade Believe Fund and College Crusade Legacy Fund
By Jean Cohoon / March 10, 2015 /   Loading Disqus...

(Photo: David O'Connor)

"We take students from the poorest families in the poorest schools in the poorest cities,” states Todd Flaherty, Ed.D., president and CEO of The College Crusade of Rhode Island. The organization provides college readiness and success support for 4,500 middle school, high school, and college students from disadvantaged communities in Providence, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket, and Cranston.

Founded in 1989 “to reduce high school dropout rates and increase educational and career success for low-income urban youth,” The College Crusade focuses on academic enrichment, social and personal development, career awareness and exploration, preparation for postsecondary education, and postsecondary success. Caring advisors spend time with students. “We teach resiliency, grit, and academic tenacity, and that stays with our students throughout college. These young people are socio-economically disadvantaged, but are smart and work hard. We have high expectations for all of them,” Todd says.

“When our students graduate from high school and get into college, we give them a scholarship,” he continues, noting that last year the Crusade awarded $2.3 million in cash and donated scholarships to approximately 600 students.

The College Crusade has a proven track record: In 2013, the high school graduation rate for Crusaders was eight percentage points higher than the rate for non-Crusaders in Rhode Island’s urban school districts. That same year, the college-going rate for Crusaders was 28 percentage points higher than the rate for all urban students.

“It’s rewarding to see the graduates of The College Crusade go off to college, succeed there, and then come back to their communities and make significant contributions. Some of our alumni teach at our career days or serve as Crusade advisors. They totally get it, and they’re the role models for our current Crusaders. The kids listen to them,” Todd says.

Funding for College Crusade programs comes from federal and state grants, as well as from private corporations, foundations, and individuals. “Every dime counts for us. Having our endowments at the Rhode Island Foundation is attractive because it is a stable place through which individuals can make contributions. If you give to either of these funds, your gift will go for scholarships,” Todd explains.

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