Community partners team to launch Marion County Promise in Indianapolis

Program to put more students on path to college

CICF is working with local partners to launch Marion County Promise at select Indianapolis schools and not-for-profit organizations, to put more students on the path to post-secondary education. The program offers students college-readiness programing, visits to college campuses, $25 to open a CollegeChoice 529 Direct account and up to $75 in matching dollars. Donors, community partners, family and friends serve as “champions,” supporting students through encouragement and financial contributions.

“It’s not about the money. The 529 is just one vehicle we use to help build hope,” says Clint Kugler, co-founder of Promise Indiana, the statewide Promise initiative. “Research shows that low-income and moderate-income students with college savings accounts—even ones with low balances—are more likely to attend college and graduate. We also know that students without role models often do not believe they can attend college.“

“We want students in Marion County to believe that kids who look like them, live in their neighborhoods and attend their schools, pursue education beyond high school. One of the best ways to ensure that happens is to give them role models and engage them in college-related activities and discussions as early as possible.”

–Brian Payne, president and CEO of CICF

Marion County Promise is engaging students through four hubs to launch the pilot program before expanding it countywide: Marian University at Cold Spring Elementary, the Mayor’s Office of Education Innovation at KIPP Indy Public Schools, Decatur Township and a collaboration of not-for-profits (Indianapolis Chapter of Indiana Black Expo, Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, Indiana After School Network and MCCOY, among others).

The Promise Indiana model, which has already been adopted in 14 counties across Indiana, has resulted in increased self-confidence and hope for the future among participating students, as well as nearly $3,000,000 invested in savings for their future education.

In 2016, CICF awarded a grant to Marion County Promise to help launch the initiative and build the community engagement needed to scale the program countywide. Through the support of CICF, Phil Maurizi, vice president of operations for Promise Indiana, has been able to serve as the program’s interim project manager. CICF will also serve as the program’s fiscal agent.

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