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Drop-out Prevention Programming Contribution from AT&T

United Way of North Central Florida is sole United Way selected nationally for drop-out prevention programming with a $300,000 contribution from AT&T

The Check and Connect Program is dedicated to stopping the high school drop-out crisis
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- United Way of North Central Florida is known for its strong focus on education, with its primary stated goal of increasing high school graduation rates. With three key strategies in place for that long-term work, United Way focuses on early childhood education (Success By 6), second and third grade reading skill improvement (Reading Pals) and high school drop-out prevention (Check and Connect). The organization is the community's largest, non-governmental funder of human service strategies and programs.
Because of its solid record of proven results, United Way of North Central Florida has been named one of 47 recipients in 29 states nationwide that will share in nearly $10 million from AT&T. 
United Way of North Central Florida was the only United Way in the nation selected for this award.  With more than 1 million students impacted since its launch in 2008, the AT&T Aspire program is one of the largest corporate commitments focused on helping more students graduate from high school ready for college and careers. AT&T announced an additional quarter-billion-dollar expansion to the program earlier this year, bringing the total commitment to $350 million. 
Educators in schools and non-profit organizations across the country have a unique understanding of the challenges students face in their communities. Through a competitive process, 47 communities and non-profits, including United Way of North Central Florida, were selected from thousands nationwide. To learn more about all of the organizations that were selected, please visit
"United Way of North Central Florida is known for its support of innovative, evidence-based programs to tackle the issues affecting high school graduation rates in the greater Gainesville, FL area," said AT&T Florida President Marshall Criser, III.
Applicants were evaluated based on their accomplishments in serving students at risk of dropping out of high school and their ability to use data to demonstrate the effectiveness of their work. 
After a rigorous and competitive process, United Way of North Central was identified as making a real difference in their community by supporting and motivating traditionally underserved students to stay in school and prepare for the next step in life. Family support strategies are an integral part of the Check and Connect program, as many families in poverty lack the knowledge and access to available support services that are vital for supporting youth in their educational success.
"This contribution allows us to continue the Check and Connect program, working in partnership with Alachua County Public Schools to increase the graduation rate of students at risk of dropping out," said United Way of North Central Florida's President & CEO Debbie Mason. "The data we collect through this effort will make a lasting impact on our community. Working together with AT&T, we can impact other communities across the nation that struggle to find successful interventions to halt the drop-out rates of students living in poverty." 
Mason added, "The $300,000 contribution will provide drop-out prevention specialists in three of the most at-risk high schools in our community and will provide program dollars to support their outreach and support of more than 120 youth and their families within those school populations." 


CONTACT:  Kim Faenza (352) 333-0855 office, (352)222-8280 cell
Sept. 20, 2012