United States

Education, combined with good health, is the key to opening a lifetime of opportunity. Yet low-income students and families still have too few affordable quality options in K-12 and higher education, and often struggle with community barriers to wellness. They also have limited flexibility because of employment, housing or limited income, so the educational and health challenges they face are more daunting. In many schools, too few of students are academically prepared for college and career. Only 20 percent of low-income college students graduate within six years. And across the nation, families in disadvantaged communities are wrestling with reliable access to affordable fresh food and safe physical activity.

Communities have proven that they can come together to lead improvements in access to healthy, fresh food as well as ensure access to more safe areas for physical activity like parks, safe sidewalks, and safe routes to schools. We are also encouraged by the progress across the nation with large school systems improving academic outcomes for their students; more and more high-quality schools opening in low-income neighborhoods; more low-performing schools showing they can be turned around quickly; and the growth in the number of low-income students earning bachelor’s degrees.

There’s a single motivation behind our work: giving children and families access to quality education and wellness regardless of income level. We focus on both systems-level work that impacts millions of students to academic interventions that directly benefit a few dozen. We invest in effective college preparation and completion programs to ensure more students can take advantage of higher education opportunities. We provide academic, financial and emotional support to low-income college students through our Dell Scholars program. We’re a catalyst for scalable health and wellness outcomes, driven by the community voice and enduring partnerships.

We push ourselves to experience the reality of the children and families we serve, preferring to work with our partners shoulder to shoulder to gain the biggest impact and learn what the next big opportunity or big idea could be. We approach our work with the needs of the community in mind and work directly with our partners from idea to implementation.

It’s no secret that there’s an achievement gap among students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. To close this gap, improve student performance and increase graduation rates among these students, we’ve set our goals around growing programs that focus on enabling data-driven education and access to high quality public schools.

That’s why we focus on funding programs, school models and organizations that provide teachers with the tools, skills and resources needed to understand and act on information generated in their classrooms and parents with the information to know how their children are learning. Through facilitating the delivery of Ed-Fi enabled student data, we’ll empower educators to personalize learning for each student. We’ll continue to help grow great schools so more students can access them. And we’ll continue to partner with like-minded organizations to transform cities by demonstrating that cities pursuing a coordinated set of school governance and school creation strategies can consistently increase the number and percentage of students accessing better schools.

Our goal is to contribute to improving the health of one million children and families by supporting initiatives proven to increase healthy eating and physical activity. It sounds simple, but changing community infrastructure and social norms that lead to healthier lives for children and families is no easy task.

Our role is to catalyze pragmatic solutions: we identify opportunities—whether it’s changing a community’s access to affordable healthy food or coordinating childhood obesity prevention—by listening to the community voice. We collaborate with stakeholders–some who weren’t traditional partners in the past–to join us in creating scalable outcomes, then rely on them to mobilize and impact change across entire populations.

Each student should have a chance to be successful in college, have higher lifetime earnings and experience better lifetime health. Our goal is to outperform the national averages for college enrollment and graduation for low-income students in the programs we fund by 50 percent.

We’ve proven that supporting disadvantaged students in a multitude of ways will lead to meaningful results. That’s why we fund college preparation and completion programs and our own Dell Scholars Program that support disadvantaged but determined high school and college students as they work toward their ultimate goal of completing college. We are also convinced that the use of technology can enable transformational change in our students when used by those who are working to help students reach success, including our scholarship team.