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Grants That Make a Difference: Reach for Excellence, Inc.

January 20, 2009

Right before the holidays, we asked grantees and foundations to share their stories of grants that have had a positive impact for a new blog feature called Grants That Make a Difference. Since then, several of you have contributed stories that clearly illustrate the direct, transformative effect a grant can have. One such story, featured below, comes from Gigi Meyers, director of development at Reach for Excellence, an Atlanta-based nonprofit dedicated to providing educational opportunity for promising, underserved students.

As nonprofits and those they serve struggle with the fallout from the economic crisis, many foundations have responded with support for the most pressing needs, which may indeed make a critical difference to the survival of those who are faced with dwindling options. (The Foundation Center is tracking this support via an online interactive map.) We encourage you to submit stories like Amanda's, as well as stories of grants that are addressing needs associated with the crisis such as food, shelter, and foreclosure assistance. We'll feature a selection of those stories on a regular basis here on PhilanTopic, at one or more of our regional Philanthropy Front and Center blogs, and at other areas of our Web site.

Grant Recipient

Reach for Excellence, Inc.
Atlanta, Georgia

Reach for Excellence is a three-year, classroom-based academic and leadership enrichment program. Through its mix of academic, cultural, and community-based experiences, this tuition-free program prepares talented, limited-income middle school students to meet the challenges of college preparatory programs and high schools.


Sara Giles Moore Foundation
Atlanta, Georgia

About the Grant

$50,000 grant awarded for fiscal year 2006-07

Grant monies were used to fund scholarships for middle school students who had been accepted into the program. It costs approximately $4,000 per year, per student, to attend Reach for Excellence. The grant covered the salaries of certified teachers, supplies, subject-related field trips, a hot breakfast and lunch, and transportation to and from the program when necessary.

What makes this particular grant a good example of the effective use of philanthropic funds?

The difference that this grant made in the life of a student can be found in the example of Reach graduate Amanda Glover. Amanda came to Reach in the summer of 2005 when she Amanda_glover was a middle school student at Turner Middle School. Upon graduation, Amanda applied and was accepted to Marist School in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is currently a sophomore. Amanda's mother passed away at the beginning of her freshman year, and she and her four siblings live with their grandmother. In her short time at Marist, Amanda has been able to maintain a straight A average, is a member of the debate team and the French Club, is a color guard and a junior varsity basketball cheerleader, and was chosen as part of the Homecoming Court of 2008. Amanda admits she probably would not have considered attending Marist had it not been for her participation in Reach for Excellence. She is a shining example of how a donor's generosity can change a child's future.

Due to the kindness of supporters like the Sara Giles Moore Foundation, we are able to have 90-100 students participate in the program. After three years, our graduates are going on to attend some of the best public and private schools in and around Atlanta, as well as boarding schools throughout the United States. Many of our graduates are now of college age and are continuing their education at such fine institutions of higher learning as Georgia Tech, Emory, Brown, Yale, Georgia Southern, and Kennesaw State.


Again, we encourage you to share your stories of grants that made a difference by submitting them through the handy online form we've provided for that purpose. And if you have any thoughts about how a grant can make a difference, or what goes into an "effective" grant, we'd love to hear your thoughts. Use the comments below.

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