Achieving the Dream is a national initiative to help more community college students succeed, particularly students of color and low-income students who have traditionally faced significant barriers to success. Achieving the Dream—now the nation's largest student success reform network—emphasizes the use of data to drive change and focuses on measurable outcomes, especially closing achievement gaps. Founded by the Lumina Foundation and eight national partners, ATD has grown to include more than 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
MDC helped conceive and was the managing partner of Achieving the Dream from its founding as an initiative in 2004 until it was incubated by MDC into a standalone nonprofit and spun-off in 2010. MDC oversaw development of a business plan for the initiative, oversaw the inclusion of equity in all its programs, incubated creation of the new organization, and provides continuing support as a Founding Partner.
Achieving the Dream works on multiple fronts—on campuses and in research, public engagement, and public policy—and is based on the premise that to improve student success on a significant scale, colleges need to fundamentally change the way they operate. Successful institutions adhere to four principles in their institutional change work: Committed Leadership, a Culture of Evidence, Broad Engagement, and Systemic Institutional Improvement.