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Past Projects: Education

MDC received a $1.8 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create and lead a program to help low-income young adults in four communities complete their postsecondary education and acquire good jobs.
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.
The Developmental Education Initiative, created by MDC in association with Achieving the Dream and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation, was an effort at 15 colleges and six states to find ways to make developmental education more effective, more efficient—or unnecessary altogether. For too many community college students, developmental (remedial) education becomes an unnecessarily difficult barrier to cross, particularly low-income students and students who have returned to school after a long absence.
Disconnected Youth in the Triangle: An Ominous Problem Hidden in Plain Sight was a report, commissioned by the N.C. GlaxoSmithKline Foundation, about the status of young people, ages 16-24, who are neither in school nor employed. Research has shown that the problem of disconnected youth is particularly acute in the South, where disproportionate numbers of young people have dropped out of school and are essentially unemployable and without resources to better themselves.
On January 13th, 2010, more than 40 Southeastern Council on Foundations (SECF) members and affiliates participated in a phone call about investing in postsecondary education in the South. Co-hosted by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and MDC, the call was a follow-up to an information session held at the 2009 annual meeting of SECF.
Rural Leadership for Community Change was a program to develop leadership courses for students to become leaders and change agents in their own communities. Faculty at six rural community and tribal colleges developed a leadership curriculum that prepares students to become leaders for community change. The new curriculum combines classroom learning with hands-on community projects and serves as a model for other rural community and tribal colleges across the United States.
Vision to Action in Africa was a program to help the University of Namibia develop a new community college campus in Northern Namibia. Northern Namibia, following generations of colonial rule, economic distress, and political instability, now faces the challenge of building a future for its people.
The Rural Community College Initiative (RCCI) was a demonstration program designed and managed by MDC to strengthen rural community colleges. Funded by the Ford Foundation from 1994 to 2001, RCCI helped 24 community and tribal colleges in the nation's most economically distressed regions to move their people and communities toward prosperity. It supported aggressive and creative efforts to increase jobs, income, and access to education in rural communities.
MDC played a key role helping Lumina Foundation launch a four-year, $7.2 million effort to improve the postsecondary success nationwide of Latino students, who are the fastest-growing student population in America.
From 1993 to 1996, MDC led a school reform initiative funded by the Metropolitan Life Foundation that combined corporate and community efforts to raise student achievement for low-income and minority youth. 
A major demonstration funded by the Pew Foundation, Bell South Foundation, and DeWitt Wallace Foundation to raise educational achievement, especially for low-income and minority students, in five Southern communities by forging partnerships among middle schools, high schools, and community colleges. Prepared for the initiative, the MDC report, Walking the Talk, synthesized strategies for raising student aspirations and offered case illustrations of how to help middle and high school students recognize that postsecondary education is a necessary, affordable, and accessible option. 
From 1991 to 1996, MDC led a major school guidance reform initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment and designed to raise the educational achievement and college-going rates of all students. The program drew on MDC's recognized capacity in leadership development and our success at galvanizing attention to the needs of youth through America's Shame, America's Hope.  It became a prototype for the multi-year foundation funded demonstration projects that are the core of MDC's current business model.
In partnership with Achieving the Dream and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, MDC is exploring strategies that link financial capability training to student success. The Financial Empowerment Strategies for Student Success project seeks to identify and help grow effective practices for providing financial capability services (e.g., financial education, benefits access and/or work supports) to community college students with the goal of promoting financial empowerment and postsecondary completion.