Education is a fundamental building block for economic mobility.

We work with communities to identify and overcome barriers to educational success so that more students can graduate from high school, earn a post secondary credential valued in the marketplace and enter a career that pays a life-sustaining wage or salary.


MDC serves as the activating agency for the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust’s Great Expectations early childhood initiative, a $40 million, 15-year investment focused on helping children in Forsyth County, N.C. succeed by the time they complete kindergarten.

Healthy PlaceS North Carolina 

MDC is working with the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust in its Healthy Places North Carolina (HPNC), a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative initiative to find ways to incorporate community colleges as change agents in improving community health outcomes in some of the state's most-distressed rural counties. 


MDC is working with leaders in business, education, government and the nonprofit sector in Durham, N.C. to create an education-to-career system that prepares more young people for careers in the regional economy.

My Future NC

MDC is advising and supporting the work of My Future NC, a commission of North Carolina's leaders to improve postsecondary completion rates in the state and find ways to help adults with some college but no degree cross the postsecondary finish line.

Transferring Success

MDC in this report to the ECMC Foundation examines transfer practices and experiences at four Southern community colleges, observing how institutional practices, federal and state policies, and student mindset and behavior affect transfer students.

past projects

Achieving the Dream

MDC helped conceive, manage and spin-off Achieving the Dream, the nation’s second largest student success initiative designed to help more community college students, particularly low-income and students of color, succeed.

Alliance for Achievement

MDC prepared a report on raising student aspirations to inform 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.

Creating a Postsecondary Vision for Alabama

MDC is working with the Alabama Department of Postsecondary Education to develop a shared vision and agenda that propels the Alabama Community College System forward. 

Developmental Education Initiative

MDC worked with Achieving the Dream, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Lumina Foundation to create an initiative that helped 15 colleges and six states find ways to make developmental education more effective, more efficient or unnecessary altogether.

Disconnected Youth in the Triangle: An Ominous Problem Hidden in Plain Sight

MDC conducted research and produce a signature for the GlaxoSmithKline Foundation to document the problem of disconnected youth, particularly acute in the South, who are neither in school or employed.

Financial Empowerment Strategies for Student Success

MDC partnered with Achieving the Dream and Bank of America Charitable Foundation to explore strategies for providing financial capability services to community college students to promote financial empowerment and postsecondary completion.

Indiana School Guidance and Counseling Leadership Project

MDC led a major, five-year school guidance reform initiative funded by Lilly Endowment designed to raise the educational achievement and college-going rates of all students.

Investing in Postsecondary Outcomes in the South

MDC co-hosted with the Bill & Melinda Gates a 2010 conference call of more than 40 Southeastern Council on Foundations members and affiliates to examine how the Gates Foundation achieve its goal of doubling the numbers of low-income young adults who earn a postsecondary credential by the age of 26.

Latino Student Success

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.

Partners for Educational Success

MDC led a three-year school reform initiative funded by Metropolitan Life Foundation that combined corporate and community efforts to raise student achievement for low-income and minority youth.

Partners for Postsecondary Success

MDC teamed with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on a $1.8 million grant project to create and lead a program that helped low-income young adults in four communities complete their postsecondary education and acquire good jobs.

Partnerships for Education and Economic Opportunity

MDC served as learning partner and published the final report an project of The Hitachi Foundation  that examining how some U.S. communities succeed in offering genuine opportunities for young people, and how their success can be replicated.

Rural Community College Initiative

MDC managed this eight-year Ford Foundation initiative to strengthen rural community colleges, helping 24 community and tribal colleges in the nation's most economically distressed regions move their people and communities toward prosperity.

Rural Leadership for Community Change

MDC with the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education funded to six rural community and tribal colleges develop courses to help students become leaders and change agents in their own communities.

Vision to Action in Africa

MDC helped the Ford Foundation apply learnings from MDC’s Rural Community College Initiative to develop a community-college-style campus in Northern Namibia for the University of Namibia.