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$165 million gift from Ballmers to expand Student Support Model to 1,000 New Public Schools Nationwide
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$165 million gift from Ballmers to expand Student Support Model to 1,000 New Public Schools Nationwide

Single Largest Philanthropic Investment in Organization’s 45-Year History Will Establish a Fund to Help Schools Across the Country Reduce Inequities in Education

Communities In Schools® (CIS®) announced that Connie and Steve Ballmer’s Ballmer Group is committing up to $165 million to help the organization scale its integrated student support model to 1,000 new majority low income (i.e “Title I-eligible”) schools. CIS has a bold ambition to grow into every Title I-eligible school in America and to build a stronger system that better supports the 12 million students living in poverty. This new initiative will establish a fund designed to accelerate the adoption of its in-school student support services model to under resourced schools across the country.

School district leaders and educators interested in learning more about this opportunity should contact their local CIS affiliate or click here for more information.

“The initiative they are kicking off today, supported by the generous investment of Ballmer Group, marks an important milestone for students who are marginalized and left behind or in need of help to overcome obstacles on their path to achieving their dreams,” said Rey Saldaña, President and CEO of Communities In Schools.

Communities In Schools works by bringing community resources directly into schools through embedding a trained local coordinator whose sole focus is helping connect students with additional supports to help them learn, advance in grade level and graduate. In a single year, CIS serves more than 1.8 million kids through 3,270 school and community sites in 25 states and the District of Columbia. The new grant will enable CIS to get to almost 4,000 Title I schools nationally through their current affiliates and new licensed partnerships, serving another half million kids per year. Most importantly, the fund is designed to catalyze local public and private investment in the model through a 1:1 match requirement over the first three years and commitments to fully fund the work long-term.

“They are proud to support CIS and believe in the promise of bringing their approach to scale across the US. This investment is designed to show how school site coordinators using the CIS model can meet students’ needs on an ongoing basis in order to improve high school graduation rates and, ultimately, economic mobility,” said Steve Ballmer of the investment made by Ballmer Group. “With schools being asked to do more than ever, CIS has demonstrated how important it is to have dedicated staff who receive comprehensive supports to ensure K-12 students and families have access to high quality resources that meet pressing needs in real-time and help overcome barriers to learning in the classroom.”

“This is a welcome boost of adrenaline in a movement for whole child supports” adds Saldaña. “It is our hope to see the CIS model – in which site coordinators focused solely on the needs of kids who are systemically ignored – become standard practice in every school that needs it nationally.”

Communities In Schools® (CIS™) is a national organization that ensures every student, regardless of race, zip code, or socioeconomic background, has what they need to realize their potential in school and beyond. Working directly inside over 3,000 schools across the country, they connect students to caring adults and community resources that help them see, confront, and overcome the barriers that stand between them and a brighter future.

Together, they build a powerful change movement made up of peers, students, and alumni committed to building an equitable path to education for future generations. For more than four decades, Communities In Schools has demonstrated measurable success in creating equitable outcomes for schools and students of color and students that live in impoverished communities.

During the 2021-2022 school year, 99.5 percent of students enrolled in CIS programs remained in school through the end of the school year, with 96.8 percent of K-11 students being promoted to the next grade and 95.5 percent of seniors graduating or receiving a GED. Learn more at

Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility for children and families in the United States, funding leaders and organizations that have demonstrated the ability to reshape opportunity and reduce systemic inequities.

They focus on multiple impact areas and systems that can impact economic mobility – such as early learning, K-12 education, college and career pathways, housing, behavioral health, and criminal justice – and they support leaders and organizations that focus on undoing systemic racism and the barriers it has created. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – they have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Washington state, and Los Angeles County.

Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers.

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