Innovative Alumni Support: Donors Lead the Way

Every year, 3 million students nationwide drop out of college due to a financial crisis of less than $500. When longtime KIPP supporters Carol and Gene Ludwig heard stories of alumni being forced to put their postsecondary plans on hold, or drop out, because they couldn’t pay a bill, they worked with KIPP to establish the Carol and Gene Ludwig Persistence Fund.

“If a financial emergency is preventing a student from remaining in college, that is a problem we are very eager to solve,” said Dr. Carol Ludwig, president of the Carol and Gene Ludwig Family Foundation and KIPP DC Board Member. “We are honored to partner with KIPP to ensure that hard-working students have the financial resources that they need in order to earn and access the numerous benefits of a college degree. We are thrilled that this type of financial aid has contributed to more students completing college.”

Through the Persistence Fund, KIPP alumni can access one-time, emergency microgrants to cover unexpected expenses that might otherwise derail their college goals. This support can cover basic living necessities, course supplies, technology, and other critical needs.

Originally piloted in 2014 for KIPP DC alumni, the Ludwig Persistence Fund’s significant and sustained success fueled interest in scaling the program to reach more alumni in other KIPP regions. In 2018, the Ludwigs provided Persistence Fund grants to five additional KIPP regions, and the grants have had a significant impact for these KIPP graduates, which ultimately led KIPP and the Ludwigs to expand the program to all KIPP regions in 2020.  

Today, with the Ludwigs’ support, 92 percent of KIPP alumni who received a microgrant are staying in college or have graduated. When COVID impacted alumni nationwide, KIPP launched a national microgrant program known as the Postsecondary Bridge Fund modeled on the Ludwig Persistence Fund.

Determined to further strengthen support for KIPP alumni, the Ludwigs partnered with KIPP to pilot a new program leveraging nudge technology. Nudge allows KIPP to send targeted text messages, including reminders and encouragement, to alumni in college. An AI-assisted bot called “KIPPer” also responds to commonly asked questions. Thanks to the Ludwigs’ early backing, 22 KIPP regions are now using Nudge.

Whether you’re a new donor to KIPP or longtime contributors like Carol and Gene Ludwig, you can be part of the innovation happening to support KIPP students and alumni.


Intel Foundation Supports STEM at KIPP

Intel is committed to creating a better world through the power of its technology and the expertise and passion of its employees. Intel and the Intel Foundation have a strong legacy of partnering with community organizations, governments, and academia to catalyze action in communities around the globe. As part of Intel’s 2030 RISE strategy and goals, the company has committed to expanding the inclusive pipeline of talent for the industry through innovative global education initiatives and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.

“Changing the future of technology isn’t something we can do alone,” says Intel Foundation President and Director of STEM Education Pia Wilson-Body. “That’s why Intel is proud to partner with organizations like KIPP to expand access to skills needed for current and future careers in STEM fields.”

To reach more students and increase access to high-quality STEM education in more communities, Intel recently partnered with KIPP, supporting our efforts to give students in grades K-8 a strong foundation in science.

Today, nearly every KIPP school uses the Amplify Science curriculum. Amplify is a robust, hands-on curriculum designed to fulfill 100% of the Next Generation Science Standards. Amplify is literacy rich and invites students to investigate phenomena with the purpose of solving authentic problems.

Throughout KIPP’s history, we have experienced what research confirms—great student outcomes are the result of great teaching. Too often in education, however, teachers are handed a curriculum and once the classroom door closes, they receive little support. What we know for sure is that a great curriculum without proper training, resources and tools is unlikely to realize its full impact.

With Intel’s support, we are not only expanding access to Amplify to more students, but also providing high-quality training and professional development so that KIPP teachers and leaders can internalize Amplify’s lessons and content, teach it effectively, and analyze student performance data.

“A zip code doesn’t determine brilliance, but it does determine access,” shared Pia Wilson-Body. “Together with KIPP, we are removing barriers and enabling and inspiring the innovators of tomorrow.”

“A zip code doesn’t determine brilliance, but it does determine access. Together with KIPP, we are removing barriers and enabling and inspiring the innovators of tomorrow.”

– Pia Wilson-Body, Intel Foundation President and Director of STEM Education

At KIPP, we want students to create, innovate, experiment, and wonder — every day and in every grade. By delivering high-quality science instruction across our schools, with the support of Intel, we believe KIPP can become a leader in reversing the STEM diversity gap. We are excited to partner with Intel to support KIPP students in building their identities and skills as makers, designers, problem solvers, and leaders positioned for 21st century careers.