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Our Results*

children ready for kindergarten
middle school students on track to graduate
of children tested improved screening scores

* Cumulative data from FY 2012-2016. Not all unique individuals.


The Challenge

All kids should have the opportunity to reach their full potential and become the next leaders in our community, but too many children, particularly those in low-income neighborhoods, are struggling to make it to high school graduation.

At-risk students who do not receive high-quality early childhood education are 25% more likely to drop out of high school and 70% more likely to be arrested for a violent crime. And, without a high school diploma, young adults are 72% more likely to be unemployed as compared to high school graduates. In our region:

  • Only 34% of students in Cook County and 53% of students in DuPage County meet or exceed state standards for reading
  • 13% of 9th graders in Chicago Public Schools are not on track for success in high school
  • 17% of students in Cook County drop out of high school

LU2020 Strategy For Success

Our LU2020 goal in education focused on supporting early learning and middle school programs so children could start school ready-to-learn and enter high school on track for graduation. To achieve our goal, we worked with partner agencies to:

  • Expand resources for high-quality preschool and home visits so children start kindergarten with a strong foundation in language, motor skills and socio-emotional development.
  • Support at-risk middle school students and their families with academic resources, after school enrichment programs and physical and mental health services.

For the full story of how we did it, check out our LIVE UNITED 2020 report.

Success Story
Angelo finds the light (click to view video)

Together, We Can Do More

From the city to the suburbs, there is plenty to celebrate and we have so many reasons to be proud of what we have accomplished. But, there are also serious issues that continue to affect neighborhoods across the Chicago region we can’t ignore. Even though we’ve exceeded our LU2020 goals in education, the work is not done. We are going to use our proven strategies to continue the fight for a quality education for every student in every neighborhood across the region. But, change doesn’t happen alone—we need you.

The Education Challenge

Thank you to our generous partner Exelon for contributing $150,000 to the Education Challenge Grant.

Exelon will match a direct donation to our Education Initiative $1 to $1 up to a total of $150,000.

  • Helping children enter kindergarten ready to learn
  • Preparing underperforming middle school kids to enter high school ready to succeed