On July 9, 2012, the Johns Hopkins School of Education Dean David Andrews presented the Hopkins Founders Award to Elizabeth Avery, Vice President for Governmental Affairs at the PepsiCo Foundation. The founders' award, a brass telescope symbolizing the important connection between vision, knowledge and education, recognizes our newest generation of visionaries. The PepsiCo Foundation has contributed a total of $11 million since 2008 to the Diplomas Now program, which is addressing high school dropout rates in select cities across the country. Piloted in 2008 and then formally launched in 2009 with PepsiCo funds, Diplomas Now combines the resources of City Year, Communities in Schools, and the Johns Hopkins Talent Development Secondary Program to help at-risk middle and high school students get back on track, graduate, and prepare for college and a career.
The program’s turnaround model hinges on research conducted by The Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools and the Philadelphia Education Fund which found that 75% of America’s high school dropouts can be identified between the sixth and ninth grades by monitoring indicators such as poor attendance, behavior, and failing grades in English or math. Diplomas Now monitors these indicators and responds at the first warning sign with interventions tailored to students’ needs. The program exceeded its goal of reducing off-track indicators by 25% among students in the schools where it was implemented in its first year.
The program is now operational in some 43 schools across the country including the city school districts in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, DC, Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, East Baton Rouge, San Antonio, Seattle and Los Angeles. The scale and the rigor of the evaluation attached to the DN i3 validation grant makes this effort extremely important in terms of its potential influence on how future public and private dollars will be invested in school improvement efforts nationwide.
In 1873, with a remarkable and unprecedented bequest of $7 million, Baltimore businessman Johns Hopkins created a University and Hospital that would forever change the face of higher education and medical care in America. In the 136 years since his passing, many donors have followed in his footsteps, giving with extraordinary generosity and dramatically advancing the work of the institutions he founded. To date, more than 122 philanthropists have given $7 million or more. To celebrate these transformational gifts, a Johns Hopkins Founders Wall was created and unveiled on May 2, 2009. The marble and brick structure is engraved with the names of those whose lifetime contributions total $7 million or more.