Oregon's Stand for Children Leadership Center (Stand) and the New York City-based Education Equality Project (EEP) have announced that they are to join forces and focus on improving public schools and close achievement gaps across America.
The two education organizations have come together to engage communities and ensure all students graduate high school with the skills and opportunities they need to succeed.
Three new board members join Stand as part of the deal: Michael Lomax, Phil Handy and Grammy winning recording artist and philanthropist John Legend.
Legend, who was named one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people, has posted a video talking about why he has joined Stand for Children.
Dr. Michael Lomax, Co-Chair of the EEP Board of Directors and President and CEO of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), said:
"Years ago, Stand for Children Leadership Center blazed a trail when it made community organizing and local movements the center of its program. EEP is now joining forces with Stand in order to make the greatest impact in communities of color. Their grassroots structure allows us to connect our leaders and advocates with community-based leaders and advocates, and to work together on policies that will improve graduation rates, transform schools and close the achievement gap."
Since its founding in 2008, the Education Equality Project has convened a diverse group of influential leaders from around the country to find a solution to close the achievement gap. EEP has used strategic media, research, advocacy, and social media to attract leaders from communities of color, education experts, elected leaders, policy experts and a support community of over 70,000 individuals.
In 2010, Stand helped facilitate landmark legislation to improve public education in six states.
Working together, Stand and EEP intend reach a broader scope of communities, helping more disadvantaged students graduate from high school ready for post-secondary education.
"I deeply respect the leadership of EEP's outstanding Board of Directors and the key contributions EEP has made in advancing the national debate about the urgent need to close our country's achievement gap," said Eliza Leighton, Co-founder of Stand for Children and board chair, Stand for Children Leadership Center.
The organization believes there are millions of children in the country who are not receiving the education they deserve — and the collaboration is committed to changing this.