Happy 20th Anniversary, New Jersey SEEDS!
Dear Friends of SEEDS,
Welcome to New Jersey SEEDS' 20th anniversary year. It was 1992 when a small group of innovators confronted the profound lack of opportunity for students in the state's least privileged urban school districts. Uniting the education, business and independent school sectors, they believed they could shatter conventional stereotypes and create a mechanism through which inner city students would thrive.
For two decades, the organization they founded has created extraordinary educational access for highly-motivated students who might otherwise not have had the chance to break out of their economic circumstances and excel. Each of SEEDS' achievements is human: a student, a parent, a family or a school transformed by this life changing opportunity. But the larger story can be captured by numbers:
- 1,630 students have now graduated from SEEDS' academic programs. 1,000 are continuing their studies in independent schools and colleges; over 600 are in graduate school or contributing their talents in the workforce.
- SEEDS' families have an average annual income of approximately $36,000. To make an exceptional education available to them, in the past six years alone, SEEDS has leveraged $90,491,372 in financial aid from the independent school community.
- The average SEEDS Scholar's combined SAT score is more than 400 points higher than that of the average student in the high schools they might have attended.
- Two-thirds of SEEDS Scholars go on to attend "Most Competitive" or "Highly Competitive" colleges and universities. Eleven percent of our Scholars have attended Ivy League schools.
- Competition for entry to SEEDS' programming is intense. Last year, we received more than 600 applications for just 120 spots in our Scholars and Young Scholars programs.
Leading Change, a 20th Anniversary Celebration
No major milestone would be complete without a celebration. This year, SEEDS is planning Leading Change, a fabulous benefit dinner, with three goals in mind: to honor those transformational leaders at the forefront of organizations and institutions that make economic mobility possible; to recognize the remarkable visionaries who built New Jersey SEEDS on the dream of educational equity; and to raise funds to support the coming year's NJ SEEDS students.
Please plan to join us on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, at Maritime Parc in Jersey City. We can promise extraordinary views across the Hudson, exceptional food prepared by a widely-heralded chef, an auction of incomparable experiences, and a wonderfully inspiring evening.
Looking Toward the Future
While 20 years have passed since our founding, SEEDS continues to address a critical statewide need. Currently, low-income students in New Jersey's poorest urban districts have only a minimal chance of long-term educational success. Dropout rates are as high as 70 percent. Fewer than six percent of those who remain in high school achieve combined mathematics and verbal scores higher than 900 on the SATs. Among the highest achieving students nationwide, one-third of those in the lowest socioeconomic group do not attend college at all. According to The Economic Mobility Project, without a college degree, almost half of all children with parents in the lowest income quintile will remain in that bottom quintile. For students born into low-income families, the key to economic success is access to higher education.
It is a privilege to be part of an organization that has been - and will continue to be - committed to providing the knowledge, skills, access and support to those students enrolled in our programs so they can excel side by side with their independent school peers. We strive for a world in which young people's initiative, creativity and intellect can flourish without regard to socioeconomic status, and we are dedicated to supporting their success.
Here's to another twenty years of growth and achievement!