Greenhouse Scholars Expands to Georgia

by LP Green, II

Greenhouse Scholars welcomes Bashel Lewis (l) and Amadou Bah (r) along with Charles Ellis (not pictured) as the first class of Scholars from Georgia. Alhassan Kamara (center) is a graduate of the program.

The launch of Greenhouse Scholars in Georgia signifies a new and unique opportunity for high performing college students from low-income, under-resourced backgrounds. The education non-profit provides comprehensive financial, intellectual, personal, and professional support to the next generation of leaders.

Headquartered in Colorado with an additional office in Illinois, Greenhouse Scholars launched in 2005 and has served nearly 180 students. Scholars are selected through a rigorous process based on academic achievement, service to community, demonstrated leadership skills, and financial need. The inaugural class of Scholars from Georgia includes three exceptional graduates of Atlanta Public Schools.

The generous support provided by local business and community leaders and organizations is critical to the program’s launch and success. As supporters of the organization they are catalysts for change in communities throughout Georgia, which is one of 17 states where a majority of public school students qualify for free or reduced lunch.

“Our family witnessed the impact that Greenhouse Scholars was making in Colorado,” said Dave Kirkpatrick of the Hampshire Foundation, who recognized a need and opportunity for Greenhouse Scholars in Georgia and initiated the organization’s expansion to the region. “The caliber of students is outstanding. These young men and women are difference makers; they possess incredible drive to succeed, even in the face of extreme hardships. They are a force for change in the world, and I hope to see our ability to support students from Georgia grow every year.”

Todd Smith of Morgan Stanley, and a champion for Greenhouse Scholars in Georgia, commented: “This is a model that has been refined over the past ten years in Colorado and Illinois. We have one year under our belt in Georgia and we have made great strides across all measurables. Our goal now is to create awareness with the funding community and go from 3 students in 2015 to 10 students with our 2016 class.”

Greenhouse Scholars’ Whole Person approach connects Scholars – 73 percent of whom are first generation to attend college – with mentors, professional networking contacts, internships, and numerous other resources to help them thrive and succeed in college and beyond.

Scholars maintain college GPAs 30 percent higher than their peers, leading to a 90 percent graduation rate as compared to the national average of 11 percent for low-income college students. Dedicated to giving back to their communities, more than 11,000 middle and high school students have been mentored by Greenhouse Scholars, and more than 170 community impact projects led by Scholars have been funded and supported by the organization.

“We’re thrilled to bring Greenhouse Scholars to Georgia,” commented Pete Burridge, President and CEO, Greenhouse Scholars. “Our first class of three Scholars is the beginning of our work to make a major impact on low-income communities in the state. With support from Dave Kirkpatrick, Catherine Powell, Michael Outlaw, Todd Smith, and Stockton Croft to name a few, we are confident in our ability to work together with business and community leaders to create positive change.”

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