• By Degrees Foundation

Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation receives national award for excellence in educational access

Des Moines, IA – The Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation has received the 2017 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Award for Excellence in Educational Access from the National Partnership for Educational Access.

The Award, sponsored by the Cooke Foundation, recognizes excellence in supporting underrepresented students on the path to and through college, and for demonstrating:

  • effective practices in supporting underrepresented students;

  • commitment to using data to inform and improve programming and practices;

  • support for students’ personal growth and success;

  • a commitment to sustainability and long-term success;

  • leadership in the community;

  • and creative problem-solving and innovation in meeting the needs of their constituents.

The Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation was recognized for its Dreamer Academy program at Findley Elementary and Harding Middle School, which provides long-term, integrated support for students and families starting in elementary school and continuing to and through postsecondary education. Through the Dreamer Academy, the Des Moines I Have a Dream Foundation works in partnership with public schools, and builds a strong culture of college and careers for underserved students at an early age.

From its unique college savings account program (offering students a chance to earn money into college savings accounts starting in kindergarten), to its coordination of more than 35 partner organizations, businesses, and higher education institutions, the Dreamer Academy is strengthening the educational outcomes for its partner schools and elevating the value of education for over 500 students in Des Moines.

"The Cooke Foundation has a long record of providing grants to community-based organizations that open up equal educational opportunities to underrepresented students," said Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy. "We want this award to recognize an organization doing an outstanding job expanding college access for students who have financial need, and to encourage more organizations to join the effort. Our moral obligation as Americans is to provide the best education possible for our young people, and we need to develop their talents and brainpower to the fullest extent possible in our own self-interest, because our quality of life, our national security, and the future of our planet depend on it."

The Award was announced at the national NPEA Conference, Journeys to Success: Equity and Access for All Students in Boston, MA on April 7. For more information about the conference and the Award nominations process, please visit: www.educationalaccess.org/conference.php.


The National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) provides a learning network for organizations and schools across the country that serve underrepresented students to ensure enrollment in and graduation from college. Through professional development, collaboration, and the dissemination of best practices, NPEA is working toward the day when all students have equal access to high-quality education and opportunities for college and beyond. For more information, please visit: http://www.educational-access.org/.


The Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the foundation has provided over $152 million in scholarships to nearly 2,200 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The foundation has also awarded over $90 million in grants to organizations that serve such students. Learn more at www.jkcf.org.


We recognize the transformational impact incremental changes can make on a student’s life. Partnering with entire schools, we work to increase high school graduation and postsecondary readiness rates while engaging community partnerships to uplift students, families, and whole neighborhoods.


mailing: PO Box 41070

Des Moines, IA 50311




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