WHO WE ARE
WE HAVE A NEW NAME
Since 1990, we've been a 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to helping more Des Moines students graduate from high school ready to pursue postsecondary education and fulfilling careers.
Our name recently changed, but our mission and programing remains the same.
BY DEGREES FOUNDATION
We chose By Degrees because it reinforces our belief that changing the trajectory of students' paths by just a few degrees can have a transformational impact on their futures. The name also aligns with our mission to serve our community as a local and independent nonprofit focused on a future-ready approach to education.
HOW DO WE
We believe education is a community effort, and we know it's much more than what happens in the classroom. That's why we support whole schools, families, and neighborhoods. Our work begins in kindergarten and follows students to and through high school graduation, ensuring they're prepared for postsecondary education and careers.
Through the years,
our goal has remained the same:
Ensure more students graduate from high school with the tools necessary to be successful in postsecondary education and careers.
We began in 1990 as the Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation, operating with a single cohort model. During our first 24 years, we partnered with three Dreamer classes serving over 150 Des Moines students and their families across the city.
In 2014, we expanded our programming to an entire elementary school. With this approach, we began building a strong culture of postsecondary education and careers at Findley Elementary on Des Moines' northeast side, and have since moved into Harding Middle with plans to expand into North High during the 2019-2020 school year. All students at our partner schools are part of our program and benefit from the school, family, and neighborhood resources we provide. This whole-school, in-school model takes what we know works best for small cohorts of students and works to uplift entire communities, using education and partnerships with best-in-class nonprofits, businesses, and community organizations. We follow our students up to and through high school graduation, making our approach to school the norm in K-12 education.
After a successful 28-year run as the Des Moines "I Have a Dream" Foundation, we rebranded our organization in December of 2018 and are now the By Degrees Foundation. With this move, we have become an entirely local nonprofit committed to making systemic changes in the schools and neighborhoods we serve. Our programming and core mission has remained the same.