DALLAS, Nov. 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- To commemorate Native American Heritage Month, AT&T is furthering its commitment to Indian Country with more than $1 million dollars in contributions to connect Native youth to education that leads them to the 21st century workforce. The contribution includes $600,000 to the American Indian College Fund (College Fund) and $450,000 to George Washington University (GW).
For the past 23 years, AT&T has set out to help Native American students graduate from high school and get to college. Native Americans have the lowest high school graduation rates of any demographic in this country. To combat this, AT&T contributed $7.5 million over the last 5 years to support education in the Native community.
This more than $1 million contribution will build on the company's long history of support for the communities of Indian Country.
- The goal of the College Fund is to increase the number of American Indian students who graduate from high school. They also aim to grow a college-going culture among Native American students.
- The contribution will serve about 700 Native students at 3 tribal colleges (TCUs) and local high schools in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Arizona.
- Working with TCUs will connect Native students to programs and supportive services. These help them finish high school, pursue higher education, and thrive in the 21st century knowledge economy.
- GW will establish AT&T Center for Indigenous Politics and Policy, its first-ever politics and public policy center dedicated to indigenous learnings.
- The GW Native American Political Leadership Program will continue to provide a semester in Washington, D.C. for Native American college students.
- The AT&T sponsored GW Native American INSPIRE Pre-College Program is a full scholarship open to Native American high school students. They spend 3 weeks on the GW campus to learn about relations between tribal governments and the federal government.
"American Indians face many unique challenges to getting an education. And Native youth experience some of the lowest high school graduation rates nationwide," said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO, American Indian College Fund. "This continued support from our longtime collaborator, AT&T, will allow the College Fund to help more students get a high school diploma and access postsecondary education alongside opportunities to learn about their language, culture and history."
"We're excited to establish a unique center in Washington, D. C., to study Native American politics and policy, and we are grateful for AT&T's support," said Ali Eskandarian, dean of GW's College of Professional Studies. "This is an important opportunity for the university in its continued commitment to diversity."
The Native high school graduation rate in 2013-14 was 69.6 percent, the lowest high school graduation rate of any demographic in this country. The national high school graduation rate was 82.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics. The contribution from AT&T seeks to help Native students overcome these barriers.
Other examples of the company's commitment to enhancing the education and quality of life for Native American youth include:
- Murrow Indian Children's Home, a program that recruits inter-tribal elders and trains them to serve as foster grandparents and cultural mentors to children living at the Murrow Indian Children's Home in Muskogee, Okla.
- The College Fund internship program worked with AT&T to identify and recruit candidates from tribal colleges and universities for internships for the summer of 2016. The company is currently seeking 2017 interns.
- Seminole State College's President's Leadership Class provides freshmen and sophomore students educational and cultural experiences to better prepare them for the workforce upon college graduation.
- Project Circle Teacher helps low-income Native American high school students at reservation schools receive instruction in mathematics.
- Crazy Horse Memorial Foundation in South Dakota funds books and school supplies for graduates of the Indian University of North America Summer Program.
- National Center for American Indian Organizations works to advance the economic interests of Indian Country.
- Oyate Networking Project on the Pine Ridge Reservation to help fund school supplies for 500 Native American students.
"AT&T has a long history of supporting Indian Country, and we're proud to be a part of initiatives that are improving Native communities' quality of life by creating the leaders and workforce of tomorrow," said Tom Brooks, vice president of external affairs, AT&T. "The latest contributions continue AT&T's commitment to supporting and connecting Native American communities and building a diverse pipeline of tech talent."
About the American Indian College Fund
Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund (the College Fund) has been the nation's largest provider of support for American Indian higher education for more than 25 years. The College Fund provides an average of 6,000 scholarships annually and innovative programs and support for the nation's 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities which are located on or near Indian reservations. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators. For more information, please visit www.collegefund.org.
About the George Washington University Native American Political Leadership Program
The GW Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) is a full scholarship for Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian students who want to take part in Semester in Washington Politics. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students, including those who have completed their undergraduate degree but have not yet enrolled in a graduate program. NAPLP is made possible by a generous grant from the AT&T Foundation. NAPLP scholarships are awarded to students based on academic ability, leadership potential, and an interest in politics. Students from all tribes and from every part of the United States are welcome to apply. There is no application fee for those applying for the NAPLP scholarship.
The George Washington University's Native American Political Leadership Program (NAPLP) and the INSPIRE Pre-College Program provide one-of-a-kind opportunities for college and high school students to explore academic interests at a top research university. Challenging credit courses are enriched by the intellectual and cultural resources of Washington, DC and taught by GW faculty and field experts.
As part of their experience in these programs, participants have the opportunity to meet with influential Native advocates who live and work in Washington, D.C. NAPLP and INSPIRE's goal is to familiarize upcoming Native youth leaders with essential concepts of American politics and intergovernmental relations, so they may have a clear path as they begin to plan their careers in politics, advocacy and community organizing.
The Center for Indigenous Politics & Policy (CIPP) creates the mechanism for researching issues, assisting and providing support to tribal leaders, and promoting public awareness on issues of national political significance to indigenous communities including public health, adequate housing, economic security, and education.
About Philanthropy & Social Innovation at AT&T
AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its community initiatives, AT&T has a long history of investing in projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; or address community needs. AT&T Aspire is AT&T's signature philanthropic initiative that drives innovation in education by bringing diverse resources to bear on the issue including funding, technology, employee volunteerism, and mentoring. Through Aspire, we've passed the $250 million mark on our plan to invest $350 million in education from 2008-2017.
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SOURCE AT&T Inc.