SAGA Innovations

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The phone call that doubled our programs in Chicago

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Antonio Gutierrez | Co-Founder

April 21, 2016

I got a life-changing phone call a few weeks ago. Not necessarily life-changing for me, but potentially for 1600 students in Chicago.

The caller was Liz Dozier from Chicago Beyond, a wonderful new non-profit dedicated to funding programs to help Chicago’s youth. Ms. Dozier wanted to let us know that her organization will contribute $4.5 million to help us nearly double our programs in Chicago Public Schools for the next two years.

Ms. Dozier knows a thing or two about changing lives. She’s the former principal at Fenger High School in Chicago, which received national attention for violence at the school as well as her successful efforts to turn the school around. Her new venture, Chicago Beyond, aims to take what she has learned at Fenger and apply it toward innovative efforts to keep students safe and help them achieve academic success.  

We’re thrilled to get this new high-profile endorsement. But we’re even more excited for what this investment means:

More students will get the help they need to success. For each of the next two years, an additional 800 students will benefit from SAGA’s high-dosage tutoring. That’s 1600 more opportunities to change the trajectory of a student’s life.

More proof that what we’re doing is working. SAGA was chosen for this funding because of our track record and our ability to dramatically improve academic performance. With Chicago Beyond, we’ll be providing more proof of our results, collaborating with the University of Chicago’s Urban Labs to measure the impact of our work and share findings about our successes with the world.

More – LOTS more – SAGA Fellows needed in Chicago next year. We need to hire another 60 Fellows in Chicago! For recent college grads, mid-life career changers and retirees looking for ways to give back: here’s an opportunity here to help change the world one student at a time. SAGA Fellows work for 10 months as part of a tight, high performing team in one of five Chicago high schools, receiving a stipend, healthcare and other benefits. Interested? Learn more here.

I see every day how our programs have a positive impact on so many lives – students, their families and our own SAGA Fellows. It’s great to know that other organizations like Chicago Beyond are seeing the same thing.

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