July 19, 2024


El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

IE’s Growing Inland Achievement is among six organizations receiving $100 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate institutional transformation

2 min read

Growing Inland Achievement is receiving over $9 million to help close the education attainment gap for minorities in the Inland Empire, which will help the economic welfare of the region in the years to come.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced a $100 million donation to six intermediary organizations in the nation to lead transformation efforts at more than 250 U.S. colleges and universities over the next five years, and Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) is one of the beneficiaries.

“Approximately $9.5M of the Foundation’s total $100M investment will flow directly to the Inland Empire to support student success efforts at Riverside County and San Bernardino County higher education institutions,” said Director of Communications Jacob Poore. 

GIA’s governing board, which includes the likes of San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools Ted Alejandre, CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales, and San Bernardino Community College District Chancellor Diana Z. Rodriguez, will begin looking into rolling out funds to its partner institutions this fall. 

“These funds are putting money into action and helping GIA to identify ways that we can scale these best practices across the nation to do a better job with our systems of education and help increase enrollment of Latinx, Black and Indigenous students in the Inland Empire,” continued Poore. 

The organization says that the funds will accelerate student success programs that are already taking place at colleges and universities in the region. 

“To succeed in this work, we must meet colleges and universities where they are in their student success journeys and dig deep into root causes contributing to inequities for historically marginalized populations,” says Dr. Carlos Ayala, President & CEO of GIA. “The support from the Gates Foundation is significant and empowers our regional educational network to accelerate and advance student success strategies that align with our shared vision of eliminating race and socioeconomic status as predictors of educational success.”

According to GIA research, 100 percent of the 18 public and private, 2-yr, and 4-yr degree-granting institutions are Hispanic­ serving institutions across San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Three of the 18 are Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-serving institutions. The total postsecondary student population served is 231,023, with a median Pell eligibility of 53 percent, ranging between 29 percent and 67 percent. 

“We have the lowest educational attainment in the Inland Empire, but we know the talent is undoubtedly here. So we need to do a better job with our education systems,” Poore said. 

The foundation chose its six intermediaries by evaluating how well they understand root causes driving the need for institutional transformation, such as financial sustainability or student success gaps, including the likelihood an intermediary’s approach could push large-scale changes, the likelihood changes will last and whether the organization is equity-focused.

“We will work with campuses to develop customized supports catered uniquely to each institution,” said Ann Marie Sakrekoff, COO of GIA. “We also hope institutions will take advantage of the opportunity to work in cohorts to share promising practices and learn together.”

To learn more about GIA, visit inlandempiregia.org.


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