Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, executive director of UP Partnership, addresses a crowd during the 2018 Education Forum. Credit: Scott Ball / Rivard Report

UP Partnership, formerly P16 Plus Council of Greater Bexar County, announced at a luncheon with local educational officials Wednesday several grants that will support existing and new programs.

The organization, which brings together 175 community partners to work toward common educational goals, is celebrating a decade of serving the San Antonio area. P16 began locally in 2008 and was rebranded this year as UP Partnership, an abbreviation for “unlocking potential.”

Executive Director Ryan Lugalia-Hollon spoke to the growth of the organization by noting that when he joined in July 2017, he worked with a staff of nine and a total revenue of about $650,000. A little less than two years later, the staff size is the same, but the revenue is now about $1.7 million. Lugalia-Hollon said about 45 percent of that revenue goes back into the community toward UP’s partners.

In the past year, UP Partnership has secured more than $2 million in grants, including a $300,000 gift from the Charles Butt Foundation to bolster data analysis for future work with the Alamo Promise program. The data will track student progress and high school participation in the budding initiative, which aims to provide free tuition to Alamo Colleges for all graduating Bexar County high school seniors.

The money will go to “ensure we are able to not only have students cross the stage at high school graduation and achieve that milestone but perhaps help the 16,000 youth once they cross the stage,” Alamo Colleges Chancellor Mike Flores said.

Other grants announced Wednesday include:

  • $731,000 from Greater Texas Foundation to fund Guiding Pathways, an effort to improve access to high-quality dual credit.
  • $371,821 from StriveTogether to fund Our Tomorrow, a new program that will create a network of youth leaders and connect them to policymaking, and Rethinking Discipline, a program that will work to advance restorative justice.
  • $200,000 from USAA to fund a new “digital badging” project that will help connect students with city resources and record a students’ educational path in a digital portfolio.
  • $260,000 from San Antonio Area Foundation to fund Excel Beyond the Bell.

“Through a community-wide focus on postsecondary attainment and social and emotional growth, we are ensuring that all our young people are ready for their futures,” Lugalia-Hollon said.

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the Rivard Report.

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