Since our inception in 2003, the Corps Member Education Foundation (CMEF) has grown steadily. By the end of our first year, we created our own entity by incorporating and receiving approval for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. CMEF began by offering two graduating seniors from the Mississippi Delta college scholarships and five years later sponsors field trips to our nation’s capital and Honduras, continues to raise money for college scholarships, and enables Teach For America corps members to buy much needed classroom supplies.
CMEF has learned much over the past five years. Despite what we have been able to accomplish, we know we can offer more support, raise more funds, and help give students in low-income communities the educational opportunities they deserve. To help guide our actions and reach our goals, we established an ambitious plan.
Priority 1: Establish at least one CMEF program in each of Teach For America’s regions
Our greatest strength is the strong network of Teach For America corps members, current and alumni, which share their hopes, dreams, and positive experiences with each other. As more corps members learn about the services CMEF offers, the greater impact we will have. Each Teach For America corps member who has started a program through CMEF heard about us from another corps member.
Priority 2: Provide rubrics, exemplars, and templates to help replicate past successes
When we ask corps members to share with us their aspirations, we continually hear about big goals and dreams, whether they be to raise enough money to pay for their students’ college tuition or to plan field trips to our nation’s capital. During these conversations we also hear one common phrase: “…but I just do not know where to begin.”
Teach For America corps members are devoted first and foremost to their students’ classroom education. This means hours of lesson planning, writing individual education plans, grading, tutoring after school, and calling and visiting student homes. We believe that providing Teach For America corps members easy-to-use and effective tools for planning and executing the various tasks necessary to achieve their big goals, more students growing up in low-income communities will be offered the opportunities generally taken-for-granted in higher-income communities.
Priority 3: Build an endowment to ensure the CMEF legacy
While CMEF has seen substantial growth and progress in both the number of programs offered and the contributions made by our generous donors, we still operate on a program to program basis. To ensure CMEF will always be available to help provide students growing up in low-income communities the educational opportunities they deserve, we hope to build a modest $100,000 endowment by 2012.