As a Teach For America corps member in the Mississippi Delta, Jay O’Toole noticed many of his peers struggling to find resources—both financial and operational—to help their students pay for college, build classroom libraries, and to take their students on field trips, especially trips beyond the boundaries of their local communities. He was convinced that corps members in all Teach For America regions were searching for ways both to provide more resources in the classroom and to go beyond classroom walls to enrich the their students’ education.
The Corps Member Education Foundation was established in 2003 to support educational opportunities for students of Teach For America corps members. During the Corps Member Education Foundation’s first year, two college scholarships were offered to graduating seniors in the Mississippi Delta. Since then, CMEF has more than doubled its revenue and the number of new programs launched by corps members each year.