Project Grad Knoxville calls for community support in Grad 2020 program


Project GRAD Knoxville is asking you to give to their program, “Grad 2020” a boost through the end of this year so they can continue to help school-aged students achieve their academic dreams.

WATE 6 On Your Side sat down with Project GRAD Knoxville’s executive director Ronni Chandler and GRAD alumna Alexandria Mitchell to talk about what the program means and how GRAD helps students.  

Project GRAD is a public-private partnership with Knox County Schools that was started in 2001 to improve the graduation rates in our inner-city schools.

“So from the very beginning, we have depended on public funds and private donations – from folks just like you – business owners, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, successful GRAD alums,” said Chandler. “People who care about our children and our community to help us break down the barriers for the 7,000-plus students we serve each year in Knoxville’s 14 inner-city schools so more of our students are graduating from high school, going on to complete some form or higher education, breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and going on to build better lives for themselves and for future generations.”

Mitchell, an Austin-East High School graduate who is currently pursuing her master’s degree in counseling, said she wouldn’t be in the place she is in today if not for Project GRAD Knoxville.

The programs they have for students from kindergarten on up, as well as family support and college bound support, truly do work. 

But it takes considerable funding for those programs – and the students they assist – to continue to see success. 

The latest campaign – to fund the anticipated gap year expected in the 2019-2020 school year. 

Grad 2020, a grassroots effort Project GRAD Knoxville is heading up, has a goal to get 2,020 supporters donate in any amount by Dec. 31 to address a funding gap anticipated by school year 2019-2020 and have supporters ask 20 of their friends to do the same.

Donations can be made at the Project GRAD Knoxville’s website, via check, or on the phone, according to Chandler. 

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