Mayor Briley announces $450,000 in private sector donations to Nashville GRAD


Mayor David Briley announced today that a total of $450,000 in private sector donations have been given to the Nashville GRAD scholarship program to date, beating the program’s original fundraising goal of $300,000 by far. Lead donations include $100,000 each from AllianceBernstein (AB), HCA Healthcare and Piedmont Natural Gas.

Additional donations to date include $50,000 from Bank of America, $50,000 from the Tennessee Titans, $25,000 from Verizon, $25,000 from the Memorial Foundation, and in-kind assistance from Southwest Airlines. These private sector dollars complement the $1 million Mayor Briley designated for the program in his FY2020 budget. The Mayor is committed to raising the city’s funding for the program to $2.5 million annually moving forward.

“As our city continues to grow and prosper, I am committed to ensuring everyone who lives here benefits from our prosperity,” said Mayor Briley. “Seeing the private sector step up in such a big way is evidence that our community cares and that we want to see all Nashvillians succeed. I am deeply grateful for these generous donations, and I know it’s just the tip of the iceberg. I can’t wait to see this program change students’ lives in powerful ways.”

“I believe education is the gateway for social and economic mobility. It not only impacts the individual student but their families and our communities,” said Dr. Shanna L. Jackson, president of Nashville State Community College. “However, there are many barriers on the path to students completing their education and earning a degree at Nashville State. With the vision of Mayor Briley and the generous donations of our partners, we are excited about the game-changing, groundbreaking opportunities that Nashville GRAD will provide for students in Davidson County.”

Nashville GRAD: Getting Results by Advancing Degrees was started by Mayor Briley to provide financial assistance and mentoring for full-time students pursuing postsecondary degrees and credentials at Nashville State Community College (NSCC) or Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT).

“The Nashville GRAD program promises to be an engine of student success and economic growth in the city and Middle Tennessee,” said Seth Bernstein, President and CEO of AllianceBernstein. “AB believes it is important to have a positive impact in the communities where we live and work. We are excited to support this program, which will create a positive change in the lives of students in our home city.”

Nashville GRAD complements the State of Tennessee’s programs for tuition-free college, Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, by removing other financial barriers beyond tuition. Financial assistance covers expenses such as textbooks, transportation, childcare, tools and supplies, and industry certification fees. Nashville GRAD will also connect students to intensive academic and professional supports, such as academic and career advising, blocked course scheduling, and leadership development activities.

In March, HCA Healthcare contributed the first major private sector donation of $100,000 for Nashville GRAD.

“Nashville GRAD is an innovative partnership to improve college graduation rates and the quality of life for thousands of families while enhancing Nashville’s workforce,” said Sam Hazen, HCA Healthcare’s chief executive officer. “HCA Healthcare is proud to support Nashville GRAD as a complementary strategy to our work with the high school academies, and we appreciate Mayor Briley’s leadership on this important issue for our city.”

Nashville GRAD aims to increase the number of students successfully graduating from NSCC in three years to at least 50 percent and increase TCAT industry certifications to 66 percent by 2023.

“Piedmont Natural Gas is extremely proud to join AllianceBernstein and HCA Healthcare in funding such a needed and proven program for students,” said Stephen Francescon, Tennessee community relations manager for Piedmont Natural Gas and member of the Nashville State Community College Foundation Board of Trustees. “This type of community collaboration is essential for the longevity and success of the program, which will substantially address local workforce development needs, lead to improved student life and increase graduation rates.”

Nashville GRAD, to begin in fall 2019, will be implemented through a financial assistance fund, coordinated by the NSCC Foundation, that will include an annual financial commitment from Metro Government and, at full implementation, will serve more than 3,000 students each year.

Modeled after the highly successful evidence-based program Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) at the City University of New York (CUNY), Nashville GRAD has also received support from Bloomberg Associates for program design and implementation.

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