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Ten weeks ago, like so many other organizations, Achieve Atlanta shut our physical office and retreated into our homes to shelter-in-place. As our Achieve Atlanta Scholars fled their colleges and came back home, we responded to the crisis and re-prioritized our work to support them. As they always do, our students rose to the challenge.

This week, Atlanta Public Schools completed its school year and thousands of high school seniors celebrated their graduations. College students also wrapped up their semesters. With the achievement of this important and hard-won milestone, and as we all take a moment to breathe and prepare for the work ahead, we want to take a moment to say thank you.

Thank you for the ongoing support and the individual notes of encouragement that so many of you have sent in response to our weekly updates. They have given us strength and inspiration to continue to fight for the day when Atlanta is no longer a city where race and income predict postsecondary success and upward mobility.

Over the last 10 weeks, we’ve seen individuals and organizations respond boldly and set aside policies and practices that don’t serve a greater good. We have witnessed what’s possible. As we are tempted to go back to the old ways and accept that there will always be winners and losers in our society, we must resist. There’s just too much work to do, and we can no longer be satisfied with halfhearted efforts and incremental gains.

As a parting reflection (for the time being), I want to share a poem by Rumi, which captures what’s in my heart today.


Not Here

There's courage involved if you want
to become truth.

There is a broken-open place in a lover.

Where are those qualities of bravery and
sharp compassion in this group? What's the
use of old and frozen thought?

I want a Howling hurt. This is not a treasury
where gold is stored; this is for copper.

We alchemists look for talent that
can heat up and change.

Lukewarm won't do. Halfhearted holding back,
well-enough getting by? Not here.

Thank you to all those who hold tight to bravery and compassion. May we all be willing to break ourselves open to give our young people what they need to succeed.          

Today’s newsletter will be our final in our Coronavirus Updates, but we will return late summer and look forward to sharing what our Scholars are up to as they prepare for a new school year that will likely be different than any we’ve seen in our lifetime.

In the meantime, stay healthy and be well.


With love,


This week, our team coordinated College Nights so that future Scholars could connect with their advisors and college representatives. You can learn more about our virtual Scholar Night and College Nights and watch the video replays here.
We plan to mail our Achieve Atlanta Graduates a special surprise to acknowledge and celebrate their major achievement. Today, we celebrate Alexes Harris and Bre Jones, Achieve Atlanta Graduates.
Alexes graduated from The George Washington University with her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing and English. Next, she plans to teach in Northeast Washington, D.C. while earning her master's degree. She graduated from South Atlanta High School. 
Bre graduated from the University of West Georgia with her bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications. While in college, she grew her photography and videography company, ShotByBre. Next, Bre plans to work in the film industry, potentially at Tyler Perry Studios. She graduated from Grady High School.
Congratulations, Alexes and Bre! We will continue to spotlight our Achieve Atlanta Graduates over the coming weeks on social media.
We joined APS this week in celebrating all graduates through virtual ceremonies for each high school. You can view the virtual ceremony recordings here and see a few exciting posts from APS seniors below. You can view additional posts on our Instagram page. Please support us as we encourage seniors to apply for the Achieve Atlanta Scholarship by May 31st. To date, we have received 1,357 scholarship applications! 
Our emergency grants program has been a highlight of our work over the last 10 weeks. The grants have supported students through financial emergencies and allowed them to persist and graduate this semester. To date, we have received 600 emergency grant applications and have awarded almost $187,000 to Scholars with financial emergencies.
Some of the trends we have noticed:
  • When the COVID-19 crisis first began in the U.S., grants were primarily for moving expenses, food, and technology. 
  • The next few weeks were largely housing and utilities expenses.
  • The last few weeks have been a mix of expenses. With a longer period of unemployment, Scholars and families are struggling to keep up with ongoing bills that they can no longer make payments on, and students are starting to return back to college towns to pick up their belongings.

We are thankful for the donations that many of you have made to support this fund. If you’d like to support Achieve Atlanta Scholars during this time, you can donate here.

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Achieve Atlanta · 191 Peachtree St NE Ste 1000 · Atlanta, GA 30303-1741 · USA