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Graduate from High School on Time

The first three education focus areas build toward high school graduation, a major milestone on the path to successful adulthood. Over their lifetime, high school graduates earn 74% more than those who drop out. High school graduation is the single most powerful predictor of whether a young person coming from generations of poverty will break the cycle.

United Way Worldwide is deeply involved in the work to combat the dropout crisis through two key partnerships - with America’s Promise, a leading national organization working on dropout prevention, and with the Ready by 21 Partnership, a national coalition dedicated to ensuring that all students are prepared for college and/or the world of work.

Many United Ways report working on high school graduation. This will enable us to identify, fuel and replicate best practices in this area more quickly.

Case Study: In Dallas, where 40% of Dallas School District freshman will not graduate, the United Way of Dallas created Destination Graduation as an impact strategy to boost graduation rates.

Partnering with more than 30 public, voluntary and corporate sector community partners, United Way developed an initiative customized for individual schools focusing on specific strategies and outcomes:

  • College preparation and SAT training
  • Parental involvement
  • Mentoring and counseling


At Samuell High School, the program paired nearly 100 students with adult mentors. As a result, 620 new students completed a Princeton Review Course.

Most importantly, program participants advanced to the next grade level at a rate 19% higher than that of peers not participating (2006-2007)

Additionally, their accomplishments increased the entire school promotion rate by 23%.