Students in Birmingham often face a tough path to college and career. While roughly 80 percent of students graduate annually from Birmingham City Schools (BCS), many are experiencing poverty, and only 50 percent advance to post-secondary institutions. In response, the mayor has pledged that any BCS student who graduates will have the opportunity to attend a two- or four-year in-state school for no tuition. To deliver on this pledge, Birmingham has launched The Birmingham Promise, a nonprofit that provides tuition assistance for graduates and apprenticeships for high school juniors and seniors. The Promise’s first class of scholarship students has started college, two cohorts of students have completed apprenticeships, corporations have contributed roughly $4 million, and, during a pandemic, the city has fully honored its commitment to fund operations.

To continue to effectively and efficiently serve BCS students, Birmingham is partnering with FUSE Executive Fellow Marc Palmer to accelerate the development of the organization’s operating infrastructure. Marc will play a key role in helping the nonprofit execute its ambitious goals for years to come.