20 Dec 2021
Providence Promise increases enrollment, serves more families
The youngest participant enrolled in Providence Promise hasn’t taken the SATS, filled out a financial aid form or even toured a college campus.
The program’s youngest participant has yet to enter kindergarten. In fact, the youngest is just an infant. But when she is old enough to enter college, she will be financially ready.
That’s the mission behind Providence Promise, a parent-driven non-profit that provides a pathway to higher education for Providence’s public and charter school students. The program focuses on early planning for higher education (as early as birth) through college savings plans and family engagement.
Currently more than 1,000 students from low-income families living in the capital city participate in the program. The parents engage in workshops in key areas including financial literacy and learn how they can reduce the financial burden of higher education.
At the center of the program is the 529 college savings program. Participants are encouraged to open a 529 College Savings Account for each child and contribute an average of 1% of their gross annual household income. Providence Promise provides an initial contribution of $100 to each child’s account and provides opportunities for both families and children to earn additional incentives through the Early Scholarship Program.
In 2022 alone, families and students have earned more than $250,000 in Early Scholarships.
With support from the Papitto Opportunity Connection, Providence Promise was able to significantly increase the number of families it serves, add to its staff, and enhance its vast array of programming. “POC’s funding Providence Promise has been a game-changer for us,” said Madelyn Ciampi, executive director, Providence Promise. “We have been able to grow so many different aspects of our program, which has resulted in allowing us to serve more students and families.”
In just over a year since receiving funding from POC, PVD Promise has been able to:
– Increase its enrollment significantly. In 2022, PVD Providence welcomed 360 new students bringing its current total to well over 1,000 – a significant increase from 2021. The organization now works with 40 Providence Public Schools. 80 percent of those enrolled in Providence Promise are first generation college students while 25-30% are first generation high school students.
– Families and students have increased their college savings to more than $830,000 and have earned roughly $250,000 in Early Scholarships – a jump from $65,000 in 2021
– Triple the size of its mentorship program
– Add four full time staff persons.
– Implement a robust data management system that is used to track and share important information key to Providence Promise’s growth. The next step will be to add parent portal that will allow parents to monitor 529 college savings fund, track growth and contributions
– Partner with Providence College and Brown University and has engaged in family engagement and education classes at both schools
– Launch a Family Champions Program, which offers a $500 stipend to each participant. Providence Promise engaged 8 Family Champions in the pilot year. The Champions attend PTO and other school meetings and share the benefits of Providence Promise with the goal of increasing enrollment and continuously adding students to the program.
“I am super excited about all of the significant enhancements we have been able to achieve since receiving the generous funding from the Papitto Opportunity Connection,” said Ciampi. “We are so grateful for the support of POC and the opportunities the funding has empowered us to pursue.”
The non-profit organization serves underserved students and families in Providence, but Ciampi is hoping to expand to other cities and towns in the future.
“I’d love to see Providence Promise expand to other urban core cities – Central Falls, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket. The interest is there and now that we have built the program and solidified the foundation, it would be easy to replicate,” said Ciampi