Goizueta Grad Invests in Young Students
Middle school is a difficult time for many students, but for those who face additional challenges in their homes and communities it can be the most critical time of their lives.
To improve the academic performance of middle school students and boost their chances for success, New York business leader Rick Rieder 83B has made a $1 million gift to Emory University to help create a program that will address academic and community issues to lower high-school dropout rates.
Graduation Generation Atlanta, which is administered through the University’s Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) and the Atlanta nonprofit Communities In Schools, was formulated by a group of community builders from higher education; philanthropic foundations; national, state, and local nonprofit agencies; and public schools. These partners are focusing on factors within the school setting, notably the engagement of parents, as well as factors within students’ communities. This holistic approach acknowledges the links between academic success and where and how children learn and live.
“We have a window in our society today to do something very special, given the current level of support for education at the national, state, and local government levels. We have the opportunity to develop the talent of so many of our kids who otherwise may not have had a fighting chance to succeed,” Rieder says.
“This is the most exciting thing that we can do as a collective community. We will win at this. The only question is on how large a scale. I am thrilled to be a part of this effort and have grand hopes for what we can ultimately accomplish.”
Rieder, chief investment officer of fixed income for fundamental portfolios with BlackRock, an assets and investments management firm, is a member of the Emory University Board of Trustees and the National Leadership Council of Communities In Schools. Passionate about urban educational improvement in the United States, he also chairs the board of trustees of North Star Academy Charter School of Newark. In 2005 he received the Goizueta Business School Distinguished Alumni award.
Graduation Generation Atlanta will begin in Atlanta’s Edgewood community, which—like many urban communities—has been hard-hit by the economic downturn yet has strong foundations and assets. Sammye E. Coan Middle School, part of Atlanta Public Schools, will be the center of much activity, with the intention to bolster Coan students’ success both in middle school and high school.
“This gift helps to forge a relationship between OUCP and Communities In Schools and to strengthen relationships each has established in local communities and with local schools,” says Emory Provost Earl Lewis. “The program it supports will benefit students in the adjacent neighborhood and Emory students and faculty who participate in the partnership. We thank Rick for his commitment to the dream we all share.”