Trinity Hosts United Way National Education Town Hall

Trinity Hosts United Way National Education Town Hall

Trinity freshman Anastasia Broadus of Hagerstown, Maryland, welcomed more than 200 educators and nonprofit and business leaders gathered on Trinity’s campus for the United Way National Education Town Hall today.  Broadus told the audience that “I love being a Trinity student because my professors are committed to my education, because I am respected as an individual, and because everyone here is invested in my academic success.”  She then introduced CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who moderated the event.  In addition to Broadus, 15 Trinity students and four faculty members participated in the program, which was streamed live on the web.

Participants in the United Way Education Town Hall included U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan; Melody Barnes, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council; former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings; Alma Powell, co-chair of America’s Promise; Brian Gallagher, president and CEO of United Way Worldwide; Margaret McKenna, president of Walmart Foundation; Barry Salzberg, chief executive officer of Deloitte LLP; Gregory Taylor, vice president of program strategy at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation; Nnamdi Asomugha, NFL cornerback and founder, Asomugha College Tour for Scholars; and Patrick Corvington, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. The program was convened to address the challenges the nation faces in preparing children for success.

As part of the program, United Way Wordlwide, the nation’s largest, privately-funded nonprofit, released a report, “Voices for the Common Good: America Speaks Out on Education.”  The primary finding of the report is that when schools improve, communities improve. In response to the report findings, United Way CEO Gallagher announced a commitment to recruit one million volunteer readers, tutors and mentors for education.

“Few issues are as important as the national debate on our education systems, yet the voices of everyday people haven’t been part of the conversation,” said Gallagher. “United Way has been listening to the concerns of Americans across the country, and what we’re hearing is that they care deeply about the success of the schools and young people in their communities, and they want to be involved.”

In 2008, United Way announced a goal to cut by half the number of young people who drop out of high school by 2018. In the fall of 2010, United Ways around the country hosted “community conversations,” listening to everyday Americans to elicit ideas and ways to improve not only public schools, but communities at-large so that children of all economic backgrounds have the chance to succeed.

Major sponsorship for the report and Town Hall was provided by the Walmart Foundation, Deloitte and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Microsoft Corporation donated the software, expertise and funds to create the online aspects of the Town Hall.

Trinity students with NFL player Nnamdi Asomugha.