My background has given me some perspective on the value of education and tremendous appreciation for the importance of providing children access to quality teachers and safe learning environments. I grew up in a family of seven children. My father was a night custodian at our local city hall and my mother was busy full-time raising kids and maintaining the household. Education was not a focal point in my family or my community. My high school had a 40% drop out rate and fewer than 10% of graduates went to a four-year college. Of my six siblings, three did not finish high school and only two went to college. I was fortunate to be one of the two. To say education changed my life is an understatement. The path my younger brother and I chose not only directly changed our own lives, it dramatically reshaped the course of future generations. We both took the first step in breaking the cycle, at least for our own families.
The educational system in the US has material challenges and, unfortunately, most are not being adequately addressed. To put it simply, we have a massive supply/demand imbalance when it comes to education—generally speaking, there is far more demand for quality educational services than there is supply. The BASIC Fund stands out as an organization finding ways to address this imbalance and provide thousands of families access to quality educational opportunities. The model has found quirky inefficiencies in the supply/demand imbalance—places in the system where excess demand is otherwise unable to find available supply. The BASIC Fund not only efficiently matches this demand with supply, but provides the necessary funds to make it work for both the family and the school. The result is that thousands of families are able to begin bridging the gap in educational inequality that low-income families often face. This work has tremendous value to our families, our communities and our country.
My wife and I have been fortunate in many ways over the years and we have felt a real duty to support organizations that make a difference. There is no greater cause than improving a child’s access to an educational experience that will change their life. For me, that happened in college. For BASIC Fund students, it can happen at a much earlier age and have a much more profound impact on their lives. This is not about just helping these students test better or stay in school longer—it is about giving them the opportunity to set ambitious goals for themselves and providing the tools to achieve those goals. The end-game is not simply to graduate from high school (though that is important!), the end-game is to put these children in a position to define their own success and to be empowered to pursue it. For my wife and me, this is a noble cause, and it is why we are enthusiastic supporters of the BASIC Fund.