Million Dollar Grant Awarded to Prosper Waco for Project Link

Two years ago, The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation, under the leadership of executive director Tom Stanton, began an initiative to enhance college and career counseling for Waco-area high school students. Over the course of many months, a group of more than 30 individuals (including counselors, administrators, superintendents, and college presidents) participated in crafting a proposal to increase the number of counselors available to students at both the high school and college levels.

The goal of the program, named Project Link, is to ensure that more students have the opportunity to develop personal relationships with professionals who are focused exclusively on the process of supporting them through high school and ensuring a seamless transition to college, where they will receive continued support. To achieve this, Project Link will provide staff at local high schools as well as MCC and TSTC to ensure that students have a coach and cheerleader from ninth grade through college. Ultimately, the grant is intended to increase college enrollment and success among Waco-area students.

As Project Link was finalized, it became clear that Prosper Waco could contribute to this collaborative project by helping to meet the Rapoport Foundation board’s requirements for measurement and accountability across the multiple organizations involved in the grant. As the Project Link grantee, Prosper Waco will provide oversight of the project’s implementation and will track data and outcomes and report to Rapoport Foundation.

100% of grant funds will be passed to TSTC, the grant’s fiscal agent, to support grant activities at University High School, La Vega High School, McLennan Community College (MCC) and Texas State Technical College-Waco (TSTC).

The board of Prosper Waco is pleased to accept this important role for Project Link. Collective impact requires diverse organizations to work collaboratively to solve big-picture challenges like increasing the rate of post-secondary success for Waco-area students. It also requires a backbone organization to help coordinate activities, track outcomes, and communicate progress. Prosper Waco is proud to advance collaborative, results-oriented work like Project Link.

    More about Project Link:

  • Prosper Waco will pass 100% of grant funds to TSTC, the grant’s fiscal and managing agent. Prosper Waco accepts responsibility for grant oversight and the tracking and reporting of outcomes.
  • TSTC will employ a Project Link Coordinator to manage grant operations on a day-to-day basis.
  • University High School will employ two trained liaisons to work with students to prepare for college beginning in ninth grade. La Vega High School will employ one liaison for students on that campus.
  • MCC and TSTC will each employ a liaison who will coordinate with the high school liaisons to ensure a smooth transition and continued support for Project Link students at the college level.
  • Waco ISD will provide intensive training and support for liaisons to ensure that students are adequately supported from the very beginning.

While future projects supported by Prosper Waco will be those that develop out of the collective impact process and are aligned to the community goals established by our steering committees, Project Link is an example of the type of collaborative, metrics-driven project that will result from our work together. We look forward to working with partners throughout Waco to help develop and support innovative solutions to our community’s needs through a collective impact approach.

Watch the Project Link news conference held at La Vega High School

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