united way of greater chattanooga

Graduation Programs

You’ve got to learn to graduate, and you’ve got to graduate to earn. These programs partner with our local school systems and other long-time program partners to help kids stay on track for graduation via academic support and quality out-of-school time partner programs.

Chattanooga 2.0

Chattanooga 2.0 is not just an incremental improvement to the current model, it’s a community-led movement to create our future by transforming and upgrading the education and workforce opportunities inHamilton County. It is a group of education, business, and community leaders who joined together and released a report identifying  workforce challenges as well assignificant educational opportunities for Hamilton County and the region.

Led by the Benwood Foundation, the Chattanooga Area Chamberof Commerce, the Hamilton County Department of Education, and the PublicEducation Foundation (PEF), this joint effort was started to ensure localstudents are successful in school and prepared for meaningful careers, and to set forth on a plan to ensure that 75 percent of all Hamilton County high school graduates successfully obtain a college degree or technical certification by the year 2025.  United Way CEO Lesley Stiles Scearce is a member of the core steering committee and is leading the Early Education workgroup.

Chattanooga Mentoring Collective

By its definition, few people “have got your back” more than a mentor, and the Chattanooga Mentoring Collective assembles, encourages, and coordinates efforts to create mentoring resources and opportunities for all children in Hamilton County.  Its objective is to assure that safe, effective, sustainable mentoring relationships exist for all youth in Chattanooga and Hamilton County, and to guide them in finding a positive path toward a healthy, thriving                                                                                                           life as an adult. 

With almost 400 students on a waiting list for a mentor, part of the Mentoring Collective's short term goal is to recruit the volunteers needed to mentor these kids. If you want to mentor a child or are willing to help recruit more mentors, please visit or share this website www.MentorChatt.org. You can also callElizabeth Tallman at 423.752.0307 for more information. 


YQPI (Youth Quality Program Initiative)

Kids don’t spend the whole day in school, so how are they spending their time out of school? Passively or productively? Many attend after-school programs. And to assure these kids have access to the high-quality youth programs that keep them on track for success they need, out-of-school time programs partnered with United Way use the Youth Quality ProgramAssessment. The YQPI evaluates the quality of youth experiences, helps programs identify areas to strengthen, and builds staff professional competencies.

Safe environment, Supportive environment, Interaction, Engagement, Access, Youth-centered policies and practices, High expectationsfor youth and staff, and Availability of caring adults in kids’ lives are among the criteria included. Please call Elizabeth Tallman at 423.752.0307 for more information.


GradNation is a large and growing movement of dedicated individuals, organizations, and communities working together to end America’s dropout crisis. In 2010, America’s Promise Alliance launched the GradNation campaign, building on 105 dropout prevention summits convened across the country to raise awareness and inspire action. One of these summits was held here by United Way and the Hamilton County Department of Education in July of 2015, and helped to bring together or inspire many current local programs in which UnitedWay is a leading partner. 

The current national on-time high school graduation rate is 82.3 percent. GradNation campaign's goal is 90 percent by 2020, with no school graduating fewer than 80 percent of its students on-time. GradNation also aims to encourage dramatic increases in postsecondary enrollment and graduation.


Early Intervention 

In today’s era of data-driven education reform, early intervention is on the cutting edge of how schools, students, educators, and communities can use data to help children achieve success.  Early intervention helps address one of our community’s most pressing challenges: enabling all students to stay on track to graduate from high school, and be fully prepared for college or job training. United Way is working with the Hamilton County                                                                                                        Department of Education to find ways to intervene in students’ educational journeys so they stay on track and on time for high school graduation.