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Maximizing Our Impact

Working in close partnership with San Antonio school districts, City Year San Antonio’s plan is to reach more students and serve the schools with the highest need. In 2018, Carlos Alvarez, through the Impetus Foundation, made a powerful commitment to help secure sustainable, private sector funding that will help propel our work forward: a $450,000 challenge grant to inspire and promote sustainable multi-year giving. Mr. Alvarez has challenged City Year to raise $50,000 each year through 2022. The $50,000 must be made up of five-year gifts of at least $10,000 per year. Once achieved, the gifts will be matched on a 2:1 basis; that is, for every $50,000 City Year San Antonio raises in multi-year commitments, the Impetus Foundation will contribute $100,000. In total, this challenge will unlock $1,250,000 of funding through 2026.

The Challenge

In the United States, 16% of students do not finish high school. This number is significantly higher for low-income students and students of color. Locally, in San Antonio, nearly 40% of students in the San Antonio Independent School District (SAISD) do not meet benchmark standards in state assessments, which increases their risk of dropping out and not graduating high school. Like most urban cities, the challenge in San Antonio is concentrated: nearly 70% of students who do not graduate on time come from less than third of the high schools.

This loss of potential comes at a high price to society. A 2009 study1 showed an economic cost of $292,000 for every student that does not graduate due to decreased earnings and higher social services costs. No one benefits when a student does not complete high school, but everyone benefits when students succeed.

What We Know

  • It is possible to identify likely drop outs as early as the 6th grade by tracking three ‘early warning’ indicators – absenteeism, poor behavior and course failure in math or English2
  • Students who increase attendance, eliminate discipline problems and improve grades by the 10th grade are four times more likely to graduate2
  • Students are most at risk of falling behind during key transition periods from elementary school to middle school and middle school to high school 2

What We Do

Informed by research and data, City Year partners with schools to bridge the gap between what students need and what most urban schools are designed and resourced to provide. City Year AmeriCorps members serve alongside teachers and school administration – every day, all day – to forge positive relationships as mentors, tutors and role models. AmeriCorps members serve the whole school through morale and culture initiatives, the whole class through partner teacher support and individual students through small group and one-on-one tutoring. Working with students from the third to ninth grades, through the difficult transitions from elementary school to middle school to high school, City Year AmeriCorps members provide comprehensive, consistent supports to aid schools in getting students on track, poised for graduation and prepared for college or career. 

In San Antonio, 90 City Year San Antonio AmeriCorps members serve in eight partner schools, reaching 6,500 students.

Contact Sandy Gallagher at I 210.247.4439


1  Center for Labor Studies, Northeastern University. (2009). The consequences of dropping out of high school. Retrieved from:

2 City Year. (2018). Whole School Whole Child Approach. Retrieved from: