Greater Dayton School teacher and student

Strategic approach, impactful results

One of Kids & Community Partners’ core values is “look far and wide; act narrow and deep.” But one needn’t look very far to see the impactful work the organization will do in 2023.

This year is shaping up to be its most significant on-record, with key endeavors expanding in multiple markets to help under-resourced kids.

In the fall, The Greater Dayton School will open a $60 million campus at the confluence of the Great Miami River and Mad River, just across from downtown Dayton. GDS, the state’s first private non-religious school for under-resourced students, operated in a temporary location during its inaugural 2022-23 school year.

At the beginning of its first school year, roughly half the school’s students were proficient or advanced in academics and fitness. Just nine months later, 83 percent were. After just one school year at GDS, students are more than twice as likely to be advanced in an academic subject.

“We’re excited about moving into the new campus; it’s the culmination of six years of searching, planning and preparation,” said Connor Group managing partner Larry Connor. “But at the end of the day, it’s about the people inside the building. Everything we do is student-focused and student-centered. And our people – not a building – will ultimately produce life-changing outcomes for our students.”

This year also will see the expansion of another Kids & Community Partners’ “in-house” program. In June, Connor Kids Academy opened its third market in Louisville. CKA partners with university athletic departments to provide a 1,000-day character education experience for young men.

Both GDS and CKA were programs contrived, planned and funded by Kids & Community Partners. But a substantial amount of the organization’s work still stems from making strategic investments in other non-profits that help serve under-resourced kids and youth.

“We look for programs in Connor Group markets we can help scale nationally,” said director Ryan Ernst. “We also look for national programs we can help scale into our markets.”

In that vein, 2023 will be a big year, as the organization brings a national college access/success program to Ohio.

Bottom Line, founded in Boston and now operating in Chicago and New York, is a non-profit with a proven model for producing first-generation college graduates. By providing long-term and personalized support in college, Bottom Line students are 23 percentage points more likely to earn a degree in four years. Because of Kids & Community’s investment and in-kind support, Bottom Line has started serving students in Dayton and Cincinnati.

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