$4 million campaign launched to support new ‘I Have A Dream’ Foundation cohort


The city of Milwaukee and “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Milwaukee plan to launch a new cohort of first-grade students at Milwaukee Academy of Science this fall.

IHDF-MKE provides individualized social, emotional and academic support to students from low-income communities from kindergarten through college, along with guaranteed tuition support.

“Education doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Kahina Cargile, executive director at IHDF-MKE. “This is a tremendous opportunity to impact the lives of students at Milwaukee Academy of Science. We’re committed to addressing barriers to learning that can exist beyond the classroom in order to make a transformational impact on our Dreamers, their families, and the broader community.”

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The IHDF-MKE program launched in 2008 at Clarke Street School with funding from the Brady Corporation Foundation and Ted and Mary Kellner through the Kelben Foundation. The program impacted 132 students and their parents and in 2019 and 2020 there still 45 students in the program who graduated high school on time, including 43 that pursued post-secondary education.

To fund operational costs for support services for the new cohort, real estate developer and IHDF national board member Barry Mandel and IHDF-MKE board chair and Legacy Bank founder Margaret Henningsen have launched a $4 million fundraising campaign.

“This is an incredibly unique opportunity to have a multi-generational impact on the lives of students and their families, while exhibiting an innovative approach to addressing challenges regularly experienced within urban education,” said Mandel, chairman and CEO of Mandel Group.

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Support services provided by IHDF-MKE focus on stable housing, access to broadband, health and wellness services, family education, training and job placement, stress management, life skills and financial literacy.

The program’s goal is to keep students and families together as a cohort for at least 12 years. It also provides up to $10,000 of tuition assistance for students.

“Milwaukee Academy of Science has always been committed to providing its entire student body with a quality education, however, it’s no secret that many of our students and their families face challenges that undermine the learning process,” said Anthony McHenry, CEO of Milwaukee Academy of Sciences. “We’re thrilled for the opportunity to provide our scholars and their families with the support and resources needed to reach their full potential.”

The new cohort will also include a longitudinal study, headed by Dr. Leonard E. Egede, a tenured professor and Director of the Center for Advancing Population Science at the Medical College of Wisconsin. The study will measure the impact of the combined and individual multifaceted components of IHDF-MKE’s holistic approach.

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