Highlights from 2016–2017

OMD is proud to collaborate with corporate and community partners to offer innovative programs that help shape the community college model.

Former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Speaks at OMD/x

More than 100 Chicago thought leaders joined former US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in conversation with Alexi Giannoulias at OMD’s 3rd annual OMD/x at Deloitte on February 9. Duncan currently serves as Managing Partner of Emerson Colletive, an organization with the mission of helping men aged 17 to 24 who are currently unemployed and out of school obtain a job. Like OMD, Emerson Collective serves some of Chicago’s most vulnerable. As Duncan said when speaking about the men at Emerson Collective, “If they had another rational choice, they would take it.” We are giving our scholars that other rational choice.

When closing out the event, OMD Alumna Lavada Kimble said it better than anyone else:

Organizations like One Million Degrees and Emerson Collective change our mindset. We go from thinking, ‘Nobody’s going to do anything for me,’ to ‘Someone cares about me.’ And that makes the world of a difference.

Thank you to Deloitte for hosting the breakfast and thank you to everyone in the OMD family for caring about Lavada and our other scholars. View photos from the event on our Flickr.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Praises OMD at Corporate Leaders Breakfast

JPMorgan Chase announced a two-year, $400,000 investment in One Million Degrees’ expansion; OMD alumna and current Chicago Police Department Officer Maria Barraza noted OMD is the reason she is thriving today; and Mayor Emanuel explained that “With more of Chicago’s students graduating today than ever before, One Million Degrees plays a pivotal role in ensuring that our students are prepared for their next steps.”

One Million Degrees Supports Aon in Innovative Apprenticeship Program for Community College Students

One Million Degrees and Aon have launched an innovative apprenticeship program that provides 26 Chicago area community college students with a full range of academic supports as well as comprehensive on-the-job training, competitive salaries, and guaranteed employment upon completion of the two-year program. OMD is providing a dedicated Program Coordinator, who will ensure each student at Harold Washington and Harper colleges receives the mentoring support and professional development they need both academically and professionally.

“Aon is offering a tremendous opportunity for this energetic and enthusiastic group of students,” said Paige Ponder, CEO of One Million Degrees. “We are proud to support Aon and the apprentices by providing the key support that will help ensure the students’ success.”

OMD Raised Record $775,000 at 10th Anniversary Food & Wine Tasting

Celebrating a decade of providing essential support for Chicago area community college students, One Million Degrees raised a record $775,000 – 40% more than a year ago – at its 10th Anniversary Food & Wine Tasting on June 2nd. Co-chaired by Deb Gross, Caroline Grossinger, and Rose Lizarraga, the benefit attracted nearly 600 people, who set the stage for helping 1,000 high-potential community college scholars across Chicago by 2018 succeed in school, work, and life.

Speaking at the event, OMD CEO Paige Ponder thanked the OMD founders – David Scherer, Rose Lizarraga, Michael Golden, Michael Episcope, Thania Panopoulos, and Connie Mixon – “for starting something beautiful and for never walking away from it. You have changed thousands of lives, including my own. You are having the ripple effect that you foresaw – ripples that will grow, over time, to reach One Million Degrees of impact.”

OMD Honors Record 250 Community College Scholar Graduates

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx addressed OMD’s graduating scholars at Malcolm X College on June 20. More than 200 scholars graduated, ready to enroll in four-year universities or enter the workforce. Congratulations, grads! Read the press release for full details and find photos on OMD’s Flickr.