Through an intervention proven to increase high school graduation rates from 68% to 92%, set 600 middle school students on the path to future success with Focusing Philanthropy and Spark

As always, Focusing Philanthropy covers all overhead costs. 100% of every donation will go to the 2019 Power of Possibility Campaign.


Every year in the United States, 1.2 million students drop out of high school. That is one student every 26 seconds – or 7,000 a day. Two out of every three dropouts either fail to complete their freshman year or are held back only to drop out later.

Despite the prevalence of support programs targeting high school students, the path to dropping out begins well before ninth grade. Research shows that the middle school years are a troubling turning point, when up to 60% of students become chronically disengaged – seeing no clear link between what they are learning in school and what they see around them in the “real world.”


Focusing Philanthropy has partnered with Spark to raise $600,000 to set 600 middle school students on the path to the successful completion of high school and beyond. Through partnerships with 30+ high-need schools and 100 companies in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia, Spark uses a three-pronged approach that unites diverse communities to create career-exploration and self-discovery opportunities for reengaging underserved seventh and eighth graders:

  • Spark Lab – Students visit and explore a variety of work environments.
  • Spark Mentorship – Students are matched 1:1 with mentors in the workplace to develop a project over the course of 13 weeks.
  • High School Pathways – Spark staff engage students and their families in high school selection to ensure successful transitions into ninth grade.

To date, 92% of Spark Students have graduated high school or are on track to graduate on time, compared to an average of 68% of their peers. The “Power of Possibility” campaign will invest in mentor outreach, training, coaching, and retention to help Spark achieve its goal of recruiting and stewarding 2,500 mentors and extending its reach to 2,500+ students in 2019.


From January 15 to April 30, 2019, every $1 raised by Focusing Philanthropy will be matched with $2 raised by Spark, until the campaign goal of $600,000 is reached.

To qualify for the match, donations must be directed to Focusing Philanthropy and a minimum of $1,000. Donations are fully tax deductible and 100% of funds contributed will go to the 2019 “Power of Possibility” campaign. All Focusing Philanthropy costs are covered by its founders.