America's Promise Alliance and AT&T Announce My Idea Grants Program Winners in Montana

Sep 28, 2010 (12:09 PM EDT)

110 Youth Nationwide Will Receive Funding for Dropout Prevention Projects

MISSOULA, Mont., Sept. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- America's Promise Alliance and AT&T* today announced the Montana winner of the My Idea grants program, an initiative to engage young people in an effort to keep their peers in school.  

My Idea grants were offered on both a national and local level to ensure student applicants nationwide could compete for funding for their projects. National grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 have been awarded to 36 youth to fund community-wide projects to take place over the 2010-2011 school year. Local grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 have been awarded to 74 youth in targeted schools and neighborhoods in 10 Alliance-identified communities.  

A $10,000 national award went to Ekoo Beck and Nicole Blake, students at Hellgate and Big Sky High Schools in Missoula. Their idea, entitled "Inspire to Lead," is aimed at providing peer-led prejudice reduction and violence prevention training to 700 freshman students at Hellgate, Big Sky and Willard High Schools. Their suggestion includes co-facilitating after school programs in Missoula middle schools and piloting a Respect Club after school program at an elementary school.  

Beck and Blake are partnering with the National Coalition Building Institute Missoula on the project. NCBI is based in Washington, D.C., and has 50 city-based chapters, including one in Missoula. Its mission is to help eliminate prejudice and intergroup conflict.

"The young people in our community are dedicated to the well-being and success of their peers. Creating opportunities for youth to be leaders for change and to create positive, inclusive learning environments in their schools will ultimately engage and inspire others to complete their educational goals," said Heidi Wallace, director of youth programs at NCBI Missoula.

"America's Promise Alliance and AT&T's collaborated effort to inspire youth to become proactive in helping their classmates graduate on time highlights the joint commitment to make this country a Grad Nation," said Marguerite Kondracke, President and CEO, America's Promise Alliance. "The My Idea grant program is a perfect example of engaging critical stakeholders in the fight to help end the high school dropout crisis by supporting outstanding initiatives proposed by young people from around the country."  

"Working together, the private and public sectors can have a real impact on stemming the high school dropout rate. When a student finishes school, everyone wins," said state Sen. Dave Wanzenried.

"Our youth have credibility with their peers and need to be directly involved in charting solutions to the dropout issue. Through this initiative, their voices are heard and they learn how to work within their communities to translate ideas into action," said Adam Grzybicki, president of AT&T Montana.

AT&T's contribution is one of the largest gifts ever made to the Alliance and was made through the AT&T Aspire program, the corporation's $100 million commitment to help students succeed in high school, the workforce, and in life.  

AT&T is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. As part of its commitment, AT&T launched Aspire in April 2008. AT&T Aspire is one of the largest-ever corporate commitments to address high school success and workforce readiness.

To view a full list of My Idea grant recipients and to learn more about Grad Nation initiatives please visit:

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

About America's Promise Alliance

America's Promise Alliance is the nation's largest partnership organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and youth. Through the collective power of our partner network, we raise awareness, support communities and engage in nonpartisan advocacy to ensure that young people receive more of the fundamental resources they need to graduate high school prepared for college, work and life. Building on the legacy of our Founding Chairman General Colin Powell, the Alliance believes the success of our young people is grounded in the Five Promises—caring adults; safe places; a healthy start; an effective education; and opportunities to help others. For more information about America's Promise Alliance, visit

About AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation's fastest mobile broadband network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T |DIRECTV brands. The company's suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine. 

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About Philanthropy at AT&T

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) is committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives. Through its philanthropic initiatives and partnerships, AT&T has a long history of supporting projects that create learning opportunities; promote academic and economic achievement; and address community needs. In 2009, more than $155 million was contributed through corporate-, employee- and AT&T Foundation-giving programs.

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