NCNSP is close to i3.

The North Carolina New Schools Project (NCNSP) has raised $1.5 million in a required private-sector match for a $15 million Investing in Innovation (i3) grant administered through the U.S. Department of Education.

NCNSP made the announcement last week. The project was selected in early November from among nearly 600 applicants across the country to be one of 23 organizations to potentially share $150 million under the i3 program.

The NCNSP initiative is the only proposal from North Carolina recognized for funding in this highly competitive grant program and one of five to be selected for potential funding at the $15 million level.

Eligibility for federal funding is tied to securing private support for the five-year initiative. Successfully achieving this match is a key hurdle prior to the final award, expected to be announced in January.

NCNSP, in partnership with the State Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Community College System, the SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro and local school districts will use the federal grant to apply lessons learned from the state’s growing number of early college high schools, which focus on ensuring all students graduate ready for college and careers.

Pledges to achieve the grant match came from: the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Fred Eshelman, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Golden Corral and Investors Management Corporation, the Golden LEAF, the Hidalgo Family, Kryosphere, Lenovo, Lumbee Guaranty Bank, Novartis, SAS Instiute, The Lauren & James Whitehurst Family Foundation, and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation.

This grant would extend successful early college strategies to as many as 20 traditional high schools in rural, low-income communities across the state, benefiting more than 20,000 students.

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