Experts at every level of education and government have been talking about school reform for over 30 years. And while in that time we’ve made some progress, far too many kids are still trapped in schools that don’t work for them. And with the large bureaucracy that our educational system is, dramatic and practical improvements just won’t come soon enough, especially for kids from low-income families. That means too many kids in each new generation will get left further and further behind. In fact, a large number of today’s kids from low-income families will never graduate high school, and that’s completely unacceptable.
Everybody wants school reform. Kids like Javier actually need it.
Let’s face it. Trying to tackle school reform all at once is a pretty daunting task.
But then we realized something — we don’t need to. Instead, if we could help just one child at a time, we’d be able to have real impact starting from day one. And so we set out on a mission. We noticed something that everyone else seemed to overlook. While there were a lot of kids from low-income families failing in their current schools, there were a lot of really great schools with extra capacity. We saw independent schools operating with their own philosophies and teaching styles. Yet, as different as they all were, each excelled with the type of students they served. Maybe the problem wasn’t that there weren’t enough good schools, but rather that low-income families didn’t have a way into these schools. So we decided to change that.
Why wait for others, when we could make a difference ourselves?
This is the philosophy behind ACE Scholarships, a nonprofit organization that raises money from generous donors and then awards financial scholarships to students from low-income families so they can attend the school of their choice. ACE Scholarships has quickly become an educational success story. In fact, since 2000, we’ve awarded over 66,000 Scholarships worth nearly $170 million, giving children from low-income families the chance to succeed. And succeed they have, graduating high school with most going on to college.
Who we help
ACE Scholarships works with low-income families from a variety of different circumstances across numerous states. To qualify for an ACE scholarship, a family must meet the income requirements for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch Program. Our families have an average income of $43,766 a year.
Like any great idea, you have to start somewhere.
We major in economics.
ACE Scholarships makes financial and economic sense. For each student that graduates high school, it saves society $9,434 each year. Funding for public schools has increased by over 300% in the last 45 years. Yet, the academic performance of students has remained virtually unchanged. Kids in elementary and high school today can’t afford to wait any longer for the system to change. Especially when there’s a proven and cost-effective alternative. For about $2,500 a student, ACE can provide a scholarship to a low-income family so their student can get out of a situation where they’re failing and into an environment where they can succeed.
Meet our board members and staff.
Board of Directors
Executive Vice President, Hughes Marino
Chairman, Aspect Energy
Partner/Co-Founder Lamplight Entertainment and Whetstone Media Group
CEO Alpha Principle
Partner, SKS Ventures
Partner, Bartlit Beck LLP
Managing Partner, MorningStar Senior Living
Owner, Mike Ward Infiniti, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, McLaren, Fiat
COO, Johnson Financial Group
President, Wealth Management Consultants, Inc.
National Advisory Board
JUDY AND DICK AGEE
Founder & Chairman, Wapiti Energy and Bayou Well Holdings Company
JOY AND DONALD "BOYSIE" BOLLINGER
National Advisory Board Chairman
GOVERNOR JEB BUSH
Honorary National Advisory Board Member
BETH AND JONATHAN CARR
President, Christian Brothers Foundation
PETE AND MARILYN COORS
FRAN AND TERRY COMBS
CEO, Integrated Airline Services
CATHY AND ALEX CRANBERG
Chairman, Aspect Energy, LLC
Managing Director, Goldman, Sachs & Co.
Founder, Friess Associates
LANE AND BOBBI GRIGSBY Founder & Chairman, Cajun Industries LLC
CHAZ AND SUSAN MUELLER
EDDIE AND LINDA RISPONE
JOHN AND CAROL SAEMAN Colorado
RICK AND SUSAN SCHMITZ
SCOT AND KEELY SELLERS
Founder, CEO, and Chairman, Stuller, Inc
LISA AND TIM WALSH CEO, Confluence Builders, LLB
LIZ AND CHRIS WRIGHT
CEO, Liberty Oilfield Services, LLC
NANCY AND MIKE ZOELLNER
ZF Capital, Managing Partner, Colorado
JAY BALLARD Development Database Coordinator
SINDY BECKERLE National Foundations Manager
ERIK BILLINGER VP of Development, Colorado
JO BRINKERHOFF National Events Manager
HANNAH BUNCH REBER Director, ACE Arkansas
TINA BURKE Director of Development Operations
MIKE COLEMAN Chief Program Officer
JASON DIFRAIA President
KIRSTEN EASTWOOD Program Director
KAREN FARRAND Chief Financial Officer
ERIN GABRIEL National Programs Communications Coordinator
RHONDA GONZALES Senior Accountant
KELLY GRIFFIN Senior Events Coordinator
CATHERINE "CAT" HENDRIX National Alumni Affairs Director
DACIA HENSHAW Senior Director of Marketing
DENISE HERNANDEZ Program Coordinator, Public Programs
RITA HOEFT Controller
LENNIE JARRATT Data & Evaluation Manager
AJ KUHLE Director, ACE Kansas
MELISSA LANDRY President, ACE Louisiana
HALLE MATHUES Human Resources Director
ALEX NUÑEZ Associate Director of Development, ACE Houston/San Antonio/Austin
BRITTANI O'BRIENVP of Development, Colorado
ROGER PATTISON Chief Development Officer
JAKE PENWELL President, ACE Montana & Wyoming
MARCY PHANNENSTIEL Office Manager
NORTON RAINEY Chief Executive Officer
LINDSEY RHODES Director of Public Program
SHELLEY ROGERS President, ACE Houston/San Antonio/Austin
CALLI RULON Events Coordinator
RYAN SCHMITZ Development Associate, Colorado
JEFFREY VAN CLEAVE Program Coordinator
Want to see our report card?
ACE is proud to receive Charity Navigator’s highest rating, 4 stars.