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$10,000 Gift to Help Hamilton County Foster Children Go to College

A $10,000 check will be presented at a May 3 Kentucky Derby event.

Date: 4/30/2014 12:00:00 AM
By: Caitlin Whitehurst
Phone: (513) 556-4395

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Ten local students will have the opportunity to pursue higher education, thanks to a gift from AT&T.

The $10,000 contribution will benefit the Higher Education Mentoring Initiative (HEMI), a partnership between the University of Cincinnati and other entities that provides Hamilton County foster youth long-term academic mentoring and access to higher education. The donation will create 10 additional scholarships to help students go to college.

The gift will be presented at HEMI’s annual Kentucky Derby fundraising event on May 3 at the Peterloon Estate, 8605 Hopewell Road. Event proceeds will benefit scholarships for HEMI students.

“Keeping our teenagers in high school and preparing them for success after graduation benefits our students and our communities,” said Mark Romito, external affairs director, AT&T Ohio. “The Higher Education Mentoring Initiative has a proven success strategy that is helping at-risk youth stay in school and succeed academically. We are proud to support this program.” 

“Corporate partnerships are the bedrock to our success,” said UC Foundation President Rod Grabowski. “AT&T’s generous grant provides disadvantaged students the opportunity to achieve their dreams through higher education.”

On any given day Hamilton County has more than 850 foster children. Less than 13 percent of them will actually enroll in college and only 2-3 percent will obtain degrees, according to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children across the United States.

Recent findings from Pew Research Center indicate the value of a college degree is greater than it has been in nearly half a century, with college-degree holders between the ages of 25 to 32 earning an average of $17,500 more than those with high school diplomas only. 

These statistics speak to the purpose of HEMI and its partners including the University of Cincinnati, the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners, the Hamilton County Job and Family Services, Great Oaks Institute of Technology and Career Development and the Cincinnati State Technical and Community College.

To learn more about HEMI, please visit