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Help Transform Urban Education!

$7,965 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 6 months

Be Part of the Village: Help Us Transform Urban Education!


What is Ryan Banks Academy?

To begin with, Ryan Banks Academy (RBA) is more than just a school - it is a philosophy and a path forward.  RBA will be the first inner city boarding school in Chicago to combine a high-quality, comprehensive curriculum with adventure learning and an integrated social-emotional education.   Its mission will be to provide the launching pad for students out of poverty and into the next generation of leaders, thinkers, and world-changers.  We will prepare motivated students from Chicago neighborhoods to graduate from college, enter into meaningful careers, and be the catalyst to bring positive change into their communities.  RBA is currently backed by many influential figures including Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan; Education Guru, Michael Soguero; and Comedian and Philanthropist, Jeff Garlin.

RBA’s team of education experts have spent over three years researching successful educational strategies, visiting (and interacting with) schools around the country, and molding RBA’s vision, mission, and curriculum. The academy is officially ready to open Fall 2018 but we need your help!  We are incredibly thankful to have found a wonderful facility thanks to a generous donor, but we still have to raise the funds for our operating expenses.  Your donation will make it possible for us to launch this fall!

The Back Story:  Who is Ryan Banks


The vision for Ryan Banks Academy was born from tragedy.  As a School Social Worker, Ryan Banks was one of our founder's favorite students - a happy-go-lucky 12 year old boy whose enthusiasm, curiosity and love for life was contagious to those around him.  Ryan had a difficult upbringing and had every reason to be angry. But instead, he was one of the happiest seventh-graders walking the halls of New Sullivan Elementary School, on Chicago’s far-east side.  But on May 19, 2012, RyanBanks was shot and killed by gunfire.  

Ryan was a special child who had the entire world ahead of him.  He is also just one of far too many Chicago students lost to gun violence every year.  In addition to the children and teens killed, thousands more are figuratively lost as they fall through the cracks in other ways - lack of proper education and social-emotional support at schools, growing up in unsafe neighborhoods, or dealing with trauma in their family environments.  

How Ryan Banks Academy will Transform Education

Boarding schools have a history of proven success.  Research from The Association for Boarding Schools finds that even after adjusting for income and education levels, students who attend boarding schools have better academic expectations than the general US population on all quality of life factors.  Even more impressive, a SEED (urban boarding school in Washington, D.C.) graduate is three times more likely to graduate from college than a child with a similar background.  More than 80% of SEED graduates are first-generation, college-bound students, and SEED graduates who go on to college can expect to earn $40,000-50,000 more than their peers annually.  

RBA will be Chicago's first boarding school. However, a handful of lucky Chicago students have had the honor of attending boarding schools through scholarship programs. Watch this video to learn why these students believe in the boarding school model, and why they strongly think that there needs to be one in Chicago.

Why Ryan Banks Academy  is Unique Within Chicago's Educational Landscape

* Expeditionary & Adventure Learning:  RBA will be modeled after Eagle Rock in Colorado, a year-round, full-scholarship school that has received national recognition for its curriculum focused on adventure learning and student ownership over learning.  By overcoming obstacles and working against a perceived risk, students learn to trust and depend on one another, and in turn, learn the importance of their own integrity.  

* STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics):  While many curriculum focus on the indisputable value in STEM, RBA’s focus on arts will further engage students in learning by exploring and growing their creative abilities

* Social-emotional Learning:  In addition to providing world-class academic instruction, RBA believes in taking a holistic view of the child.  Social-emotional practices such as physical and spiritual wellness, yoga, meditation, and a growth mindset will be ingrained through all activities (an integral component of all activities)

* Civic Engagement & Community Collaborations:  RBA students will spend the year working on a problem they want to address that affects their community and will formulate a final project around how to take empowered action to resolve the problem.  Their will be ongoing collaborations with Chicago organizations to support students’ learning.

The Costs for an Extraordinary Academy

RBA is so much more than a traditional school, which means we will need more resources in order to provide our students with an exceptional education + a safe, nurturing environment + world class programming!  We need to raise $600,000 in order to launch RBA in September 2018 so that we can begin providing serving Chicago's most deserving youth.  Your donations will provide us with the funding we need for startup costs gearing up for our launch in September 2018, and will also fund our entire first year all the way through September 2019.

How You Can Support the Movement - It Takes a Village!

Our team of educators, facilitators, and business gurus have toiled in preparation for opening RBA, and our first class of seventh-grade students are on schedule to begin school in September 2018.  In order for that to happen we first need $100,000 to cover initial operational expenses. RBA recognizes the village that it will take to raise our children and we will be celebrating all contributions to RBA through the rewards listed above.

Will you take a step for Ryan? Every dollar makes a difference!  To help me get the word out, you can share this link to your Facebook Timeline, Twitter or Instagram account, or by emailing to your friends, family, and colleagues! RBA is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit and thus all donations to this campaign are tax deductible.

(And, we would love for you to follow us on Facebook, on Instagram and Twitter (@ryanbankschi), and by signing up for our email list. )


Reward Levels:

First 25 donations of $100 or more:
- Receive a special gift from one of our proudest sponsors, actor/comedian Jeff Garlin. He will be gifting 25 tickets to his upcoming comedy show gala co-hosted with Ryan Banks Academy (tentatively scheduled for Summer 2018), for the first 25 people who donate to RBA.  



(This could be you spending an evening with the one and only Jeff Garlin!)

Donations of any $ amount:
- Donations of all amounts will receive an invitation to our opening day ceremony just for donating.  

Donations of $100:
- Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible": The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It"  *


 (This could be the book on your nightstand!)

Donations of $250: 
- Receive an RBA yoga tank or unisex tee in a choice of 3 colors *
- Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible: The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It" *



(You could be sporting this inspiring tank!)

Donations of $1000:
- Your name will be added to a special plaque honoring our founding donors!  
- Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible": The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It" *

(Your name could be on this plaque!)

Donations of $2500:
- Your name will be added to a special plaque honoring our founding donors
- Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible": The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It" *
- You will be matched with an RBA student who will send you a thank you card and progress updates over the course of the year

Donations of $5000:
- Your name will be added to a special plaque honoring our founding donors
-  Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible": The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It" *
- You will be matched with an RBA student who will send you a thank you card and progress updates over the course of the year....
- AND yes there's more: you will also be invited to a wine and cheese event honoring our founding donors

Donations of $15,000:
- Your name will be added to a special plaque honoring our founding donors 
- Receive an autographed copy of our founder, Valerie Groth’s book, "The Power of the Possible": The Dire State of Inner City Education and One Woman's Revolution to Fix It" *
- You will be matched with an RBA student who will send you a thank you card and progress updates over the course of the year.
- You will also be honored with a school space (classroom, gathering area, garden space) named in your honor including a personalized plaque. Donors will also be recognized on RBA’s website and within all promotional materials.

* Please note that we can only ship books and RBA apparel to US addresses.

***

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Mead

For years, this quote has inspired me to dedicate my time and energy toward finding solutions for some of the most challenging problems facing our nation.  Thanks to an incredible group of RBA board members, volunteers, and supporters both locally here in Chicago and around the country, we are in the process of creating an innovative school model that will transform education into a space where students thrive, grow, and give back to their community.

We are very thankful for your generosity and appreciate any donation you are able to make at this time, no matter how large or small.  We invite you to join us and to be a part of changing history!


With gratitude,
Valerie Groth
Ryan Banks Academy Founder & Executive Director  



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$7,965 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 36 people in 6 months
Funds raised will benefit:
Ryan Banks Academy
  Certified Charity
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Chicago, IL
EIN: 473666107
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