Wed, Jan 16, 2019

Per Scholas Announces $31M Growth Capital Campaign to be Invested in Strategic Growth Over 5 Years

With more than half already committed from Ballmer Group, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Per Scholas’ goal is to deepen infrastructure, expand program offerings and train 4,000 students annually by 2023.

New York, NY, January 16, 2019 - Per Scholas, a national tech training non-profit, announced today a $31 million-dollar growth capital campaign, with initial support from Ballmer Group, Laura and John Arnold Foundation and The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation. This campaign will help secure the additional philanthropic investments Per Scholas needs over the next five years to achieve its strategic expansion goals. Specifically, the nonprofit is looking to expand its programming to serve 4,000 new technology career students a year across at least 10 locations.

In its 23-year history, Per Scholas has propelled 9,000 individuals from often overlooked communities into sustainable careers through tuition-free tech training. Fueled by data driven outcomes and two third-party randomized control studies, Per Scholas’ aggressive goals are designed to increase its impact on entire cities and regions, by substantially increasing the number of skilled technology workers to achieve regional economic development goals.

Specifically, these goals include:

  • Train 4,000+ new students a year by 2023 (+200% growth), by growing employer-paid, customized training for large-volume employers and adding new training tracks in new markets
  • Foster a more equitable and diverse tech sector and open more accessible pathways to tech employment by further demonstrating the quality and impact of Per Scholas training through a third randomized control study and leading original industry and public policy research to highlight best practices for employers to increase diversity
  • Build the foundation for future sustainability and growth, through the increase of earned income from employers to 50% of annual revenue, doubling the return on every philanthropic dollar

When paired with growing employer-paid, customized training, scaling employer-informed training, and investing in service quality and innovation, Per Scholas will be able to revolutionize its business model and boost enrollment 200+%. What’s more, in meeting these student growth goals Per Scholas will be able to inject into the economy through new training locations and $468 million in cumulative wages earned by graduates in their first year on the job. Donors who invest in the growth capital campaign will realize a $1.5 billion social return through savings from graduates increased tax revenue, reduced public benefits, increased earning and local economic activity.

With this end goal in mind, Per Scholas has started fundraising, having already reached the halfway point at $15.8 million. Generous donors, including Ballmer Group, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, and The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation, have been instrumental in making this possible.

We support high-impact, evidence-based approaches that are ready for scale. Per Scholas’ proven model has been shown to help adults from overlooked communities significantly increase their income, while providing businesses a pipeline of diverse, motivated, and skilled tech talent,” said Connie Ballmer, Co-Founder of Ballmer Group. “Ballmer Group has committed to Per Scholas’ growth because the ability to earn a living wage is an important step toward economic mobility.”

“Per Scholas has demonstrated a level of effectiveness rarely seen in social programs, with two ‘gold standard’ scientific studies showing that it produces large, sustained earnings gains for low-income adults. Based on this evidence, we are pleased to make a major investment to help scale this model nationally, and fund further evaluation to see if the sizable effects can be replicated in new U.S. locations. Successful replication would represent a signal achievement in American workforce policy, and demonstrate the power of evidence to move the needle on important national objectives such as economic mobility”, said Jon Baron, Vice President of Evidence-based policymaking at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

“The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation has contributed to Per Scholas for nearly a decade, watching it grow from a small, local nonprofit into a national leader producing strong outcomes for unemployed and underemployed adults. We are proud to invest in its new goals, and encourage others to do the same,” said Marci Hunn, Program Director, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation.

“This capital campaign is based on a founding truth for Per Scholas: talent is ubiquitous, but opportunity is not. We’ve found success relying on partnerships across sectors and industries to inform our work and support our mission to expand opportunity to communities across the country. With the continued support of partners, both new and old, we look forward to serving thousands of more families and providing a qualified and diverse talent pipeline for corporations supportive of the neighborhoods where we live and work” said Per Scholas CEO and President Plinio Ayala.

“When we opened in our first warehouse in the Bronx in 1995, we knew talent was all around us, but it was our responsibility to find it and provide an opportunity for individuals to succeed. Sustainability has always been the key and sustainability for this nonprofit means a sustainable talent pipeline for corporations and sustainable career options for thousands of technologists of the future. I am proud to see the impact we’ve demonstrated over twenty-four years, and what will be achieved in the next twenty-four to come” said Lewis Miller, Board Chair, Founding Board Member, Per Scholas.

Significant hiring partners, Cognizant and TEKsystems have both invested in Per Scholas training curriculum and expansion.

“At TEKsystems, we deliver full-stack technology services, including talent services, to our clients across the country. That talent includes more than 350 Per Scholas graduates, and we’ve found them to be committed, capable and passionate team members — so much so that we funded a Per Scholas training pilot in our hometown of Baltimore. We look forward to growing our partnership in all the communities where we live and work”, said Faith Johnson, Vice President of Human Resources at TEKsystems.

“Partnerships between businesses and organizations like Per Scholas are vital to ensuring workers have the training and reskilling resources they need to compete for in-demand technology roles, and employers have ready access to a strong talent pipeline. Cognizant is committed to building the digital workforce of the future, and is proud to partner with Per Scholas, which knows how to find, foster and advance talent that might otherwise be overlooked,” says James Lennox, Chief People Officer of Cognizant.

Through the support of private foundations, Per Scholas hopes to reach its growth capital goal, thus increasing its services two fold and building a pathway to earned revenue and sustainability. With more support comes more students taught, more partnerships made, a better talent pipeline solidified for the future, and more lives impacted. With a 4-star accolade from Charity Navigator, Per Scholas promises to work closely with all donors to help them achieve their philanthropic goals.

Read the full campaign document, here.

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About Per Scholas

Per Scholas is a national nonprofit that drives positive and proven social change in communities across the country. Through rigorous and tuition-free technology training and professional development, we prepare motivated and curious adults who are unemployed or underemployed for successful careers as technology professionals, and we create onramps to businesses in need of their talents. Today we provide our solutions in eight cities across the country: Atlanta, GA; Greater Boston, MA; Greater Cincinnati, OH; Columbus, OH; Dallas, TX; the National Capital Region; Newark, NJ and New York, NY. To date, Per Scholas has trained 9,000 individuals, helping them build lasting, life changing skills and careers in technology.

About Ballmer Group

Ballmer Group works to improve economic mobility for children and families in who are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. We support the use of data and strong partnerships among public, private, and nonprofit organizations at the community level to more effectively serve families. Ballmer Group was co-founded by philanthropist and civic activist Connie Ballmer and her husband Steve Ballmer, former CEO of Microsoft, founder of USAFacts, and chairman of the Los Angeles Clippers. For more information, please visit or follow us @BallmerGroup

About Laura and John Arnold Foundation

Driven by a desire to improve people’s lives, we harness objective data, along with the brightest scholars and experts, in order to tackle inequities in our social, governmental, and economic systems. We study pressing issues in public safety, criminal justice, health, education, and governance, and develop solutions that lead to systemic change.

About The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Foundation

The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of vulnerable people and families experiencing poverty. In 2019, the Foundation will provide approximately $125 million in grants to nonprofits that provide direct services in the areas of Housing, Health, Jobs, Education, and Community Services. The Foundation’s priority communities include Baltimore, Chicago, Hawaii, Israel, New York City, Northeastern Pennsylvania, San Francisco, and Rural Communities (primarily surrounding other priority communities). The Foundation’s trustees include Robert T. Kelly, Jr., Board Chair; Ambassador Fay Hartog-Levin (Ret.); Paula B. Pretlow; and Gordon Berlin. Rachel Garbow Monroe continues to serve as President and CEO. For more information, please visit