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Philanthropists And Businesses Unite To Help CMS

Charlotte philanthropists, business and community leaders will soon begin studying how to best help Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools with contributions. They're forming a committee called the CMS Investment Group to come up with a model to boost the graduation rate and narrow the achievement gap between white and minority students. This past school year the district's overall graduation rate was 70 percent. But at some heavily-minority schools only about half of students graduated within four years. Several months ago, the Spangler and Levine families began getting businesses on board with the idea of forming a study committee. Anna Spangler Nelson says the group will spend the next several months looking at what solutions other districts and charter schools have come up with. "For us the clearest path to helping is to conduct this study group with the ultimate goal of rallying the philanthropic community around a plan that is focused, accountable, replicable and bold," says Spangler Nelson. Members of the group include representatives of Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Duke Energy, and the Knight Foundation. They say they will not come up with a goal for contributions until the group settles on a plan. Spangler-Nelson hopes the group will launch the initiative at the beginning of next school year.