History and Mission
The STAR (Success Through Academic Readiness) Sponsorship Program, Inc. was founded in 1993 by a group of compassionate business and community leaders with the desire to provide a choice in education for low-income children. In the fall of 1998, the STAR Program expanded by partnering with a national effort called the Children’s Scholarship Fund. In large cities, up to 50% of low income and minority students may drop out of school before graduating. This lack of education makes the task of improving economic opportunities and redressing social inequities even more difficult.
The founders believe every child hungers for knowledge. Elementary schools can satisfy this hunger for learning. Children learn values at an early age; therefore it is crucial that fundamentals are established in their primary years of life. Schools challenge children to reach their potential and help prepare them for the future. Sometimes schools do not meet the child’s needs. Parents need the ability to make a choice that is right for their child.
The STAR Sponsorship Program, Inc. uniquely offers this opportunity. We provide the financial means in Tarrant County for low-income parents to choose a better fit for their child. We partner with the parents in the process, thereby establishing a link that ties children, parents, schools, and communities together. It is increasingly clear that education is essential if students at all socioeconomic levels feel a part of what has been called the American Dream–a chance to work hard, excel, and reap the rewards–both personally and in the marketplace. Truly, a solid foundation in education is the gateway to addressing the issues of poverty-related problems affecting Fort Worth and Tarrant County at large.
How the Program Works
The STAR Sponsorship Program teams a child with a sponsor to give the child an opportunity for a better education. Our sponsors believe in the importance of a good education and invest in the future by sponsoring a child. The program motivates students to achieve their full academic potential.
STAR students correspond with their sponsor by sending letters, artwork, schoolwork, and photographs and strive for A/B Honor Roll. STAR monitors each child’s academic journey, and updates the donors through quarterly report cards and letters noting compliance with program expectations. In the process students gain a new perspective on the importance of education and limitless opportunities that lay ahead.
The program’s objective is to provide a chance for low-income students to attend a private school. STAR Sponsorship Program operates on the premise that all children need social and academic skills in order to compete effectively in the future.
Students see education through a new perspective. They are challenged and eager to achieve success. Teachers report students are more apt to seek help. Parents report their children are excited about learning. Principals report STAR students are natural leaders and set the benchmark for excellence, thereby elevating the entire expectation. Sponsors report gratification when the children thank them for their sponsorship and support.
Where Do We Get the STAR Students?
Oftentimes, parents will call due to word-of-mouth recommendations or their own research. Schools also recommend students.
Each STAR student, with the help of the family, must be willing to put forth the extra effort needed to meet the program requirements. Parents apply annually. A teacher/principal recommendation, most recent report card, and financial documentation are also required.
How STAR is Funded
Since its inception, STAR Sponsorship has provided over 3,400 scholarships valued at over $4,200,000. STAR solicits the community for financial support. Many times the school will award additional financial aid in order for a family to be able to afford the private school’s total tuition. The family is expected to contribute their part of the tuition, provide their student’s uniform, and is responsible for all other costs, such as registration and book fees.
100% of the donor’s gift that is allocated for scholarships is funded towards scholarships. The Board of Directors provides and seeks the funding for operating overhead. The STAR Sponsorship Program is a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation as defined by the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to the STAR Sponsorship Program, Inc. are fully tax deductible.