Plough Fdtn. Awards $1.7M to Increase College Grad Rate

By Aisling Maki

The Plough Foundation has awarded a $1.7 million grant to the Memphis Talent Dividend College Attainment Initiative, whose purpose is to increase the number of college graduates in the Memphis metropolitan area by 1 percent over the next five years.

Organizers say a 1 percent increase in college attainment would yield a $1 billion increase in personal income, giving the community a significant economic boost.

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. joined representatives from Leadership Memphis, the Memphis-Shelby County Public Library system and The Plough Foundation Thursday, March 29, to announce the grant.

The $1.7 million award will fund the creation, staffing and operations of a college resource center called Graduate Memphis, which will be dedicated to post-secondary education attainment among adults.

The program will be funded over a three-year period, with the center housed at the Benjamin Hooks Central Library and expected to open in July. It will offer information through a website, interactive kiosk and individual counseling, both in person and through a toll-free hotline.

The Memphis area is home to an estimated 200,000 adults ages 25 and older who have started a college education but never completed their degrees.

Look for more in Monday’s edition of The Daily News and at