Non-profit

Communities In Schools (CIS)

Website:

www.communitiesinschools.org/

Location:

Alexandria, VA

Tax ID:

58-1289174

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $26,912,820
Expenses: $34,345,567
Assets: $83,589,939

Type:

Educational training and advocacy

CEO:

Rey Saldana

Founded:

1977

Communities In Schools (CIS) is an education advocacy and assistance organization which promotes the expansion of taxpayer-funded benefits programs offered through the public education system. In particular, the organization pushes for more existing social services to be integrated with public schools and placed under the control of the school system. The organization was founded in the 1970s by left-of-center activist Bill Milliken, who advocated for combining public education and other social programs, claiming that this would make them more accessible to their beneficiaries and more accountable to government oversight. [1]

CIS claims to be working with approximately 2,900 schools in 26 states. The organization partners with government agencies such as the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNRC), the AmeriCorps civil society program, and charities such as the Feeding America hunger relief organization. [2]

Ideology and Policy Positions

Communities In Schools promotes the idea that public schools should provide other taxpayer-funded services in addition to education. In particular, the organization pushes for the expansion of government programs aimed at alleviating poverty. [3] Evidence for the effectiveness of the CIS approach is mixed: an April 2017 report from the CNRC-sponsored Social Innovation Fund found cases of schools where graduation rates increased and dropout rates decreased following the integration of programs promoted by CIS. However, the Department of Education has also stated that “it is not clear whether these improvements were caused by the CIS model.” [4]

CIS opposes efforts by education activists and lawmakers to curb the perceived proliferation of left-progressive race ideology, sometimes referred to as critical race theory, in the public education system. In June 2021, the organization issued a statement dismissing concerns about critical race theory, claiming that it is primarily “a framework used by academics” while also endorsing it as a way of teaching left-progressive views on race relations to public school students. [5]

Major Funders and Supporters

In January 2019, the pharmaceutical corporation AbbVie provided a significant portion of funding for a $13 million Communities In Schools initiative to distribute grants among 127 different schools across the United States. The funds are being distributed to schools with chronic absenteeism issues and low graduation rates. The pharmaceutical company provided a total of $30 million to the organization, which a statement from CIS described as the “largest single corporate donation Communities in Schools had received in its 40-year history.” The statement also indicated that the remainder of the AbbVie grant would be given to the public school system of Chicago, Illinois. [6]

Other funders of CIS include the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. [7]

Mackenzie Scott, the ex-wife of billionaire Amazon e-commerce platform founder Jeff Bezos, is one of the organization’s most high-profile supporters. In February 2022, Scott announced that she would be giving a total of more than $130 million in grants to CIS. The funds are to be distributed to 40 local CIS affiliates across the United States. [8]

Scott also gave a $20 million grant to Palo Alto Community College in Texas, where CIS chief executive officer Rey Saldana previously taught. The CIS local affiliate in San Antonio, Texas, where Saldana was previously a city council member, maintains a partnership with the college. [9] [10]

Leadership

Bill Milliken is the founder of Communities In Schools and the vice chair of the organization’s board of directors. He is a career activist who started a number of youth organizations in the 1960s before beginning work on what would become CIS in the 1970s. Milliken would go on to lead the organization until 2004. [11]

Elaine Wynn is the chair of the CIS board of directors and a trustee of her personal grantmaking organization, the Elaine P. Wynn Family Foundation. She is also the co-founder of the hospitality companies Wynn Resorts and Mirage Resorts and has also helped launch ventures in the gaming and gambling industry. [12]

Rey Saldana is president and chief executive officer of CIS. He is a former member of the San Antonio, Texas, city council and the former chair of the San Antonio Metropolitan Transit Agency. He has also worked as an adjust professor at Trinity University and Palo Alto Community College. According to CIS, Saldana is an “alumnus” of the organization, having been a beneficiary of social programs which CIS had worked to bring into his school system. [13]

Financials

In the past, CIS has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars a year advocating for its preferred policies, culminating with nearly $680,000 in lobbying expenditures in 2018. [14] The year prior, the organization had come out in opposition to President Donald Trump’s efforts to reform the Department of Education and re-evaluate its budget. [15]

Since 2018, spending on lobbying has declined precipitously. [16] The organization’s revenue also peaked that year at more than $65 million, dropping to less than $27 million in 2019. [17]

References

  1. “Our History.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/mission-and-history/ ^
  2. “Our Partners.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-partners/ ^
  3. “Our History.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/mission-and-history/ ^
  4. Marie-Andree Somers and Zeest Haider. “Using Integrated Student Supports to Keep Kids in School.” MDRC. April 2017. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED574039.pdf ^
  5. “Communities In Schools (CIS) Challenges Proposed Federal and State Bans on Teaching Anti-Racism.” Communities In Schools. June 1, 2021. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/articles/article/communities-in-schools-cis-challenges-proposed-federal-and-state-bans-on-teaching-anti-racism/ ^
  6. “Communities In Schools Announces Challenge Schools Winners.” Communities in Schools. January 31, 2019. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/press-room/resource/communities-schools-announces-challenge-schools-winners/ ^
  7. “The Power of Partnerships.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-funders/ ^
  8. “Communities In Schools Cape Fear celebrates $1.5 million gift from MacKenzie Scott.” WECT News 6. February 3, 2022. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.wect.com/2022/02/03/mackenzie-scott-gives-15-million-gift-communities-schools-cape-fear/ ^
  9. Raquel Torres. “Palo Alto College forms partnership with Communities In Schools to bring students back to higher education.” San Antonio Report. February 22, 2022. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://sanantonioreport.org/palo-alto-college-communities-in-schools-higher-education/ ^
  10. “Rey Saldana.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-leadership/profile/rey-saldana ^
  11. “William Milliken.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-leadership/profile/william-milliken ^
  12. “Elaine Wynn.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-leadership/profile/elaine-wynn ^
  13. “Rey Saldana.” Communities In Schools. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/about-us/our-leadership/profile/rey-saldana ^
  14. “Client Profile: Communities in Schools Inc.” OpenSecrets. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2021&id=D000049570 ^
  15. “Communities In Schools CEO Calls on President Trump to Address the Problems of Country’s Most Disadvantaged Students in Proposed Budget.” Communities In Schools. March 16, 2017. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.communitiesinschools.org/press-room/resource/ceo-addresses-trump-proposed-budget/ ^
  16. “Client Profile: Communities in Schools Inc.” OpenSecrets. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/clients/summary?cycle=2021&id=D000049570 ^
  17. “Communities In Schools Inc.” ProPublica. Accessed February 27, 2022. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/organizations/581289174 ^
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: September - August
  • Tax Exemption Received: May 1, 1977

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Sep Form 990 $26,912,820 $34,345,567 $83,589,939 $2,612,965 N $23,050,914 $459,571 $1,752,973 $1,971,752 PDF
    2018 Sep Form 990 $65,736,074 $27,024,005 $92,149,113 $2,431,456 Y $62,995,715 $152,070 $1,382,018 $1,640,941 PDF
    2017 Sep Form 990 $21,261,173 $20,927,294 $54,061,970 $2,640,897 N $19,795,694 $367,934 $853,039 $1,974,412 PDF
    2016 Sep Form 990 $14,205,926 $17,673,379 $50,289,328 $2,152,089 N $13,546,072 $44,945 $657,016 $1,635,979
    2015 Sep Form 990 $20,497,128 $21,563,882 $51,376,312 $1,659,691 N $19,315,126 $69,490 $766,000 $1,629,407 PDF
    2014 Sep Form 990 $22,458,817 $28,337,323 $54,342,908 $1,853,696 N $22,610,901 $64,780 $714,252 $1,256,973 PDF
    2013 Sep Form 990 $38,217,427 $23,639,026 $56,148,386 $1,614,163 N $37,562,260 $71,959 $589,637 $1,193,587 PDF
    2012 Sep Form 990 $30,776,437 $18,810,512 $37,164,993 $1,378,830 N $30,381,049 $0 $391,895 $1,463,661 PDF
    2011 Sep Form 990 $19,895,583 $15,705,738 $24,019,728 $2,029,735 N $19,777,492 $0 $118,900 $1,005,909 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Communities In Schools (CIS)

    2345 Crystal Drive, #700
    Alexandria, VA