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Community Partnership

Champion for Community

Dave Bartram, Northeast Region

United Way role leads to Communities in Schools

For 15 consecutive years, Richmond Market President Dave Bartram has been a United Way volunteer, serving in a range of roles from account executive to Ambassador to allocations committee member. Recently, he also dedicated 18 months on a task force that assisted with the United Way of Whitewater Valley’s conversion to a “Community Impact Model” of operation.

It was during the 2009 UW campaign that Dave served on the funding committee for the Youth and Family Services division, and he was introduced to Communities in Schools (CIS) – a nationally accredited agency solely dedicated to drop-out prevention. At the time, Richmond Community Schools had a 55% graduation rate and had been designated by Johns Hopkins University as a “drop-out” factory. It was an immediate community need that Dave volunteered to help tackle through CIS.

Now, as a CIS board member, Dave explains the program’s approach. “We send trained site coordinators to Richmond Community Schools and to three of four Wayne County School systems to directly support students who are considered ‘at-risk’ of dropping out. This has been proven to be the most effective method of improving graduation success.”

CIS just celebrated its ten-year-anniversary in Wayne County, and graduation rates have now increased to about 72%. Dave notes that while there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done, educators in local schools attribute the improved graduation rates to the existence of CIS site coordinators.

He concludes, “I believe that if, as a community, we can close in on zero drop-outs, and begin to push toward 100% graduation rates, we will solve many other societal issues. As our children become better-educated, incomes improve, welfare dependency decreases and we become a more capable and stable community and society.”

Dave's other volunteer activities:

  • American Cancer Society walk and fundraising
  • Boys & Girls Club fundraising