About The Academy Group

The Academy Group is an opportunity program. We are committed to closing the opportunity gap — based on the premise that with equal access to resources, students from the most challenging backgrounds will outperform those from the most privileged communities.

The Academy Group works with students starting in fourth grade and supports them throughout their academic careers and beyond. The Academy provides its members with all of the tools they need to succeed in spite of their circumstances. Members of the Academy receive individualized tutoring, mentoring, counseling, internships and full scholarships for college, trade school or technical school so that our members enter their professional lives with no educational debt. Anyone who completes the program and demonstrates relentless pertinacity is guaranteed a job.

Our Stories

Dominique runs her own radio station and she’s the finance director for a local nonprofit that’s reducing gun violence on Chicago’s South Side. She plans to become a Chief Finance Officer for a Fortune 500 company.

WE BELIEVE HER.

Carlos owns a clothing line, and he tells us that his sights are set on scaling his business through sheer determination. He knows his family and school can’t afford him the same preparation that’s available to young people his age in more affluent communities, but he’s undeterred.

WE BELIEVE HIM.    

Taofeeq, the son of Nigerian parents who immigrated to America, dreams of becoming a pilot and then plans to own an airline that offers affordable international flights for families of immigrants.

WE BELIEVE HIM, TOO.

Our Corporate Partners

We’re pleased to partner with a range of companies and institutions to provide internship opportunities for our exceptional young people. Our current partners include:

United Airlines

Guggenheim Partners

Lincoln Park Zoo

Cleveland Avenue

CFI Partners

Ariel Investments

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP

The Model

The Academy Group built a unique business model. Stakes in a number of successful and thriving portfolio companies were contributed to Academy Group Capital Holdings (AGCH) principally by the Walter Family. The revenue from the AGCH portfolio companies support the Academy Group by providing a significant portion of the Academy’s operating funds. But more than that, principals within many of the portfolio companies serve as mentors and advisors to the Academy Group members and the ACGH companies provide internships and jobs to Academy Group members during college and upon graduation. This innovative structure ensures opportunities for Academy Group members while leading to a model that will eventually be self-sustaining without the continuous need for philanthropic capital.

The Outcome

Since initiating the model in 2017, the Academy Group’s investment is generating significant returns. When compared to their Chicago Public School peers, Academy Group students see a 23% higher graduation rate, 46% higher college enrollment rate, 28% college persistence rate and a 28% higher grade point average.