The Academy

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.

We work with students starting in fourth grade and supports them throughout their academic careers and beyond. The Academy provides our 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 with dedication and stays out of trouble is guaranteed a job.

Our 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 The Academy Group members while leading to a model that, over time, becomes self-sustaining and minimizes the need for continuous philanthropic capital.

Our Members

The opportunity gap is felt most acutely by young people who live in underserved communities and compromised environments. We’re intentional about serving a diverse cadre of young people, the majority of whom (95%) identify as Black and Latino, and we’re proud to be creating pathways for students who need – and want – it the most.

The Outcome

Since initiating the model in 2017, the Academy Group’s investment is seeing significant returns. When compared to Chicago Public School students, 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.

TWF Social Impact

The Academy Group is part of TWF Social Impact. TWF Social Impact believes all people should have access to an excellent education, that a person’s ZIP code shouldn’t define what they can become, and that having the same access and opportunities as their privileged peers guarantees an equitable possibility of success. Beyond the Academy Group, TWF Social Impact programs include Chicago Beyond, OneGoal, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation, and MetroSquash.