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About CIS

Empower Children

Communities In Schools’ mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. We support students in ways that go beyond the classroom, helping them stay focused on graduating today, so they can go further tomorrow. 

Boy on computer

How We Started

Founder Bill Milliken started Communities In Schools in New York City in the late 1970s. He came up with the idea of bringing community resources inside public schools where they are accessible, coordinated, and accountable.

bill milliken“It’s relationships, not programs, that change children,” Milliken once said. “A great program simply creates the environment for healthy relationships to form between adults and children. Young people thrive when adults care about them on a one-to-one level, and when they also have a sense of belonging to a caring community.”

Communities In Schools is the nation’s leading community-based organization helping students achieve in school and prepare for life. Currently, the organization directly serves more than 1.26 million students and their families each year in more than 2,700 schools in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Mr. Milliken has served three U.S. presidents and has received numerous honors for his commitment to young people.

Forty years into our mission of surrounding students with communities of support, Milliken’s principle continues to guide our work and serves as a beacon for the next chapter in our history.

Core Elements

Unlock Potential

We help every student see their potential so they can fearlessly unlock it in ways big and small. Working inside the system to challenge it from the core, we advocate for their potential across school, community, and family—creating access to resources and opportunities that help them see, confront, and overcome the barriers that stand between them and their future.

Build Relationships

We amplify the power of each student’s potential by fostering transformative relationships in their lives. With caring adults who walk by their side and connect them to community resources designed to help them succeed, we support students in schools and beyond by building a lasting network of trust around them.

Break Down Barriers

We empower students to break through any personal challenges in their lives so they can define the future they want. No matter what it looks like, every student’s individual success adds up to a movement of change that tears down structural barriers and builds an equitable path to education for future generations.


Research indicates that providing mentors or adult advocates for students at-risk of dropping out of school is an effective dropout prevention strategy to help students address learning, social, and emotional needs that are barriers to academic achievement.

We strategically align and deliver needed resources and support so students can focus on learning. 

We are recognized by the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance, a rigorous evaluation process that fosters sound giving decisions and advances high standards among nonprofits. This along with our second four-star rating from Charity Navigator, places us in the top tier of nonprofits for financial stewardship and operational transparency. Every dollar that you donate to Communities In Schools of the South Plains stays in our community and helps continue our mission to empower the future leaders of our community. For more information, you can review our annual audits.