A New Name for Foundation That Supports Low-Income Students

Dec 5, 2018

The Des Moines branch of the I Have a Dream Foundation is withdrawing from the national organization. It's changing its name and turning local.

Fifth graders at Findley Elementary School on Des Moines' north side where it was announced the I Have a Dream Foundation will become the By Degrees Foundation and focus on local needs.
Credit Rob Dillard / Iowa Public Radio

Des Moines schools have been part of the education initiative to prepare low-income students for college for 28 years. It will now be known as the By Degrees Foundation. Its chief executive officer, Emily Westergaard, says the name change better reflects the program’s mission.

“Our new name reinforces the belief that changing the trajectory of a child’s path by a few degrees can have a really big long-term impact in their futures,” she says.

Westergaard says the move will provide local control.

“As an independent organization, we’ll be able to fully customize our programming to meet the needs of our students and create local solutions that fit our Central Iowa community,” she says.

Westergaard says the overall goal of the By Degrees Foundation will remain the same – to immerse young people in a culture of college and careers beginning in kindergarten. It will also continue the College Savings Account program to help graduates pay for college.