We know there are thousands of deserving nonprofits out there, but, we are biased 🙂 – and we happen to think that we are doing something pretty special here at Ryan Banks Academy. The RBA mission speaks for itself – we are reimagining and redesigning an educational system that is responsive to the needs and experiences of all young people, particularly students of color from low-income backgrounds. Our mission to become Chicago’s first boarding school is a disruptor in an otherwise stagnant and broken educational system that is currently not equipped to serve our most vulnerable youth, a solution that tens of thousands of Chicago students need in order to have a fighting chance at the opportunities that others of us grew up having easy access to.
But aside from the mission, those of us who have been a part of this organization from the beginning are also driven by the sense that we are doing something groundbreaking, something truly transformational. We aren’t a well known and well-established nonprofit like Big Brothers Big Sisters, and we aren’t the Red Cross (though we love both of those organizations!) – which means that every gift we receive makes a lasting impact on the lives of our students. And it also means that those who support us at this early stage – whether via donations, their time, or by spreading the word – can share with us the incredible feeling of knowing that together, we are blazing a trail.
This year thanks to two of our amazing donors, we were able to take our students for the second year in a row to see the Hamilton musical. For those of you who have seen Hamilton, you may recall the undercurrent of taking a stance – doing the thing that seems impossible, that others scoff at, because you are certain of its importance – and the theme of ‘who will tell your story’.
One of my favorite lines from Hamilton is:
“Legacy/ What is a legacy? It’s planting seeds in a garden you never get to see.”
I was reminded of that quote recently when I spoke with one of our founding students who is now in 8th grade. All of our students are very aware of the fact that RBA is in a unique position, where every day we are hustling for the funding necessary (both private and public) to make RBA the thriving and sustainable organization that our students deserve us to be for them.
He shared the following regarding why he would urge someone to support RBA:
“People should want to help Ryan Banks Academy because it might be the beginning of something that is bigger than all of us.”
Your support to us during this important and critical time not only allows us to continue to build something bigger than all of us, it also means that you are leaving your fingerprints all over this organization and our impact on our students. Please consider an end of year gift to RBA- because just like the history books will remember Hamilton, we are doing something that will change history – and it will be because of you.
Thank you for everything you do!
Founder & CEO
Ryan Banks Academy