Drew Charter School opened in 2000 in the East Lake neighborhood. The junior and senior academy enrolls more than 900 students. Another 1,000 students attend the elementary school.
The funding will be used to provide students with leadership training, mentorship and networking opportunities, field trips, access to guest speakers and scholarships.
Many middle and high school students will benefit, Drew’s Head of School Peter McKnight said. He said it’s especially important for students “to see themselves in the leaders” that they meet and learn about their unique journeys into prominent positions.
“We are really looking at tapping into the business and leadership community here in Atlanta,” McKnight said in an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
At Johnston’s request, the initiative is named for two leaders who made a major impact on Atlanta. Tom Cousins, a real estate developer, started the East Lake Foundation in 1995. Billy Payne led the effort to bring the 1996 Olympics to Atlanta.
”These visionary leaders inspired me to think beyond the horizon. I sincerely hope to prepare all Drew students for greatness — beyond what is provided in their academic careers — so I am thrilled to fund the creation of the Tom Cousins and Billy Payne Leadership and Service Program,” Johnston said in a written statement.
The program will connect students to leaders, from CEOs to those in middle management positions. It will also provide opportunities for hands-on service learning projects, McKnight said.
Some components of the program will start this spring, and he expects the program to fully launch next school year.