Since 1998, Philip Morris USA has invested in positive youth development as a way to help address a core business concern: underage tobacco use. And over the last decade, Altria’s tobacco companies have supported educational programs in our headquarters community that promote the development of a strong future workforce.
We’ve learned a lot over the years from research, our partners, and education and youth development experts. We realize that academic achievement and healthy development are closely linked, and that children do best when the organizations that serve them work together toward a common goal.
Middle school is a challenging time for kids. They’re at increased risk for experimenting with risky behaviors and doing poorly or losing interest in school. Research shows that if kids aren’t physically healthy or are struggling emotionally, they’re unlikely to excel in school. To stay on a positive path, middle school kids need added support during school, after school and at home. Schools, community organizations and parents need to work together to make sure kids have all of the support they need.
Through the Success360° program, Altria’s tobacco companies invest in leading national and local non-profit organizations that serve middle school kids and their families. Success360° encourages collaboration among youth serving organizations to better connect the services they provide in and out of the classroom. In this effort, Altria’s tobacco companies help provide middle school kids with the full range of resources they need to succeed academically, make good decisions and avoid risky behaviors like tobacco use. For example, we support Communities in Schools in bringing resources to 1.5 million at-risk youth helping them to succeed in school. This model reduces barriers to school success and engages other Success360° partners to bring resources such as caring adults, tobacco prevention programming and enrichment programs focused on character-building values.
In addition to the programs provided by Success360° partners, we created the Altria College Opportunity Fund (ACOF) in 2012 as a way to provide scholarships to Richmond Public Schools graduates to help offset the cost of college. The fund acts as an extension of support shown to those students served by Success360° partners in the Richmond area. 2016 marked a significant milestone for ACOF, as its inaugural class of scholars attained or is currently on track to complete their bachelor’s degrees with many pursuing advanced degrees. Through this program, we have given more than $1.7 million to help 88 scholars continue to pursue higher education opportunities.
Success360° partners include such national and local youth-serving organizations as 4-H
, Big Brothers Big Sisters
, Boys & Girls Clubs
, Communities in Schools
and The First Tee
. In addition, our tobacco companies support adolescent substance abuse prevention and tobacco cessation programs such as LifeSkills® Training, 4-H’s Health Rocks! program and Project CONNECT. They also support Search Institute’s ParentFurther®