In Northeast Iowa, as in other communities across the country, increasing higher education attainment is as essential to the local economy as it is to an individual's potential for success and social mobility. Not surprisingly, 38 states, including Iowa, have set their own goals for increased higher education attainment. For many young people, however – especially those that grow up in poverty – higher education can see out of reach. Factors that affect college attendance, such as academic achievement, personal and family expectations and financial concerns, are closely tied to socioeconomic status. This is of particular importance for black youth. According to the 2014 Kids Count Data Book released by Annie E. Casey Foundation, 40 percent of African-American children live in poverty – nearly double the national average. In 2012, African-American children were also nearly twice as likely as the average child to live in a single-parent family, putting them at higher risk of negative outcomes later in life, such as dropping out of school or becoming a teen parent. These are not just national trends. Here in Iowa, 43 percent of white adults hold college degrees, while only 29 percent of blacks do. The NAACP Scholarship for Minority Students was founded with these realties in mind. By helping black youth reach their higher education goals, we can create a more educated workforce and equitable community that will reap economic and social rewards for our region as a whole. You can support this cause and help minority students for years to come by giving to the NAACP Scholarship endowment fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Endowment funds are invested to create sustainable income for a cause forever, paying out a customary rate of 5% annually. Any earning beyond the 5% are reinvested. Your gift of $50 or more to the NAACP Scholarship endowment fund will also qualify for the Endow Iowa 25% State Tax Credit in addition to federal charitable income tax deductions.