Bill Milliken

Bill Milliken, Founder and Vice Chairman of Communities In Schools, Inc. (CIS), is one of the nation’s foremost pioneers in the movement to give young people the help they need to graduate from high school and go on to rewarding lives.  CIS is the nation’s leading community-based organization helping students achieve in school and prepare for life. Currently, the organization serves more than 1.26 million students and their families each year in over 2,700 schools in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

In 2022, CIS received a transformative gift of $133.5 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott that will help deepen CIS’s impact in schools across the country. The  Ballmer Group has committed up to $165 million to help the organization scale its integrated student support model to 1,000 new majority low income (i.e., “Title I-eligible”) schools.

Milliken’s activism began in 1960 when he joined Young Life, an ecumenical youth organization. He helped initiate “street academies” for young people who had dropped out of school and wanted a chance to resume their education, as well as live-in programs for substance abusers and youth in need of shelter and support. His experiences led him to search for a comprehensive approach to helping young people, and he developed the Communities In Schools network in the 1970s, which he led as President until May 2004.

Milliken has served three U.S. presidents and has received numerous honors for his commitment to young people. He was the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Award for National Service, the Visionary Ambassador’s Award from Usher’s New Look Foundation, and the National Jefferson Award for Public Service, which is widely regarded as the “Nobel Prize” for outstanding community and public service.

Milliken serves on the boards of Leadership Foundations of America, PathNorth, and Communities In Schools of Northern Virginia. He is the author of four books: So Long, Sweet Jesus; Tough Love; The Last Dropout: Stop the Epidemic!; and From the Rearview Mirror: Reflecting on Connecting the Dots.

He received an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters in 2007 from Bard College.

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