The CAP & GOWN Project is a program started by J. O. Johnson High School teacher and wrestling coach Chris Scribner and his colleagues Emily Heller and Katharine Martin as a way to improve college matriculation rates and encourage students to consider continuing their education after high school graduation. The CAP & GOWN Project Fund "Creates Academic Pathways" for children from low-income homes through college tours, admissions counseling, and college entrance exam preparation so that 100 percent of our students graduate college and to "Guide Others Wherever Needed" when students are trained and supported to run their own community service initiatives. CAP & GOWN scholars have toured over 60 colleges from Montgomery to Massachusetts, and also participate in student-led community service projects. Since those first college tours, the amount of college scholarship dollars has tripled for Johnson students, and the college matriculation rate for Johnson graduates has increased by 600 percent.
About CAP & GOWN Project Fund
Jan Smith, CEO of S3, Inc., was the founding donor of the CAP & GOWN Project Fund, a new fund created at the Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison County. “I was inspired by Chris Scribner and Jailen Young, one of his students, after hearing them speak at the Community Foundation’s recent Summit on Philanthropy conference. The amazing results this campus visit program has achieved made me realize the need to help create a permanent source of funding for CAP & GOWN. I am very pleased to be able to help these students realize their dreams of higher education,” stated Mrs. Smith. Ms. Smith’s generous initial gift of $10,000 launched the fund, which was followed by a recent grant of $25,000 from the Alpha Foundation, as well as gifts from other donors. A generous donor has pledged to match up to $250,000 to make CAP & GOWN a permanent endowment, allowing the program to continue indefinitely.