TCP was founded in 2003 by Dan Perkins, owner and Chief Executive Officer of MTS Technologies, Inc. Mr. Perkins, a Johnstown, PA native, wanted to create a program to give back to the community that supported him during his developing years. After meeting Barbara Grandinetti, who would later join the program as Founding Executive Director, Mr. Perkins sought to create a program that would further motivate high school students to succeed and achieve even greater things while in high school and beyond. Partnering with Bishop McCort High School in Johnstown, Mr. Perkins and Ms. Grandinetti formed an incentive program that would pay cash to students for their success. Realizing the need for this kind of program in additional schools, The Challenge Program, Inc. was formed.
Our mission is to partner with businesses to motivate high school students to excel both in and out of the classroom. This partnership creates good habits in students and provides businesses with tangible results for their investments.
The Challenge Program rewards four (4) students from each of the sophomore, junior and senior classes a $250 check, totaling twelve (12) incentives per school in the following categories: Academic Excellence, Academic Improvement, Community Service, and Attendance.
The Challenge Program is piloting the addition of a fifth award in 15 schools
called the STEM Award.(Science, TEchnology, Engineering and Math). THe
award was created in response to demand from high growth industries. In
each of the pilot schools there will be FIVE $200 awards with a total of 15
awards per school.
In addition, business partners are secured for participating schools to fund awards and, just as importantly, mentor students and support them in achieving their own long-term goals.
To date, the program was been introduced to over 333,000 students.
Support for The Challenge Program
- The Challenge Program was endorsed
by the former Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Dr. Gerald L. Zahorchak.
- The program has grown from one school in the 2003-2004 school-year to over 90
- The program has been introduced in 21 17 counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio.
- To date, the program has awarded
over $2,028,640 in awards to students. For the current school year, the program is scheduled to award an additional $315,000.
Nearly 103 local and national businesses serve as business partners, several of whom are
partnered with multiple schools.
- The businesses participating in The Challenge Program are diverse. The industries include: health care organizations, financial institutions, energy companies, and legal services.
- Seventeen businesses and individuals support the program as major corporate sponsors.
- The program has received major grant support from the Benedum Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, PNC
Charitable Trust Foundation, and the EQT Foundation.
The impact The Challenge Program, Inc. makes on the lives of high school
students can be read in the countless letters we receive from our award winners.
In addition to these testimonials, we have been able to capture live feedback
from high school students and educators participating in the program through an
online survey. The results of those 2,324 student surveys are as follows:
- 88% of students and 80% of educators believe The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in motivating students to strive for academic excellence.
- 89% of students and 78% of educators believe The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in motivating students to improve academically.
- 82% of students and educators believe The Challenge Program, Inc. motivates students to strive for improved attendance.
- 79% of students and 68% of educators believe The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal in encouraging students to participate in community service/service learning.
- 91% of students and 96% of educators would recommend The Challenge Program, Inc. to a school that does not have it yet.