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 (5) students from each the sophomore, junior, and senior classes a $200 check, totaling fifteen (15) incentives per school in the following categories: Academic Excellence, Academic Improvement, Community Service, Attendance, and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).
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 122
- The program has been introduced in 32 counties in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland.
- 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.
- 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 2,736 student responses collected for
the 2012-2013 school year showed staggering support for the program:
- 91% of students believe "The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its goal
in motivating students to strive for academic excellence."
- 90% of students believe "The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its
goal in motivating students to improve academically."
- 83% of students believe "The Challenge Program, Inc. motivates
students to strive for improved attendance."
- 78% of students believe "The Challenge Program, Inc. meets its
goal in encouraging students to participate in community service/service
- 92% of students "would recommend The Challenge Program, Inc.
to a school that does not have it yet."
2012-2013 Student Status Report”