Map It

Map City Services

Enter an address:
(e.g., 410 S Fifth Street)


Metro Newsroom

Mayor Seeks Commitments for College Graduates With "Count Me In!" Campaign

Tuesday May 29, 2012

Businesses, groups, individuals urged to join
55,000 Degrees movement

Flanked by members of the Class of 2012, Mayor Greg Fischer today announced an expanded effort to dramatically increase the number of college graduates by 2020.

The Count Me In! campaign – part of the 55,000 Degrees movement – invites businesses, schools, community groups and individuals to make a tangible commitment to help the community increase the number of college degrees by 55,000 over the next eight years.

“If we’re going to meet our goal as a community, we have to take responsibility individually,” Fischer said. “I’m asking the people of Louisville to make a solid commitment to earn a college degree or help others gain their diploma.”

Through the 55,000 Degrees’ website,, the Count Me In! campaign will compile a database of pledges from people willing to commit to earning a specific number of degrees toward the community goal.

The campaign invites people to join at one of three commitment levels – partner, ally or advocate.


Partners pledge to see a specific number of students through to degree completion. In the spirit of Mayor Fischer’s “one degree at a time” approach, partners will claim ownership for a specified number of degrees and will identify the programs, support systems, and/or strategies they plan to provide to students.

Some examples of partner-level actions include churches and community organizations identifying five students they will support between now and 2020 to complete their college education, a parent pledging to support their child through to college graduation, or an adult pledging to personally return to college and complete their degree. Also, an organization or company can join the Degrees at Work program to pledge to support a specific number of their employees in completing a college degree.


Allies pledge to lead and support high impact educational programs around the five objectives. High impact programs generally provide consistent and sustained support to students at any educational level and often require a substantive commitment from the student to participate. Organizations and individuals can pledge their support as allies by volunteering with, participating in or leading a high impact educational program.

Some examples of ally-level actions include setting up a scholarship fund for local college students, regularly tutoring or mentoring a student, incorporating college-going information into programs at your organization, or providing flexible work schedules at your business to accommodate adult students returning for their degree.


Advocates pledge to raise awareness and visibility for 55,000 Degrees. An advocate-level pledge entails an occasional or one-time volunteer effort or can be a consistent show of visible support for education and 55,000 Degrees. The goal for advocates is to keep the vision of 55,000 Degrees in the forefront of public awareness and to volunteer when possible with programs that support any and all of 55K’s five objectives.

Some examples of advocacy-level actions include sharing college access information with someone you know, advocating for policy changes in our local, state, and federal government, fundraising for scholarships or gift in kind donations, and representing 55,000 Degrees at college fairs, public events, etc. as a 55K Ambassador.

Mary Gwen Wheeler, executive director of 55,000 Degrees, said the campaign will urge mutual accountability through posting the pledge commitments online and seeking progress reports every six months from those who enlist.

“Count Me In! is much more than a campaign slogan,” Wheeler said. “It’s a personal promise to do what you can to achieve the goal.”

For more information about 55,000 Degrees and the Count Me In! campaign, go to

Founding Partners of 55,000 Degrees

55,000 Degrees is a partnership formed to support the Greater Louisville Education Commitment. The Founding Partners are leaders in education, business, government and civic life and they are all committed to increasing the percentage of the Louisville workforce with college diplomas to 50 percent over a 10-year period. All Founding Partners serve on the 55,000 Degrees Board of Directors.

Higher Education Partners

Bellarmine University

Indiana University - Southeast

Ivy Tech Community College, Southern Indiana

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Simmons College of Kentucky

Spalding University

Sullivan University System

University of Louisville

K-12 Partners

Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools

Jefferson County Public Schools

Funding Partners

Community Foundation of Louisville

James Graham Brown Foundation

Business Partners

Greater Louisville Inc.,

Business Leaders for Education

Houston-Johnson, Inc.


Louisville Metro Government

Spatial Data Integrations, Inc.

Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

Community-Based Partners


Louisville Urban League

Metro United Way

Count Me In! Pledges

Founding Partners (23)

Archdiocese of Louisville Catholic Schools

Bellarmine University

Community Foundation of Louisville

Greater Louisville Inc. - Business Leaders for Education

Houston-Johnson, Inc.

Indiana University – Southeast

Ivy Tech Community College, Southern Indiana

James Graham Brown Foundation

Jefferson Community & Technical College

Jefferson County Public Schools



Louisville Metro Government

Louisville Urban League

Metro United Way

Simmons College of Kentucky

Spalding University

Spatial Data Integrations, Inc.

Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

Sullivan University System

University of Louisville

Partners (13)

Americana Community Center

Coke Memorial United Methodist Church

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated

Family Scholar House

Hispanic Latino Business Council

Mid-Continent University

Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church

Phillips Memorial CME Church

Shalonda Long – Class of 2016

Theta Omega Chapter – Omega Psi Phi

Tilta Heard – Class of 2014

Universal Woods, Inc.

Westwood Presbyterian Church

Allies (13)

15th District PTA

Boys and Girls Club of Kentuckiana

Christ’s Church for Our Community

General Assembly Mission Council – Presbyterian Church USA

Highland Park Community Development Corporation

Jewish Family & Career Services

Junior Achievement

Louisville Central Community Centers

Deborah Mapp-Embry

Brooke McQuillin – Family Scholar House Alumna

Neighborhood House

Network Center for Community Change

Deborah Turner

Advocates (23)

Dan Ash

Center for Nonprofit Excellence

Kofi Darku

Nicole Eovino

FAMU National Alumni Association Kentucky Chapter

Chasity Grauel – College Advocate, Wyatt, Tarrant, and Combs, LLP

Hannah Hundley

Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition

Michael Kennedy

Ryan Massa-McKinley

Lilly Massa-McKinley

Tess McNair

Candace Medina

Emilia Ramirez

John Receveur

Mary Rivard – College Advocate, Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC

Spradling Memorial AME Zion Church

Stephanie Senglebrecht – College Advocate, Galt House Hotel

Myrdin Thompson

Eucharist Weaver – Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated

Mary Gwen Wheeler

Kathy Zandon

Anonymous (1)