Tonight, we're profiling Janice Brown, the superintendent of schools in Kalamazoo, Mich., who came up with a concept called "America's Promise." She spent five years schmoozing and talking with wealthy people in the area. She convinced them to contribute $12 million every year which allows every kid in Kalamazoo to go to college. They get a free ride if they maintain a "C" average and attend the school for a period of time. After four years they get 65 % coverage, and it goes up the longer they're in the school system.
The program has caused a ripple effect that has brought a lot of new families to Kalamazoo, transforming a depressed city and giving it a shot in the arm. Janice hopes after they're educated, these kids will want to come back and, as one student told me, "return the favor."
That's just for starters. Throughout the week, you'll meet other amazing Americans: people who saw a problem and took matters into their own hands to do something about it. They are also very selfless. These are men and women who are working for the greater good. We're lucky that they're smart enough to recognize a problem and realize they have the talent to help fix it.
But these stories are just the beginning. In the months to come, we want to highlight more people who are not getting the attention they deserve. And we need your help. If you know of anyone who fits the mold please e-mail us your ideas (please write, "American Spirit" in the subject line). Meantime, watch the series and tell us what you think. We look forward to hearing from you!