Neil Shorthouse is the co-founder of the Communities In Schools (CIS) national network. The mission of CIS is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to succeed in school and achieve in life. For more than 50 years Neil has worked to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth through his work with CIS and other youth serving nonprofit organizations. The CIS strategy focuses on connecting community resources to support students and families, freeing students from distractions and not having basic needs met that can undermine the work of teachers, thereby improving graduation rates, increasing academic achievement and job and post-secondary school readiness. Today, 26 states and the District of Columbia provide CIS programs and services through 126 community-based CIS affiliates to more than 1.5 million students.
As past president and founder of Communities In Schools of Georgia, Neil remains active in promoting its work through fundraising and assisting CIS affiliates.
In 2013 Neil joined LeaderComm whose mission is to help communities create collaborative, integrated public and private service-delivery systems that address their most pressing needs and generate systems change. In 2018 LeaderComm merged into Leadership Foundations, to become the Colangelo Carpenter Innovation Center.
Neil attended public schools in Pittsburgh and Penn Hills Township, PA earned a golf scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh where he was team captain for two years, obtained a Bachelor’s degree in political science and was inducted into the Penn Hills Sports Hall of Fame. Neil also received a Master’s in Religion through Fuller Theological Seminary.
Today, through Leadership Foundations and other projects in Georgia, Neil promotes initiatives that seize on the dynamics needed to improve the work of our public schools and the communities that depend on our schools to strengthen economies and quality of living. In addition to serving on the Leadership Foundations Board of Directors, Neil also leads Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice’s Board of Director’s development committee. He’s a past president, current secretary, and former Rotarian of the Year of the Rotary Club of Atlanta West End. Neil was honored in 2006 when the Georgia Association for Alternative Education established the “Neil Shorthouse Award”, which is given annually to an esteemed person promoting alternative education, in 2013 was a recipient of the William J. VanLandingham Commitment to Education Award by the Georgia Council on Economic Education, in 2015, the Presidential Sankofa Award from Georgia Piedmont Technical College, among other awards.
Neil works with a number of organizations to strengthen communities and the upward mobility and well being of their residents – including greater learning experiences for their children.