Dear Founders, Partners, Friends and Supporters of GearUp2LEAD,

As we approach the end of our third year, we have been reflecting and taking stock of the incredible progress we’ve made. I’m truly encouraged by what we and you, our partners, have accomplished in just 12 short months. More importantly, while we acknowledge the mountain of work ahead of us, I am deeply hopeful about what the future holds and know that if we stay the course, we can continue to build on this year’s momentum.

At GearUp2Lead our team is continuing our impact by immediately putting our funders’ generosity to work. In one year alone, here are some of what your contributions have afforded:

The GearUp For Success Conference – over 900 students and teachers attended this year’s conference. We had an incredible line-up of speakers and realized quickly that we need to do this every year!

A new location – with our growth trajectory, we needed to find a new home that could support the needs of our students. We had the great good fortune to find a new home and partnership at the  New Bethel Methodist Church.

Significant enrollment increase – in our three years of operation our numbers have increased considerably and our graduation rate continues to grow every year.

  • 2016/17 school year; 13 students of which one graduated

  • 2017/18 school year; 27 students of which seven graduated

  • 2018/19 school year; 48 students of which four have already graduated and 13 are on track to graduate this Spring

Additional speakers, mentors and volunteers – We have many people from the community and beyond who visit GearUp on a weekly basis to deliver messages of hope and inspiration. These generous folks also support our students through tutoring and mentoring.

Essential and basic needs met – We provide breakfast and lunch daily. ELGA Credit Union has provided a food pantry to help meet additional food needs of our students. We provide transportation to and from school through our partners at the MTA. We have also received hundreds of clothing donations, which are a great help for students on restricted incomes..

As a testament to the impact of your contributions and donation, here are just a few testimonials from our students:

“…For the first time in 11 years that I have been in school, I have hope that when I wake up that I will succeed…I have people that believe in me…GearUp Academy is one of my biggest blessings…”

“…I was struggling, my grades were low, I was failing and I wanted to give up…the support and confidence that GearUp has provided me has changed my life, it was a miracle…”

“…I used to feel like I would never make it or be anything, but now I am so hopeful for the future because I know GearUp has my back and I know they will not let me fail…I consider myself lucky for this opportunity…”

With your help, we look forward to continued success in 2019. For now, let me point out a few highlights:

Intervention specialist: We will be welcoming a renowned intervention specialist, Richard K. Thompson, to our staff. RKT will serve as the Dean of Students and will have the particular responsibility of evaluating the needs of each student and creating programs designed to meet those needs. This type of individual attention will build stronger student-teacher relationships, encourage higher expectations for students, and develop positive discipline techniques. We are absolutely thrilled to be able to add someone of RKT’s professional experience and reputation to our staff. RKT joins us with experience as a director of an alternative high school here in Genesee County, and as the former president of the National Alternative Education Association.

GearUp for Success Conference: We are also looking forward to our 5th annual GearUp For Success conference on March 19, 2019 and hope you will consider once again to contribute  to its success. Attached you will find more information and details on how to become a sponsor of this amazing event. We invite  you to join us at a cocktail reception on the night before the event at which time we plan to properly thank you for your generosity. We hope to see you all there.

Gofundme page: We continue to raise donations through our gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/GearUpAcademy. We are thrilled to have raised almost $7,000 in just one month with funds going directly to providing basic needs of our students. With basic needs met, students are better able to focus on their continued success within the GearUp program. Thank you to all who have contributed directly as well as spread the word to friends and family. Your impact has been felt.

The  success of the school and our program could not be possible without all of you. It is your continuous generosity that keeps our hopes and spirits high and for that we are especially  thankful. Let me also take this opportunity to thank Kelly Rogers, who has been critical to the success of our enterprise. I am deeply grateful for her partnership and cannot adequately express in words how instrumental her passion for these students has been. We are incredibly lucky to have her with us and I’m looking forward to what we can accomplish in 2019.

As you can see, this message to you is one of gratitude. I also want to explicitly thank the list of partners who are so crucial to our success. You can see the list below. While 2019 will surely bring more opportunities and challenges, we are eager to add to this long and growing list.

The future is bright indeed.


Winston Stoody
Executive Director

We are most thankful for our founders, partners, sponsors and donors who continually ensure our ability to make a real difference in the lives of these students:


Phil & Jocelyn Hagerman, Jim & Patty Peabody, Nita & Bobby Mukkamala, Mary & Winston Stoody, Ed Koza, Article One Eyewear, ELGA Credit Union, Speed & Connie Leas, Dan & Jen Farrell, Dr. & Mrs. Katneni, William & Manisha Kimmel, Dee Cramer, Northgate, Beth & Gary Fazzio, Siwek Construction,  Jim & Carol Malenich, Asha & Madhu Kulkarni, Robert & Cynthia Bois


Fenton Area School District, New Bethel Methodist Church, Peckham, The Genesee County Court, MTA, ELGA Credit Union, Child Welfare Society


Northgate, United Way of Genesee County, U of M Flint, Bishop International Airport, Drs. Nita & Bobby, Mukkamala Family, The Hagerman Foundation, Dr. Mona Hardas & Dr. Kiran, Junior League of Flint, Regional Medical Imaging, Randy Wise Auto Group, Associated Radiologists of Flint, Drs. Pradeep & Anu Nagaraju, Drs. Parag & Prameela Patel, Dr. Amar & Pryia Amaresh, Dr. & Mrs. Kammareddi, Mclaren Foundation, Kettering University, Peckham, Clean Juice


Baker College, Lisa Wismer, Elizabeth Wise, Matt Norwood, Deeptha Rao, Dr. & Mrs. Mirsa, Associated Radiology, Kiran & Laximi Devisetty, Karen Church, Kitty Gazall, Sandy Burr, Beth Ward, Shawn Riser, Andy Goggins, Ronny Medawar, Travis Thomas, Trevor Ragan, Ryan LaFontaine, Mihir Parikh, Lindsey & Sam Jones, Sue Lauber, Paul Kocheril, Tummala Charitable Foundation (Sabita), Drs. Bobby & Nta, Ron Gillium, State Farm, Shannon & Ridgway White, Ghassan and Manal Saab, Sunitha Tummala, The Neuroclininc, C3 Ventures, Raymond James, Merrill Lynch, Collaborative Radiation Oncology, Digestive Disease & Clinical Nutrition, Dr. Buxton, Parul Sud M.D., Bell Lawn Care, Dr. Sreen Mannam, Mott Community College Foundation, Brad & Alexandra Foutch, Susan Preketes, Kathleen Gazall, Jill Norwood, Patricia Corfman, Mindy Prusa, Amanda Garza, Stephanie Zemaitis, Laura Snearly, Christina Fisher, Neil & Lisa Lokey, Pranjali Wakade, Charles Buckalew, Mike Kraus, Greg Jenkinson, Cheri Church Roberts, Chad and Brie Schedeler, Mikey Fanous, Cynthia Thakady, Kate Piper, Roger Polk, Michelle Roberts, Elaine Ballard, Shawn Reiser, Heather Kale, Karen Church, Venkat Rao, Lisa and & Jason Roharaff, Jeff & Annette Rowe