ACE Scholarships

Empowering low-income families to choose a high-quality K-12 education
Sometimes I cannot believe it. A ten-year-old boy living in a Kenyan refugee camp struggling to learn basic lessons, one day receiving a full-ride scholarship to attend an elite university in Washington, DC, the capital of the land of opportunity. That is the power of education. That is the power of ACE.
– Dau Doldol

Economically disadvantaged students face several environmental, social, and economic challenges to leading a successful, prosperous life. Of the 1.2 million annual dropouts in the United States, 60 percent are from low-income families. Those without a high school diploma are four times more likely be a lifetime drug user, eight times more likely to spend time in jail, and 25 times more likely to use Medicaid. Education, for many, is the gateway to opportunity.


Founded on a belief that every child deserves a quality education, ACE Scholarships advances educational opportunities for low-income students, powerfully altering their possibilities for a bright, successful, financially stable future. ACE advocates for expanded school choice by providing children of low-income families with scholarships to private schools in grades K–12.

Education is a gateway to opportunity in America, but too often low-income students suffer the greatest setbacks to high school graduation. In Colorado, where ACE was first founded, the low-income high school graduation rate is only 68 percent — which means one-third of low-income students fail to graduate high school on time — and these rates are directly affected by the lack of access to a high-quality education. Low-income graduation rates across the country lag behind rates for middle and high-income peers.

ACE bridges the gap for low-income students by offering access to quality schools that fit a child’s needs—and these children are thriving. Each year, close to ninety percent of ACE Scholars graduate high school, and many of their graduates are the first in their family to attend college. By extending equal access to education and school choice, ACE is catalyzing positive societal transformation, beginning with each individual student and reaching nearly every facet of society.

The Story

Since its founding in Denver in 2000, ACE has been directly affecting the lives of thousands of children. Over the last 18 years, ACE has provided more than 28,000 scholarships, gifted more than $65 million in scholarship commitments, and established partnerships with 461 private schools in six states. ACE currently operates in Colorado, Kansas, Louisiana, Montana, Texas, and Wyoming.

Stand Together Foundation Partnership

With a replicable model and proven track record of success, ACE is poised to replicate into new markets and change the national landscape of school choice. Through a partnership with Stand Together Foundation, ACE is launching in Arkansas and San Antonio next yea and also expanding into Missouri, three communities with no school choice programs for at-risk students.

Denver, Colorado
est. 2000
Norton Rainey
President and CEO
Read bio
Norton Rainey is the president and CEO of ACE Scholarships and has served in this capacity for 14 years. He attended the University of Colorado on a golf scholarship and received his degree in business marketing. Norton is the coach for his boys’ competitive baseball team, plays golf at Colorado Golf Club, and enjoys fly fishing. Norton and his wife, Kara, recently celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary. They have three children, Jack (12), Ethan (11), and Grace (8). Kara is a second grade teacher at Arma Dei Academy, a private Christian school in Highlands Ranch where their children also attend.
Dallas/Fort Worth
Success Metrics
of ACE students graduate from high school
of ACE students are directly enrolling in college
scholarships provided
million in scholarship commitments
private school partnerships
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