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PORTER-BILLUPS LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
AT REGIS UNIVERSITY
CHARTER & HISTORY
Along with the liberal arts education provided at Regis, several centers and institutes are supported
by the University. Operated under the University's 501(c)(3) umbrella, the Porter-Billups
Leadership Academy (PBLA) is one of the Regis centers that offers programs to meet the cultural,
economic, environmental, social and urban challenges locally. Founded in 1996 by Regis'
longtime men's basketball coach, Lonnie Porter, PBLA is the flagship of college prep programs at
The three-week Academy is held each summer on the University's main campus in northwest
Denver, Colorado. Academy students, who are about to enter grades 4 through 12, receive
preparation to become leaders among their peers and gain the skills to prepare them for college.
Students who successfully complete seven years of the Academy and qualify for admittance, are
provided scholarships for tuition and fees to Regis University.
PBLA targets at-risk, low income Denver youth in grades 4 through 12 to participate in the long term
program. Students are selected through a rigorous process that begins with a recommendation
by a student's teacher at their elementary school. Applicants must exhibit a positive attitude, have
good school attendance, and maintain an excellent disciplinary record in their schools. PBLA
students are also expected to display a love of learning and leadership qualities in the classroom.
Along with the recommendation, students must complete an application, and parents must provide
the student's birth certificate and proof of US citizenship. As part of the application process,
students are expected to write an essay explaining their desire to be a part of the Academy,
followed by a one-on-one interview with the PBLA director.
The following demographics apply to the class of 2015 PBLA students: Hispanic 4 7%, African American 33%, Caucasian 13%, Other 7%; Females 61%, Males 39%; Families reporting income
below $40,000 = 14%, Families reporting income below 30,000 = 14%; Families reporting income
below 20,000 = 13%.
Statement of Need:
A recent longitudinal study completed by the Piton Foundation found that only 39% of high
school graduates of Denver Public Schools (DPS) earn a four year college degree within six years
of finishing high school. That figure dropped to 25% for low income students. Nationally, the
2009 U.S. Census Bureau reports that bachelor's degrees are held by only 13% of Hispanics and
20% of African-Americans. The Lumina Foundation offered a solution to problems of college
access and success for low-income youth: early college prep programs coupled with the guidance
of caring adults.
Even before the Lumina Foundation offered its solution, PBLA was engaged in its important
work. In 1996, Regis University men's basketball coach Lonnie Porter established the Lonnie
Porter Leadership Academy to provide academic and leadership training to at-risk inner city
students from Denver. In 2006, NBA star Chauncey Billups joined forces with Porter and the
program was renamed the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy at Regis University. Both men
grew up in inner city neighborhoods. They credit their success to the people who challenged them
at a young age to work hard and get an education. The Academy is a way for both men to do for
low-income youth what others did for them.
PBLA targets at-risk, low income Denver youth in ades 4-12 to participate in the long-term
program. Regis prov1 es on-going support for the summer Academy and full-tuition scholarships
to the University once PBLA alums successfully complete the 7-year requirement to qualify for
admittance. Since it was established in 1996, hundreds of students have been served through the
summer Academy. More than 100 of the 135 PBLA alumni have gone on to college, 37 have
graduated- 20 from Regis University.