The Rainbow Push Coalition Education Initiative was formally known as PUSH for Excellence, Inc. (PUSH Excel). PUSH Excel is a tax-exempt organization founded in 1975 by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. and a number of nationally recognized educators to inspire students to strive for excellence in education in spite of personal, family, and community challenges that they might experience.
Advocating for educational policies that guarantee equal funding for all students without regard to race or economic standing; Engaging parents, students, and teachers in pursuing high-quality education and striving for educational excellence at every level; Forging partnerships with community-based and public sector stakeholders in education. Rev. Jackson launched PUSH Excel as a national model program with the purpose of connecting principals, parents, popular personalities, and students in a bond to have students at every level on the educational ladder to live the principals of,
“If my mind can conceive it and my heart can believe it, I can achieve it!,” or the familiar phrase that Rev. Jackson opens many of his talks with students with, “I Am Somebody”. The PUSH Excel principles were adopted by school districts in every region of America by 1980.
PUSH Excel was recognized by the US Department of Education under President Jimmy Carter and was later touted as one of the most thoughtful and inspirational programs that inspired, black and brown students, to move beyond their circumstances of poverty, violence, and inadequate educational resources to achieve excellence through education and positive community involvement.