Chattanooga Girls Leadership Academy (CGLA) has officially announced the launch of a $5 million endowment campaign in celebration of the school's 10th anniversary.

The public charter school was founded in 2009 as Hamilton County's first charter school and the state of Tennessee's first all-girls charter school.

In honor of the school's 10th anniversary, school leaders have been exploring ways to ensure the school and its students are set up for success for years to come. 

"Education is a currency from which we all benefit and prosper. CGLA is graduating students who feel hopeful and inspired. They are poised to fully participate in the community as productive adults; therefore, creating an endowment to secure CGLA's future is an investment that will strengthen and enhance our entire community," said Sue Anne Wells, co-founder of the school and local philanthropist, in a statement.

In the decade since the school has opened, it has strived to improve education outcomes for students. It has "navigated past hardships to become one of Chattanooga's most respected and distinctive educational resources, said Elaine Swafford, executive director of the school. 

"CGLA is positioned to explore the concept of "new" relative to preparing girls for the future. We are expanding and imagining what can be possible in the next 10 years," Swafford said in a statement. 

"Ten years ago, CGLA's founders decided that this ideal needed their advocacy and leadership. Today, CGLA's board of directors brings a unified, conscientious voice to establishing an endowment that will safeguard the school's future. Like the founders, the board is steadfast and intentional about nurturing the innate talents and curious minds of young girls," Swafford added.

The launch of the endowment campaign joins the establishment of a national alumni association to celebrate the school's anniversary and direct it toward the future. 

As a permanent source of revenue, endowment income will directly impact students by allowing CGLA to continually enrich and expand the learning experience. Specifically, these monies will ensure the school has the financial flexibility to maintain state-of-the-art, technologically-sophisticated classrooms, offer a comprehensive schedule of enrichment programs, hire outstanding academic instructors, and respond to the
individual needs of every student, according to a press release. 

Wells has also said she hopes to establish a college scholarship fund for graduates in the future. 

"Reflecting on our 10-year history, I am proud of our accomplishments and feel exceedingly enthusiastic about our potential," Wells said in a statement.

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.