Christmas came early for A Better Chance, the nonprofit that connects talent with extraordinary opportunity by preparing underserved students of color to attend the country’s best private schools.
Investing in the Future
The recipient of a $500,000 gift over two years from Boeing, along with a grant of $80,000 from the Knight Foundation, will allow the organization to invest more deeply in its alumni, says Sandra Timmons, A Better Chance’s president.
“It’s more than just providing opportunities for these young people. It is completing that circle, building that network, and allowing that network to fuel your continued operations. That’s why we are excited about that kind of recognition from Boeing and the Knight Foundation.”
The organization’s first ever seven-figure gift came from Oprah Winfrey. The first seven-figure gift of the organization’s recent 50th anniversary campaign came from an A Better Chance alum. Timmons says, however, that more work is needed to cultivate a kind of culture of giving back among its alumni.
The focus of the nonprofit has traditionally been on its next cohort of students, not on alumni relations. “Although we do need to stay in touch with and engage alums as volunteers and board members, but with our limited resources, we’ve focused on the next class.”
Changing Life Trajectories
A Better Chance serves 2,100 students in a network of 350-plus schools across the country—it is the only organization of its kind, Timmons says, that does this work nationally. Students are enrolled in schools in 27 states.
“We help the finest college preparatory schools in the country reach down deeply into communities of color,” Timmons says.
A key part of the organization’s work is with parents, who learn about educational options.
“Many of them are not familiar with some of these schools, so we build information awareness and also confidence. We connect them to other parents who already have children enrolled in A Better Chance schools. To the schools, we send students who are admission-decision ready. We won’t send students who have incomplete applications.”
Probably most importantly, A Better Chance helps parents navigate the private school admissions process. “We help parents prepare for these conversations; we tell them where to pull the requested information, and how to follow up.”
A Better Chance also makes parents aware of better charter and parochial schools.
For more about this extraordinary organization, visit its website.