Striving and Springing to College

Two remarkable young men realized in college that they had been fortunate in their college preparation, selection, and attendance. The both decided to do something about it. They organized nonprofits and stepped into the CEO role when the graduated.

Michael Carter recognized this dilemma as an incoming freshman at Washington University four years ago and decided to do something about it. He formed Strive for College and began recruiting his college classmates to support the post-secondary planning of high school students. He also started calling me and didn’t give up until I joined his board.
People are drawn to Carter’s story. Richard Kahlenberg wrote about Carter in Chronicle of Higher Education in 2010. Carter was Recognized as CNN Hero last month. Strive has a dozen college chapters nationwide.
In 2008, Garrett Neiman and fellow Stanford student Jessica Perez founded CollegeSpring to attack the college access problem. After graduating, Garrett became CEO. CollegeSpring works in California cities to help low income students prepare for college entrance exams. They are California’s largest nonprofit provider of SAT prep services to low-income students and want to be the largest in the United States.
Like Strive, CollegeSpring matches college student mentors to high school students. They have an efficient recruiting process, a proprietary curriculum, and partnerships with leading school networks. They have raised $2.5m from local and national foundations.
Garrett and Michael are great examples of a generation of young people dedicated to making a difference. As CEOs of organizations propelling low income students to the best colleges possible, they are doing just that.
For more on Strive, see Michael’s Chicago Ideas Week speech:

CIW TALK: Giving: Michael Carter from Chicago Ideas Week on Vimeo.
Disclosure: Tom is on the board of directors for Strive.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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