Reach for College! was founded in 2005 by two urban educators who saw how to help disadvantaged students overcome the obstacles to higher education. In the District, only 64% of students graduate high school, and nearly a quarter of these never attend college or trade school, leaving many kids unprepared for a world in which over 80% of jobs require post-secondary education. So every day, as part of their academic schedule, 1,000 students in more than 20 classes in DC use RFC’s curriculum to boost their skills in college-level reading, writing, and time management. Classes in SAT prep, college selection, and financial aid help them navigate the application maze. Personalized attention makes all the difference: RFC-trained teachers encourage the less confident students, cajole the procrastinators, and celebrate with all the students when the acceptance letters roll in. And they do: 100% of RFC students receive college acceptances and 80% enroll in college right after graduation. It costs RFC $280 to get a student into college. You can play a role in the next acceptance.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 2

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; MD-Prince George's County

Age Groups Served: Teenagers; Grade 9-12

Ethnic Groups Served: African American, 98%; Latino/Hispanic, 2%

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income; Students

Schools They Work In: Ballou; Cardozo; Eastern; Cesar Chavez Public Charter (Capitol Hill); Cesar Chavez Public Charter (Parkside; Hospitality Public Charter; SEED DC Public Charter; Thurgood Marshall Public Charter; Washington, Math, Science and Tech Charter

Awards & Recognition

June 2011 Semi-Finalist for Social Impact Exchange Business Plan Competition

February 2010 Innovation Award from the College Board


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Budget (FY2014)

  • $3 million or higher
  • $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • The current budget for Reach for College! is: Less than $500k

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About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

The Catalogue selected us as one of its featured charities! Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $30 million for charities across Greater Washington.

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