As we look to 2021 and reflect on this unprecedented year, I wanted to share an update on a few of the big milestones of the Richmond Promise program and what we are looking forward to in the new year here at the Richmond Promise.
Looking to 2021, the Richmond Promise intends to continue to learn from our Scholars, zero in on equity gaps, and collaborate with our partners to build on bright spots to continue to grow our mission in support of our diverse and robust community of 1,500 students - Scholars like Nyalah, Jarschire, and Jada who are attending 100+ colleges and universities across the country.
You can find the Richmond Promise annual 2019-2020 progress report here, and below are listed additional updates of milestones we are proud of and areas we hope to grow as we look to 2021.
RP 2020 Updates & Highlights
- Wraparound Support to meet Scholar’s basic needs through and beyond the pandemic: When the shelter in place went into effect last March, we swiftly innovated to establish two funds to meet the immediate needs of our current college Scholars: a basic needs fund and a digital divide fund, which collectively raised $135,000 in direct support for over 500 students. Moving forward, we aim to sustain this vital pillar of emergency support through the establishment of a long-term Scholar Emergency Fund.
- We are also thrilled with our recent acceptance to the National League of Cities Community of Practice to address post-secondary students’ basic needs. We kicked off engagement as a Richmond team with the City of Richmond and Contra Costa College alongside 12 other cities across the country. We see this as an exciting and timely opportunity to deepen our partnerships around this critical area of need.
- Celebrating our largest class of RP Scholars!: This spring, we quickly pivoted all summer transition programming to provide a combination of virtual one-on-one coaching, workshops, and near-peer support, which allowed us to welcome our largest class of RP Scholars this fall!! These 503 new Scholars join the RP Scholar network of 1,500 Scholars across 100+ college campuses across the country. Learn more about our lessons learned and promising outcomes to support a successful college transition in our recent policy brief, published in partnership with the College Promise Campaign.
- Double Digit Gains in Financial Aid Completion through Classroom-Based Completion with West Contra Costa Unified School District: Our Near Peer, classroom-based approach to financial aid completion has led to tremendous growth in applications completed over the past two years - a key indicator of college access and success. At our two partner schools, Kennedy HS and DeAnza HS, we saw double-digit gains in completion over two years and almost 10% higher than the CA average. This year, we continue to work collaboratively with our high schools and college access partners to continue this momentum across high schools through digital support - with a specific focus on community college-bound students and students who may not already be plugged into a college access program.
- Keeping our Scholars at the Center - continuing to grow Student-Led Programming: At the Richmond Promise, we center our Scholars’ identity, belonging, and confidence as central to college readiness. One way we do this is by employing our current Scholars as leaders in our Near Peer & Summer Associates Program. This program provides professional development and employment for current college students and ensures that future Scholars are exposed to college-going role models at a young age. The Near Peer Ambassador Program will commence its fourth cycle in January. To date, we have employed over 80 Richmond Scholars, and attribute this programming to our increased levels of financial aid completion and the number of students who make a successful transition from high school to college.
- Looking to the Future - 2021-24 Strategic Action Plan: As part of our growth and development as an organization, this year, we took on the challenge of planning for the future of Richmond Promise. We drafted and created our next three-year strategic plan, which outlines our blueprint to enhance the Richmond Promise’s equitable impact and sustainability over the next three years. Here is a summary for you to get a sense of where we see our work moving and where partnerships will be so crucial to growing our mission and our goals ahead.
For additional information, contact:
Jessie Stewart, MCRP | Executive Director
Richmond Promise, Inc
Direct cell: 269-720-5247
Direct work: 510-620-6570
Student hotline: 510-230-0422
**Consider donating here to join RP's efforts to support our college students impacted by COVID 19. Donations to the College Student Rapid Response Fund will go directly to a college student in need**
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