Many nonprofit organizations in South LA have made it their mission to not only serve their community but emphasize helping its youth push past the horizon as well. LA Promise Fund is one of those organizations. This OW staffer interviewed Jade Stevens about the program.

Q: What is the LA Promise Fund, and what is its goal/vision?

A: The LA Promise Fund is a nonprofit organization with a mission to prepare students for success in college, career, and life. To achieve our mission, the LA Promise Fund develops and implements high-impact educational programs and services that connect students and families to the resources they need to succeed and reach young people inside their classrooms. 

Q: What is Black College Success, and what led to its creation?

A: Black College Success (BCS) is an initiative of the LA Promise Fund that partners with select universities to create a college success pathway that empowers more Black students to complete a bachelor’s degree.

BCS primarily focuses on schools that serve South LA Black students. In year one, Black College Success partnered with Alexander Hamilton High School; Crenshaw High School; Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies; Manual Arts High School; New Design Charter – Watts; View Park Preparatory Charter High School; Westbrook High School; and others.

Q: What has been the impact of BCS?

A: We have exceeded our target of 150 high school seniors, partnering with CSU Fullerton; Xavier University; Dillard University; North Carolina Central University; UC Riverside; and more to offer college application and financial aid workshops. 

Further, students have received scholarship support via our collaboration with the United Negro College Fund; SoLA I CAN; and 826LA. Over 230 students have received direct support, guidance, and assistance through BCS programs and services.

The Department of Education awarded Black College Success, with an Education Innovation and Research grant for $4 million over five years to support evaluations and early implementation of our initiative. In partnership with the USC Rossier School of Education, the grant will evaluate and analyze BCS outcomes, including college admissions, retention/persistence, student disposition, and college completion. 

Q: How can students and parents become more involved with BCS?

A: Black College Success works closely with the school administrators and parents/caregivers. If a student is interested in the program, we recommend that they speak to the Black Student Achievement Program (BSAP) counselor or their school counselor to become connected with the LA Promise Fund.

This year, approximately 60 students will attend a California State University campus, 25 students plan to enroll at a University of California campus, and nearly 30 will attend a Historically Black College or University. The remaining students will attend either an in-state or out-of-state private college/university.

The program is unique because we will follow BCS students to college, assisting them with their educational endeavors.

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