This June, we watched the Supreme Court overturn Affirmative Action in education as we know it, ruling that the nation’s colleges and universities may no longer consider race as a factor in admissions. This decision is a direct challenge to what Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor emphasized in her dissent – that Affirmative Action “has helped equalize educational opportunities for all students of every race and background and has improved racial diversity on college campuses.”
“Although progress has been slow and imperfect,” she wrote, “race-conscious college admissions have advanced the Constitution’s guarantee of equality….” “The devastating impact of Thursday’s decision, she concluded, “cannot be overstated.”
Given this new educational context, it is critical – now more than ever – that we walk alongside organizations that work to close the education and opportunity gap in our county, and our partner, PeerForward, is doing exactly that. Over the last two decades, PeerForward has developed an incredible model that begins in high school and continues through college to ensure that students are not only accepted into college, but that they actually graduate from them.
How do they do this? PeerForward has tapped into an underutilized and undervalued resource that exists at every school: the students themselves. One of the best predictors of whether a young person will go to college and graduate is whether they have friends doing the same thing. Talk about using peer pressure for the greater good!
The impact of a college degree is life-changing. Graduates are more likely to become and stay employed, to have access to health care, to live longer, and to participate civically in their community. And because of our commitment to breaking down barriers for those who have often been left out, we are investing $50,000 into PeerForward’s efforts to continue to train young people and help close the education gap. Thank you for supporting this next generation of young leaders.