On May 26th, The CollegeBound Initiative (CBI) will celebrate 15 years of helping more than 8,000 NYC public school students make their dreams of going to college a reality. In recognition of their commitment to educational equity, CBI will honor a stellar line-up of individuals at the event including NY Mets baseball player Curtis Granderson, Al Roker of the TODAY Show, 20/20’s Deborah Roberts, and Calamos Investments CEO John Koudounis. In an unforgettable moment, the nearly 500 guests attending will see how Grammy-award winning singer Usher presented, via video, a surprise college acceptance to Josephine Rivera, a CBI senior.

“We are thrilled that our honorees join us as champions who believe that education can disrupt the cycle of poverty,” said Jemina Bernard, Executive Director of the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN). “They met with our students and inspired them with their personal stories and insights on how to continue on the path to success.”  To date, CBI, which is a signature program of YWLN, has helped secure more than $300 million in financial aid. Ann Tisch, education advocate and reformer, established the Initiative in 2001 to create an opportunity for low-income students to benefit from the kind of intensive and comprehensive college counseling that is offered in private schools.

CBI places full-time, highly trained college counselors in more than 27 high-need public schools in New York City.  Just as in the best private schools, CBI counselors do it all: college tours, test prep, financial aid, scholarship resources, applications, essays, and interviews, among other critical aspects of college counseling.  CBI counselors’ sole responsibility is to work with students, as early as sixth grade to create a college going culture. CBI students attain bachelor degrees at four times the rate of their peers.

Proceeds from the event will support programming for CBI, which will serve more than 15,000 students this academic year and is slated to serve more than 18,000 through 35 schools next year.

CBI was established in 2001 after pioneering the program in the Young Women’s Leadership School of East Harlem, the first all-girls public schools in New York City in more than 30 years founded by Tisch in 1996.  CBI, which continues to grow in impact and scope, is a nationally recognized model of success sought out by educational partners, colleges and policymakers. This year alone, CBI students have been accepted to colleges across the country, including Skidmore, Cornell, NYU, Baruch, and other private and public schools.  Visit www.ywln.org to learn more.


Contact: Tamara Zachery