October 5, 2016 – New York, NY – In celebration of the Young Women’s Leadership Network’s (YWLN) 20 years of impact and success, nearly 1,000 guests gathered at the Waldorf Astoria for the 2016 (Em)Power Breakfast honoring YWLN’s extraordinary Founders Ann and Andrew Tisch.

Over the last two decades, thousands of lives have changed because of Ann and Andrew’s vision that all young people – regardless of their economic circumstances – should have access to college and a career beyond it. For twenty years, they have dedicated their time, energy and passion to making the American Dream possible for more young people.

It all started in September 1996, when Ann and Andrew founded the Young Women’s Leadership School (TYWLS) in East Harlem, the first all-girls public school to open in the United States in more than 30 years. The first students, 56 seventh-grade girls, unknowingly touched off an extraordinary change in the landscape of public education: they would receive an outstanding single-sex, college-preparatory education in a public school. Since the school’s founding, every single graduate has been accepted to college.

From there, YWLN established five Young Women’s Leadership Schools in New York City and 13 affiliates that replicate our model around the country. Today, through our network of 18 schools, we serve more than 8,000 girls nationwide. Two decades later, after the first class of girls blazed a path at our first school in East Harlem, thousands of young women have followed in their footsteps, transitioning into higher education, with the majority being the first in their families to go to college.

Ann and Andrew’s vision didn’t stop there. In 2001, they created our co-ed CollegeBound Initiative (CBI), through which we place full-time, highly trained college counselors in New York City schools to work with students to apply to, enroll in and attend college. CBI serves more than 18,000 students at 35 public schools. An independent evaluation shows that students counseled through CBI enroll in college at double the rate of their peers and earn college degrees at four times the rate of their peers.