By Kathy Chouteau
Richmond Promise, the college scholarship and guidance program working to create a college graduating culture in Richmond, was awarded a national grant of $300,000 over two years from the Kresge Foundation to support locally-based Contra Costa College students.
The organization was chosen as one of the eleven national recipients of the grant award, the funding for which is made possible via a partnership with the President Obama-launched College Promise, and is a part of the College Promise 2.0 initiative (iCoPro2.0). The Richmond Promise said the grantees were selected due to their focus on research, programming and scaling the next generation of equitable, financially sustainable community college promise programs or “free college.”
The grant will expand existing college success coaching and campus support programming for Richmond Promise Scholars attending Contra Costa College (CCC)—a partnership among its organization, the college and Beyond 12, an Oakland-based college success organization. As part of the partnership, all scholars attending CCC will have a personal success coach and access to specialized campus support, said the organization. These measures aim to support students in earning their Associates Degree or certificate on-time or receive transfer support to four-year institutions.
The Richmond Promise is a college scholarship and guidance program established in 2014 with a 10-year, $35 million investment from Chevron Richmond. Nearly 2,000 scholarship recipients are actively attending college, and hundreds more are poised to follow in their footsteps. Learn more about the organization here.
Beyond 12’s efforts will look to pair scholars with specially-trained coaches that provide academic, social and emotional support critical to a student’s success, per Richmond Promise. Scholars will also gain access to Beyond 12’s virtual college coaching, text message notifications and mobile app.
The grant programming will also see Contra Costa College providing Richmond Promise scholars with laptops and facilitating scholar understanding and use of specialized on-campus resources, said the organization.
Richmond Promise Executive Director Christopher Whitmore said that advancing success in higher education within the local community means continuing to support community college students—a critical subset of the organization’s scholar cohorts that largely identify as people of color and first-generation college students. Many of these scholars also originate from low-income backgrounds.
Whitmore added that the foundation’s investment in the Richmond Promise “further strengthens our ‘promise’ to create equitable pathways of success that leave a lasting impact on community college students while they’re in school and throughout the following stages of their lives.”
Jason Cifra, interim vice president of student services at Contra Costa College, said that its work with Richmond Promise has been “transformational to our community and students,” and that the new collaboration with the organization and Beyond 12 will bring “much needed support to our Promise scholars, providing coaching and support to increase equitable access and success.”