Pathways to and through college

We seek to propel more underrepresented students – especially low-income, first-generation, African American, Latino, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Native American students – into two- and four-year institutions, prepare them to succeed and increase the number of students who ultimately graduate.

Focus Area Overview

Many of our target students are the first in their families to attend college.  

The potential cost of a college education, as well as the admissions and financial aid bureaucracies, can be daunting. Once in college, many students have difficulty making the transition to postsecondary courses – often despite good high school records. Almost half of all community college students need remedial or developmental classes in math, reading or writing to perform at the college level. Work and family responsibilities often complicate students’ ability to complete degrees.

We support networks of colleges, research organizations and community-based organizations that work to remove those barriers to access and success. We are interested in efforts that have broad and meaningful impact beyond the boundaries of any one campus. Our goal is to fund innovative, sustainable programs that can easily be taken to a larger scale to foster:

  • College readiness.
  • Awareness of and access to financial aid.
  • Research into and models for removing barriers to student success.
  • Advocacy efforts for student success.
  • Two- and four-year degree and certificate completion and attainment of family-supporting wages.
  • Innovations to add education capacity, such as online teaching.
  • Technological improvements in teaching to enhance learning.

Application Process

We have a two-step application process that begins with an inquiry, submitted via an online application system.

  1. Part 1, the preliminary application, contains a data-entry component and several attachments, including a narrative explanation of the proposed work.
  2. If the activity you describe fits one or more of our strategic priorities and our budget, we then request additional information through our online application system. This will constitute Part 2 of the application process.

We accept and review inquiries on an ongoing basis. 


Who may apply?

  • U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations, except private foundations.
  • International 501(c)(3) equivalents.
  • Government entities.

Who may not apply?

  • Individuals
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status
  • Organizations that require membership in certain religions or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)
  • Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations

We rarely fund:

  • Scholarships.
  • Programs at individual colleges or universities.
  • Capital projects.
  • Organizations with budgets of less than $1 million a year.

We do not fund projects outside the United States or South Africa.