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One America - A Better Chance, Inc.

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One America

Program: A Better Chance, Inc., Boston, MA
Contact(s): Judith Berry Griffin, President: (212) 456-1925
Purpose: To open doors of educational opportunity for gifted and motivated minority students

Background Program Operations Outcomes


A Better Chance was founded in 1963 by the heads of 23 northeastern, independent boarding schools. Their purpose was to racially integrate their student bodies and to give gifted minority high school students an opportunity to attain a high quality, college preparatory school education and enter highly competitive colleges.

Program Operations

Through its oldest and largest program, The College Preparatory Schools Program, A Better Chance has placed nearly 10,000 middle, junior and high school students in some of the nation's finest college preparatory schools. More recently it has developed Pathways to College, an after-school program with sites in Newark, New Jersey and Pine Bluff, Arkansas, which provides high school students with the guidance, resources and encouragement they need to make informed choices about their college education. A Better Chance has also established the Business/Professional Partnership Program, which introduces A Better Chance's senior high school students and college-age alumni to careers in business and law with the help of partnering companies and firms. An important part of The College Preparatory Schools Program is the Public Schools Program (PSP), operating in 25 suburban communities nationwide. This program benefits academically able minority youth from educationally disadvantaged areas. Each PSP is a community-based nonprofit organization operating under guidelines established by A Better Chance. Each local community establishes its own mini-boarding school that is supported by the generosity and expertise of the town's citizens. A Better Chance scholars in PSP attend the local high school while living in a community sponsored residence or PSP house. Each PSP is run by local residents representing all segments of the community who work together as the board of directors, raising funds and providing program support. The board selects students, acquires and furnishes the PSP residence, provides academic and personal counseling, arranges transportation for the students, hires PSP staff, and appoints host families who become an additional source of support for the students.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

More than 99 percent of A Better Chance's graduates immediately go on to college, attending schools such as Harvard, Yale, Wesleyan, Oberlin and Stanford. Over 90 percent of them receive college degrees. Each year, A Better Chance places 350 students in one of its 193 member schools nationwide. A Better Chance graduates, numbering close to 9,000, have achieved success as elected or appointed officials, educators, journalists and business professionals.

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