PeerForward works with school leaders, educators, and students to ensure high schools have the kind of culture in which going to college is the expectation, not the exception.
DATES & AMOUNT OF INVESTMENT
2004 – 2009 | $2,126,542
PeerForward (formerly known as College Summit) targeted the DC metro area to establish a proving ground for a metropolitan college access model that could potentially send 3,000 students from low-income families living in this Region to college annually—many of whom would not otherwise attend.
While PeerForward is a national organization headquartered in Washington, DC, they needed to demonstrate local economies of scale with a viable and replicable regional platform and solution. The DC metro area—with its large school districts, high concentration of college-educated citizens and officials, large investment in schools, region-wide focus on closing the achievement gap, and growing numbers of talented, college-ready students from low income families—offered PeerForward the most favorable conditions for it to demonstrate a successful regional solution that establishes a platform on which to grow nationally.
PeerForward-NCR’s increased effectiveness has allowed the organization to grow from serving 400 to 2,838 students: a 609 percent increase in five years. The organization has established partnerships with seven key universities and twenty-seven schools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia (including three VPP investment partners), greatly expanding its impact on the Region’s talented low-income students.
Other noteworthy accomplishments that will contribute to increased effectiveness and improved capacity include:
Planning and Focus: Completed business planning in February 2006, facilitated by Monitor Group, resulting in a well-defined plan that describes the relationship between the local and national operations and management.
Human Capital—Board and Senior Management: Hired executive director after long recruitment period to complete six-member local staff team. Built new board, recruiting eight out of eight needed members.
Operational Effectiveness: Business planning helped PeerForward gain greater clarity to move the organization to a higher level of impact by:
- Shifting to a “geographic” model for all sites that calls for tighter calibration across site-specific programs, sales, and development strategies;
- Redesigning criteria for selecting strategic partners (schools and school districts). Criteria designed around research-based principles that must be in place for the PeerForward program to be successful.