Industry News

Bottom Line Receives $15 Million Grant For College Scale Up

By eLearning Inside
September 14, 2022

Bottom Line (BL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to educational equity, has announced a $15 million grant from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Bottom Line is a nonprofit organization that works to eradicate the gaps in degree attainment rates by income and elevate racial equity and economic mobility for students of color. BL partners with degree-aspiring students of color as they get into college, graduate, and go far in life, by providing them with the individual support they need to persist, earn a degree, and launch their careers.

The organization’s model is recognized for its rigorous, externally validated proof-of-impact on college enrollment, persistence, and graduation.

Championing Racial Equity

“We are honored to receive this significant gift from MacKenzie Scott, whose vision and generosity in philanthropy are unparalleled,” said Bottom Line’s CEO Steve Colón. “The grant is a highly significant acknowledgement of the proven impact of our work and allows for expansion of our model. By scaling up, we can shift the status quo and change the trajectory of racial equity in degree attainment and the economic gains that follow.”

The MacKenzie Scott grant will allow Bottom Line to accelerate the implementation of its strategic plan, which focuses on:

  • Planning and execution of investments in national growth and expansion;
  • Planning and seed funding for growing the number of students served in existing regions;
  • Infrastructure and resources to maintain consistently high programmatic impact; and
  • Investing in the long-term sustainability of the organization.

Nationwide Expansion

Expansion plans include increasing the number of students in the Massachusetts, New York, and Chicago regions that Bottom Line currently serves while adding Ohio and two additional geographic regions. The goal is to directly serve 20,000 students annually, as well as reach 400,000 with the BL program model and tools through partnerships.

An independent research report on “The Bottom Line on College Advising: Large Increases in Degree Attainment” confirms the impact of current BL programs and the notable potential for expansion. Researchers found that “students randomly offered BL advising are substantially more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree within 5-6 years of high school.”

They found that the estimated impact of advising on bachelor’s degree attainment is roughly as large as the (conditional on aptitude) gap in degree attainment between children from families in the first and fourth quartile of the income distribution.

Continued Financial Support from Regional Backers

It was also reported that “While the observed degree effects are quite consistent across different types of students, the fact that BL primarily serves students of color furthermore suggests that substantial expansion of the BL model could contribute to increased racial equity and mobility in the U.S.”

Mr. Colón concluded, “We firmly believe that this gift is the result of sustained investments made by our national and regional funding partners over the past 25 years and a shared vision for success for our students. Their commitment to equity for Black and brown students is a key contributor to Bottom Line’s success.”

About Bottom Line For 25 years, Bottom Line has been fighting for educational equity by ensuring that the right to a quality college education is accessible to the many, not just a few. Its vision is to create a far-reaching ripple effect, launched by the transformative power of a college degree and a mobilizing first career. For degree-aspiring students from first-generation and low-income backgrounds, Bottom Line is a relentless ally that partners with them to get into college, graduate, and go far.

Featured image: melitas, iStock. 

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