Education and Academic Support! / College Readiness and Retention

Posse Foundation/Posse Consulting

In 2016, the Heckscher Foundation provided support to Posse Foundation, a national college access and leadership development program that recruits underserved urban public high school students with leadership and academic potential, providing them with the opportunity to attend competitive four-year colleges tuition-free.

To date, 100 percent of Posse Scholars have graduated from high school and matriculated at college, and the program maintains a 90 percent college graduation rate. Posse’s success hinges on its cohort model, in which participants are placed in supportive, multicultural teams of 10 students, called “posses.” Posse Scholars attend one of 51 partner colleges and universities, where they meet with a mentor and campus liaison weekly to ensure retention and facilitate leadership and engagement in campus opportunities. Posse plays an integral role in career development and internship placement through employer partnerships, career workshops, and alumni networking; 70 percent of Posse alumni have obtained an internship or job through Posse and 92 percent of alumni are employed or in graduate school.

Through an underwriting grant from the foundation, Posse established a new initiative, Posse Consulting. Posse Consulting formalizes the organization’s expertise in the field of leadership development and diversity training and supports this work among external organizations to build and scale their college access and leadership development programming. Posse Consulting offers other organizations mentorship, targeted diversity training for their employees through workshops and daylong events, and training on how to reproduce these training programs. This initiative has enabled Posse to expand its impact in higher education as well as increase its influence over how college access programs and corporate diversity initiatives approach and address challenges related to promoting equity in their institutions. Posse Consulting has worked with other Heckscher grantees, including Henry Street Settlement and CollegeSpring.