SCS Noonan Scholars
SCS Noonan Scholars is a national nonprofit, with primary offices in Los Angeles and Boston, working to redefine what it means to be successful in college and career for our nation’s highest-achieving underrepresented students. “Scholars” in the program receive intensive academic preparation and college guidance prior to college, as well as scholarships, professional mentorship and career development support throughout college. With the support of SCS Noonan Scholars behind them, Scholars are equipped and empowered to realize their full potential and set career goals that have been traditionally considered out of reach for students with similar backgrounds.
SCS Noonan’s Scholars have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The average family income for SCS Noonan Scholars is approximately $34,000, so the financial burden and instability caused by the pandemic can be crushing. As the COVID-19 situation unfolded, SCS Noonan established the SCS Noonan Scholars Thrive Fund to provide nearly $100,000 in direct emergency financial support to Scholars.
SCS Noonan has also had to make changes to its annual Summer Academy program, an intensive six-week academic boot camp for high school students that usually takes place in a residential setting on the campuses of Amherst College and the University of Southern California.
“As our signature program and a key component for ensuring the academic success of our Scholars, we knew we had to find a way to adapt this program for our current reality,” said Dan Navisky, East Coast Executive Director.
“We are preparing for a new version of Summer Academy to ensure that Scholars receive the rigorous academic preparation at the core of our residential program, with some adjustments to account for the shift to a virtual platform and Scholars logging on from multiple time zones. Despite any changes, we will continue providing the same one-on-one college guidance, college transition planning, and career development training that we are known for, as well as extensive and engaging community programming to create a sense of connection and cohort bonding among likeminded students.”
The SCS Noonan team is also helping their high school Scholars who were recently admitted to colleges choose the right one. In fact, 94% of SCS Noonan’s Scholars were admitted to Top 100 colleges, 87% were admitted to Top 50 Colleges, and 51% were admitted to Ivy League or similar schools.
Boston Private is proud to provide sponsorship support and volunteers through SCS Noonan’s mentorship program. Boston Private has also hired Scholars for summer internships and has offered Scholars full-time positions.
Facilitating Meaningful Business Connections for First Generation College Students
NorthBridge Partners, a real estate investment firm based in Boston and Philadelphia, acquires, modernizes and develops “last mile” industrial properties. But the group is interested in more than just the real estate assets in the places they invest. Supporting the communities where they invest is core to the mission of the firm.
“We feel it’s important for us to invest in the potential of next generation, and youth in our communities, with the end result of closing the opportunity gap,” says Dean Atkins, Managing Partner and General Counsel, Northbridge Partners.
The nonprofit Coffee Connectors (managed in partnership with Inversant) was founded to help bridge the opportunity gap for first generation college students and graduates who grew up in underserved neighborhoods. Through the program founded by Atkins and Co-Founder Greg Lauze, a first generation college student himself, members of the North-Bridge leadership team leverage their 15 years of real estate experience and extensive networks to facilitate “coffee meetups” that match college students with a professional in an industry of interest. Following Coffee Connectors meetings, the professional contacts connect students with two more individuals from their network, further expanding the potential for meaningful business connections.
“Participating in Coffee Connectors, and engaging on a personal level with first generation college students and graduates, has been a rewarding experience on many levels. It is vital to capture the energy and drive of our future leaders, and to connect them with established banking and commercial real estate professionals, so they can expand their own networks. The commitment to Coffee Connectors that Dean and Greg have provides a stable foundation, where there would otherwise be a void,” says Emily Rush, Executive Vice President of Commercial Real Estate and Private Equity Sponsorships at Boston Private.
So far, approximately 75 students have participated in a Coffee Connectors event, and that number is growing—the team has plans to expand the Coffee Connectors program to other markets. To continue this work, NorthBridge is also setting up an internship program for First Generation college students. Learn more about NorthBridge and their Coffee Connectors program.