Steppingstone Foundation, Inc.

Life. Transforming. Results

Boston, MA   |  http://www.tsf.org

Mission

Steppingstone prepares students from historically marginalized communities to access, navigate, and graduate from college. In Boston, we provide academic, social-emotional, and college readiness services, beginning as early as fifth grade and continuing through college graduation. Nationally, we connect the people, practices, and innovations essential for eliminating barriers to college success. Ultimately, Steppingstone envisions a more just and equitable world where all students can actualize the life-transforming benefits of a college degree.

Ruling year info

1991

Principal Officer

Ms. Kelly D. Glew

Main address

One Appleton Street, 4th Floor

Boston, MA 02116 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

04-3086666

NTEE code info

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The economic and personal benefits of a college are widely understood, ranging from increased lifetime earnings and better health to greater community involvement and social-economic mobility. These benefits extend beyond the individual to impact families, communities, and generations to come. However, while an increasing number of Boston students are attaining post-secondary degrees and gaining access to the benefits of a college degree, the majority still are not. An April 2018 Boston Private Industry Council study cited that just 38% of Boston Public Schools graduates completed any type of post-secondary credential within six years of high school graduation. For many young people, the path to college is uncertain, and the road can be difficult. The challenges are particularly daunting for young people growing up in lower income households, young people of color, and/or first-generation college students.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Steppingstone Scholars Program

The Steppingstone Scholars Program is a college access and success program that prepares students from historically marginalized communities in Boston to graduate from a four-year college. Steppingstone Scholars are admitted to the program in grade 4 or 5. They begin by attending the Academy, a professionally taught, academic, out-of-school time program that helps students bridge academic gaps and build organizational and study skills. Steppingstone then helps Scholars gain admission to “right fit” middle and high schools so that they can have access to a college preparatory curriculum and high quality learning experience during the years before college. Throughout middle school, high school, and college, Steppingstone Advisors provide academic and social-emotional support to young people, helping Scholars navigate key transitions and life situations so they can achieve personal and academic success and ultimately earn their college degree.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Young adults

The mission of the National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) is to connect the people, practices, and innovations essential for eliminating barriers to educational access and college and career success for underserved students. We are a membership organization that currently includes 1,800 education professionals from over 350 member organizations and schools in 38 states. Members collectively serve more than half a million underrepresented students each year and include community-based organizations, academic enrichment programs, public, charter, and private schools, and higher education institutions. NPEA offers community forums and webinars throughout the year, holds an annual conference each spring, and provides a variety of other member services. Our community continues to grow and thrive because members continue to express the need and desire to come together with other educators to support students at every phase of their unique educational journeys.

Population(s) Served
Academics
Adults

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of program participants who receive a secondary school diploma or GED

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Steppingstone Scholars Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Cumulative since 1990. Compares to 73% of their Boston public school peers (Boston Public Schools 2019 Graduation Rate Report).

Number of scholars who graduate from four year colleges and university within six years

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Steppingstone Scholars Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Cumulative since 1990. Compares to 64% of their Boston public school peers (Staying the Course, Boston Private Industry Council, April 2018).

Number of high school graduates who enroll in a four-year college

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

Steppingstone Scholars Program

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Holding steady

Context Notes

Cumulative since 1990. Compares to 43% of their Boston public school peers (Massachusetts Department of Education data for the BPS Class of 2019).

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Steppingstone's straightforward, long-term goal is to increase the number of students from historically marginalized communities who graduate from a four-year college.

Related to this goal, Steppingstone’s major accomplishment continues to be high rates of high school and college completion among these students. Among Scholars who complete the academic preparation program (and for whom information is available), 99.5% graduate from high school, 93.8% enroll in a four-year college, and 80.6% complete a four-year degree within six years. These results well exceed both local and national high school and college graduation statistics.

Since 1990, more than 1,000 Boston students have completed a four-year college degree with Steppingstone’s support.

OUR PROVEN PROGRAM APPROACH

Steppingstone’s approach to improving college outcomes for Scholars in the Steppingstone Scholars Program combines the following four elements and associated activities into an effective lifelong learning and completion strategy. These core elements are based on three decades of experience, research in the field, and learning from our National Partnership for Educational Access which gathers and analyzes best practices among programs across the nation

1. We intervene early, right before the important middle school years. Students who do not build a strong academic foundation in middle school are likely to struggle in high school, which impacts college possibilities. This is also an ideal age to become part of a college-bound peer group and begin to think about college as a realistic possibility.

2. Our experienced teachers provide rigorous and engaging academic programming during the summer and school year. Scholars in grades 5 and 6 bridge academic gaps, realize their learning potential, and build organizational and study skills that will benefit them in middle school and beyond. The curriculum weaves together traditional liberal arts subjects, technology, and current events and features both individual and group work.

3. We help Scholars gain admission to “right fit” middle and high schools, based on a combination of educational and personal qualities. If a student attends a high school with a strong college preparatory curriculum, they will have access to higher quality learning and are significantly more likely to apply to college, be ready to enter college, and earn a degree. In addition to entrance exam preparation, we provide guidance around the application process for Boston public exam and independent schools and the selection process for Boston’s traditional public and charter high schools.

4. Our professional advisors provide academic and social-emotional support to students all the way through college, helping Scholars navigate key transitions and life situations that can become obstacles and interfere with success. In middle school, we offer fun and interesting program activities that help Scholars explore skills and interests and strengthen relationships within the Steppingstone community. In high school, the focus is on college readiness activities and the college application process. In college, advisors help Scholars learn to navigate campus, persist from year to year, and begin preparing for their careers.

OUR NATIONAL REACH

The National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) broadens the reach and impact of Steppingstone’s commitment to the national level, offering platforms for learning and idea exchange to strengthen the field of college access and success. With more than 350 member organizations in 38 states serving more than half a million students, NPEA drives progress, innovation, collaboration, and excellence in the field and across the country.

With more than 30 years of experience, an evidence-based approach, and proven results, Steppingstone is recognized as a national leader in the field of college access and success.

Steppingstone began in 1990 with a class of 14 Scholars offering a program model that helped them prepare from success at Boston independent schools. Since then, we have:
1. Developed programming to prepare students for Boston’s three public exam schools. As admissions have become increasingly competitive, Steppingstone has been recognized as one of the most effective ways for Boston students from low-income neighborhoods to gain admission to these selective schools.
2. Added program entry points and admissions options to increases students’ opportunities to gain admission to a right-fit college-preparatory school at multiple grade levels.
3. Expanded services to include college readiness and college admissions support for high school students and extended support to college-age Scholars to ensure persistence and, ultimately, college graduation.
4. Modified our program model to create a college-going pipeline within Boston public schools.
5. Replicated our program model in Hartford and Philadelphia, both of which serve hundreds of Scholars and have further innovated to meet the needs of their communities.
6. Established the National Partnership for Educational Access, a membership association that connects the people, practices, and innovations essential for eliminating barriers to educational access and college and career success for underserved students.

In July 2021, we launched the Steppingstone Scholars Program, the latest evolution of our core program model. The new program combines and builds on the strengths of our previous two direct service programs, offering increased flexibility around middle and high school options and expanded social-emotional, academic, and key transition supports for Scholars.

Among Scholars who complete the academic preparation program (and for whom information is available), 99.5% graduate from high school, 93.8% enroll in a four-year college, and 80.6% complete a four-year degree within six years. These results well exceed both local and national high school and college graduation statistics.

Since Steppingstone opened our doors nearly 30 years ago, we have been driven by the desire to make a meaningful impact in the lives of as many students as possible, in the City of Boston and beyond. In order to continuously respond to opportunities and the changing educational landscape, Steppingstone’s culture has prioritized innovation, evaluation, and impact. As a result, what started as a small program preparing 14 sixth graders for admission to independent schools now admits as many as 10 times that number. With programming that spans fifth grade through college graduation, Steppingstone annually serves more than 1,400 Scholars who attend a wide range of schools in the Boston area, including independent, public, and Catholic/parochial schools. Over the years, Steppingstone has expanded its reach across and within Boston public schools, replicated its core program model in Hartford and Philadelphia, and created a national association to connect hundreds of programs that were working in isolation to improve college access and success for historically marginalized students across the country.

Steppingstone undertook a strategic planning process (completed in June 2019) with the purpose of providing a roadmap to guide the organization over the next three years. Four overarching goals emerged:
1. Provide intentional and meaningful services to Scholars across multiple identified pathways to college, building on the strengths of our two previous direct service programs.
2. Leverage our successes and concentrate our efforts, with emphasis on strengthening our services to Scholars attending Boston public schools in order to achieve greater impact.
3. Foster a culture of consistent evaluation and reflection to evolve and improve our programming.
4. Position ourselves for future growth by investing in what we know works.

To achieve these goals, Steppingstone identified two strategic priorities:
1. Develop one Steppingstone direct-service program that incorporates the strengths of both The Steppingstone Academy and the College Success Academy, recognizing that there are multiple pathways to college and strengthening the services provided to Scholars who attend Boston Public Schools middle and high schools.
2. Increase alignment between Steppingstone and the National Partnership for Educational Access in order to increase the profiles of both entities, with a focus on deepening our impact in Boston and New England.

Achieving these goals will increase our ability to ensure success not only for Steppingstone Scholars in Boston, but for students served by NPEA college access organizations across the United States.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

Financials

Steppingstone Foundation, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Steppingstone Foundation, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 10/21/2021
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Robert Henderson

Resource Group 175

Brian Conway

Managing Director, TA Associates

John Simon

Managing Director, Sigma Prime Ventures

Lucy Galbraith

Managing Member, Kindred Capital Advisors LLC

Donavan Brown '95

Asst. VP, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co.

Mary Driscoll

Associate Superintendent for Elementary & Middle Schools, Boston Public Schools

Isabelle Loring

Richard Melvoin

Consultant, Strategic School Leadership

Todd Bland

Head of School, Milton Academy

Denise Casper

U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts

Pam Holding

Co-Head of Equities, Fidelity Management and Research

Joshua Levy

Partner, Ropes & Gray LLP

Kate Gilbane

Jonathan Goldstein

Senior Advisor, TA Associates

Joanna Jacquet Araujo '98

Attorney

Vincent Chiang

Vice Chair, Department of Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital

Betsy Danzinger

Lower School Admissions Associate, The Fessenden School

Peg Flanagan

Trustee, Grace Edwards Scholarship Fund

Fabien Fondriest

CEO, Homesite Insurance

Debbie Gelb

Robert Henderson

Education Consultant, Resource Group 175

Dr. Pinder-Amaker

Director, College Mental Health Program, McLean Hospital, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Hilary Steinert

Trustee, The Fenn School

Jenny Weymouth

Rachel Skerritt

Head of School, Boston Latin Academy

Perry Traquina

Retired Chairman and CEO, Wellington Management Company, LLP

Alex Sacerdote

Owner and Portfolio Manager, Whale Rock Capital

Sofia Teixeira Mistretta '94

Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Officer, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Mariel Novas '00

Jennifer Block

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Not applicable
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 10/20/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data