Breakthrough Twin Cities

Inspiring Students. Developing Teachers. Changing Lives.

Saint Paul, MN   |


Breakthrough Twin Cities prepares under-resourced students for college success and generates the next generation of educators.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Mr. Josh Reimnitz

Main address

2051 Larpenteur Avenue East

Saint Paul, MN 55109 USA

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Formerly known as

Breakthrough Saint Paul



NTEE code info

Other Youth Development N.E.C. (O99)

Secondary/High School (B25)

Education N.E.C. (B99)

IRS filing requirement

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

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Low-income students of color face significant barriers to high school and college graduation. Data shows they are more likely to fall behind in high school or drop out, and they are much less likely to pursue college. In Minnesota, 89% of white students graduate from high school on time, compared to only 70% of Black and Latinx, 51% of Indigenous, 88% of Asian, and 69% of English learners. When it comes to postsecondary degrees, white students are more than twice as likely as Black and Latinx students to earn an associate’s degree or higher. Teachers of color are another profound influence. Research demonstrates that youth of color show improvements in attendance, test scores, and college enrollment rates when their teachers are also people of color. Our Teaching Fellows come from similar backgrounds as our students, providing the empathy, cultural competence, and role modeling students need.

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?

BTC Middle School Summer Program

BTC prepares under-resourced students grades 7-12 for college success. Our middle school students receive:

• More than 150 hours of academic instruction in math, science, literature, writing, and elective courses—together with social-emotional skills-building—during the five-and-a-half-week summer program and monthly Saturday sessions during the school year
• Ongoing school year academic monitoring and mentorship
• Referral to tutoring resources as requested

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

Through Saturday sessions throughout the school year and one-to-one college counseling services, BTC provides its high school students

• Guidance and support on navigating issues like high school choice and course selection
• Individualized college counseling including college visits, college selection advising, ACT test preparation, and application and essay writing coaching
• Referral to tutoring resources as requested
• Ongoing school year academic monitoring and mentorship

Conferences to monitor social, emotional, and academic progress and to develop goals and growth plans

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

BTC hires college students & a select number of mature high school students who are interested in education careers to teach middle-school youth in its summer sessions. BTC provides over 100 hours of training & over 150 hours of hands-on classroom experience. Teaching Fellows are trained by BTC staff Instructional Coaches who are local, licensed teachers trained in BTC methods & pedagogical practices on how to make learning effective, relevant, & fun.

Our Fellowship is research and best practices based and includes 2.5 weeks of training, 5.5 weeks of hands-on teaching, followed by one week of wrap-up, assessment & evaluation.
o Curriculum support, lesson plan review, observations with licensed instructional coaches
o Teach two core academic classes & co-teach one elective class
o Design and implement all aspects of the summer program
o Required committee membership
o Formal evaluation by BTC staff & professional Instructional Coach
o Conduct student-family-teacher conferences

Population(s) Served
Ethnic and racial groups

We engage college-aged and mature high school students to serve in roles as our Deans of Faculty and Deans of Students. They participate in a two week training alongside our Teaching Fellows.

o Plan and lead extracurricular components of the summer program.
o Plan and teach an elective course.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Ethnic and racial groups

Where we work

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.

Breakthrough Twin Cities' ultimate goal is to close the opportunity gap by providing under-resourced middle and high school students with rigorous academic instruction and social-emotional support. In 2020-21, we are serving 506 students. We seek to ensure that promising, low-income students of color have the same chance of going to college as their more affluent white peers.

BTC is also creating a pipeline of diverse, effective teachers who will support academic success for low-income students of color in the Twin Cities. Our unique teacher training model engages college students and select high school student who have an interest in education careers, then prepares them to be effective educators in urban classrooms. In 2020-21, we trained 46 Teaching Fellows -- 63%of them were people of color (vs. 4.2 of MN teachers) and 32% were male (vs. 27% of MN teachers). Our Teaching Fellows too are taking their effective, culturally-competent skills into the classroom; 68% of our Teaching Fellow alum are pursuing careers in academics.

We provide our middle school students with 100+ hours (a temporary reduction for Summer 2020) of rigorous academic instruction -- together with social-emotional skill-building -- during a five-week summer program.

All students, middle and high school, attend monthly Saturday sessions throughout the school year. We provide ongoing academic monitoring and mentorship to each student. Saint Paul Public Schools provide us with students' course enrollment, grades and attendance records allowing us to monitor their performance and suggest interventions when necessary.

High school students receive individualized college counseling, ACT test preparation, assistance with college applications and essays, as well as help navigating financial aid opportunities.

We also hire college students and a select number of mature high school students who are interested in education careers to teach BTC middle school students. BTC provides Teaching Fellows with 120+ hours of training, an increase of 40 hours during Summer 2020, and 175 hours of instructional preparation and delivery under the guidance of Instructional Coaches who are licensed teachers.

We have strong leadership in Josh Reimnitz who has served as Executive Director since January 1, 2017. Josh started his career teaching 4th grade science and reading in the Atlanta Public Schools. In 2010, Josh moved to Minneapolis to join Students Today Leaders Forever as its Co-Executive Director. Reimnitz completed a term on the Minneapolis Board of Education where he was focused on fostering strong academic achievement through a focused plan.

Senior Program Director Daniel Bernal has been with BTC since 2005. In May 2016, Bernal completed his Master’s in Education in Learning Design and Technology from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.

BTC has five full-time and six part-time employees; three members of the team identify as persons of color. Our board is made up of 13 committed members, seven of whom identify as people of color, all of whom bring a diversity of work and life experience to their positions. More than 100 volunteers support BTC’s programs as college essay coaches, student and Teaching Fellow selection committee members, transportation coordinators, and workshop participants.

Since 2005, BTC has served 1,040 students and 386 aspiring educators. Of our 306 alumni who have already graduated, 290 were accepted into college, and eight elected to serve in the military. Surveys from the classes of 2011-15 indicate that to date, at least 59% of BTC alum have graduated from college in four years, more than twice the rate of their demographic peers nationwide (Pell Institute, 2020).

Breakthrough’s results are unparalleled; our students consistently beat the odds. 99.5% of BTC seniors graduate from high school, and 100% of students who apply are accepted into post-secondary institutions. Colleges recognize BTC students’ achievements: the average annual college scholarship for a BTC graduate in the Class of 2020 is $31,385.

BTC grads aren’t going to just any college, either. It’s the norm for BTC grads to get offers from and attend nationally-recognized institutions such as Brown, Dartmouth, Howard, Macalester, Pomona, Stanford, Tufts, University of Minnesota, and Yale.

We have developed a funding model that diversifies our revenue stream, moving from a revenue plan solely reliant on philanthropy to one that includes fee-for-service programs through new partnerships with school districts. Our first such partnership launched in Eastern Carver County Schools (ECC) during the 2020/21 school year. Starting in FY23, the school district will support Breakthrough Twin Cities at $111,000 per year. The program is being piloted in 2020-21 with a class of 10 rising 7th grade students. Our plan is to expand to 80 ECC students in 2021 (adding 40 rising 7th graders and an additional 30 rising 8th graders).

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 using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

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

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback


Breakthrough Twin Cities

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


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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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

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

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Breakthrough Twin Cities

Board of directors
as of 11/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Amanda Abdo Sheehan

MyBurger LLC

Term: 2012 - 2022

Marlon Cush

SWORD Health

Heather Boschke

Metropolitan State University

Allie Newman


Tanya Schmitt


Melissa Koenig

Securian Financial

Sam Woods


Amy Benson


Lori Nixon

University of Wisconsin - River Falls

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? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • 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? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • 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 11/22/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 11/22/2022

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.