Educational Institutions

The San Marcos Promise

Building dreams, pathways & prosperity!

aka The San Marcos Promise

San Marcos, CA


The San Marcos Promise builds dreams, pathways, and prosperity for the 21,000 students in San Marcos Unified School District. We provide programs, resources and opportunities that guide and support students on their educational journey beyond high school into the workforce. Our programs are designed to enhance the lives of students, families and communities in North San Diego County. We offer a promise of hope and opportunity for San Marcos/ youth and a long-term goal of reinforcing the culture of San Marcos as a well-equated, vibrant and prosperous community.

Ruling Year


Executive Director

Lisa Stout

Main Address

255 Pico Avenue Ste 103

San Marcos, CA 92069 USA


Promise, PACE, SMUSD, San Marcos, Palomar, CSUSM, CTE





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Scholarships, Student Financial Aid, Awards (B82)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (O19)

IRS Filing Requirement

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Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve

Finding the most effective ways to provide all students with ​authentic​, ​​​unique​,​ and innovative learning experiences that will foster the development of necessary 21st century skills such as creative “problem finding,” collaboration, and digital fluency. How do we prepare students for jobs which may not yet exist in our ever-changing world? Helping students from a young age identify and develop a strong sense of self in order to guide their career exploration and development. Helping students learn about their strengths, interests, and values and how to use this information to guide their career search will lead to a more engaged future workforce.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

4 8

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

PACE Promise

Learning Enrichment to Achieve Promise

Ambassador Program

Promise Navigators

Future Centers

Where we work

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have they accomplished so far and what's next?

To strengthen the career-readiness culture of SMUSD schools and prepare SMUSD students for the 21st-century workforce. Our goal is to help students identify their unique strengths, interests, and values, and provide them as much exposure as possible to the multitude of careers and opportunities that exist in their future. It is important that every SMUSD student graduate with a sense of self, purpose, and direction, with a well-informed plan for their education past high school.

Facilitating after school and summer enrichment classes for 1,000 K-8th grade students through the LEAP program. Providing opportunities for 11,500 6-12th grade students to discover their interests and strengths, connect to compatible career paths, develop financial literacy skills, and prepare for college and career. Leading workshops and events for community partners, families and the community at large.

Our Executive Director was a high school counselor for 20 years before accepting her role with TSMP. Our Programs Coordinator was also a high school counselor for 11 years. Both are acutely aware of the challenges and difficulties raising and nurturing our young people in schools today. The needs are monumental, and schools/districts can’t do it alone. Our Education Coordinators serve all three high schools and their programming revolves around job and career readiness- all of the things that students need to navigate the adult world but are not required subjects in school. Our Executive Director is establishing relationships with local business & industry partners and community leaders to bring real-world learning and experiences to our students through career chats, job shadowing opportunities, and experienceships. Our Board of Directors is extremely passionate about our mission and works diligently to be ambassadors within the community and connect us with vital resources.

SM Promise measures progress through the number of students that are career-ready by graduation, pursue post-secondary education or further their career development after graduation, and are prepared to make informed money management decisions. SM Promise tracks the number of students served through LEAP, including those who request and receive tuition assistance, the number of teachers engaged, and the number of courses offered. SM Promise will measure student changes in knowledge, skills, career exposure, career interest, and confidence through pre- and post-class surveys. These surveys will be piloted in a subset of sessions during the spring of 2020 and expanded to all classes in subsequent years. SM Promise monitors the number of students served at the Future Centers, the services provided, and student utilization of the SuperStrong Interest Assessment, Career Edge, and NextGen Personal Finance programs. SM Promise also tracks the number of students, families, and community members reached through Future Center workshops, events, and college tours and the number of students participating in job shadows or experienceships with collaborating businesses. To asses overall student progress, SM Promise evaluates the annual performance of students in the areas of persistence, retention, A-G college requirement completion, and graduation rates using data from the California Department of Education, the National Students Clearinghouse, and student surveys. SM Promise administers a senior exit survey to track college enrollment rates and job plans among graduating seniors, the number of students who submit financial aid and scholarship applications, and the total amount of scholarship and aid received.

Expanded Fundraising Strategy—In the fall of 2019, SM Promise integrated grants into its fundraising strategy. SM Promise has already received $32,000 of support from new corporate and foundation donors, with many applications planned and pending. SM Promise’s Executive Director also participated in the Fundraising Academy to strengthen the organization’s fundraising strategy. She has already secured $150,000 in capital support from McGraw Hill and launched new campaigns to increase individual and corporate donors and sponsors. These efforts will ensure that SM Promise is sustainable once the start-up support from the Leichtag Foundation ends. Future Center Updates—SM Promise has been transforming the old SMUSD Career Centers into Future Centers. In February 2019, SM Promise hired two Education Coordinators to increase program capacity and support students more robustly. Now, in phase two, SM Promise is refurbishing the centers to make them a campus focal point and increase student utilization of their resources. Increased Capacity—SM Promise added a full-time Program Coordinator to oversee the development and delivery of SM Promise’s programs and services. She has already piloted the Promise Navigators program at two schools and guided the LEAP program’s expansion to four new sites during the school year and now four weeks of summer classes. One thousand students will participate; approximately 150 students experiencing financial hardship will participate for free. What’s next: After we have our three high school Future Centers up and running with furniture and technology, our goal is to begin the planning process to bring Future Centers to our middle schools. We have interest from a local Boys and Girls Club to collaborate on a community Future Center as well.

External Reviews

Affiliations & Memberships

National School Foundation Association 2020



The San Marcos Promise

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FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

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

Need more info?

FREE: Gain immediate access to the following:

  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2018, 2017 and 2016
  • A Pro report is also available for this organization.

See what's included

Board Leadership Practices

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices.

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? This organization has voluntarily shared information to answer this important question and to support sector-wide learning. GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 01/18/2020


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & Ethnicity
Gender Identity

Race & Ethnicity

Gender Identity

Sexual Orientation

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