The Posse Foundation helps groups of go-getters tap into their true academic potential.
I never would have dropped out if I had my posse with me.
The college dropout’s words moved Deborah Bial, then a recent graduate of Brandeis University focusing on inner-city youth leadership programs in New York City. Inspired, she considered the potential that could arise from sending a team of peers to college.
At 23, Bial formed The Posse Foundation to help groups of urban students combat the culture shock that often comes with attending a university. “When you have a posse,” she says, “you have a built-in support system.” Since its establishment in 1989, the nonprofit organization has received approximately $1 billion in scholarships to send teams of 10 students to 57 partner colleges and universities. Called Posse Scholars, these students graduate at a rate of 90 percent.
Currently, The Posse Foundation recruits from 10 metropolitan areas to identify students with academic and leadership potential: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. “We’re looking for the kid who you can imagine at 17 one day becoming a state senator, or a Fortune 500 company CEO, or an entrepreneur, or the president of a university,” says Bial, a 2007 MacArthur Fellow.
Working with Posse Atlanta, the Subaru of America Foundation has provided program operating support to foster high-achievers like Harvin Vallabhaneni. “It defined me,” says Vallabhaneni, a Boston University graduate, of his college experience with Posse Atlanta. “When I introduced myself, I was Harvin, an engineering student and a Posse Scholar.”
Vallabhaneni says that, in a school as large as Boston University, his Posse Atlanta cohort ensured that he never felt like a number. “There’s not a whole lot of things that remain constant in college – friends come and go, majors change – but our Posse was the rock we always had.”
Learn more about The Posse Foundation
Posse Atlanta alumnus and Boston University graduate Harvin Vallabhaneni