OneGoal’s Golf for Grads Brings together Professional Athletes, Community and
Business Leaders to Support College Graduation for Underserved Students
Houston Leaders Raise Nearly $200,000 to Ensure More Students Earn their College Degrees
Houston, March 3, 2016 – OneGoal hosted its 2nd Annual Golf for Grads celebration last night at Topgolf Katy. Golf for Grads is a unique networking opportunity and tee off competition that serves to build awareness of the college persistence movement in Houston, while also celebrating the successes of OneGoal college-bound Fellows, and raising critical funds to support more students on their journey toward college graduation. The event raised close to $200,000, enabling OneGoal to welcome seven new cohorts – over 175 students – into the three year program.
OneGoal partners with public schools, to identify, train, and support excellent teachers already working in low-income public high schools to coach underserved students toward college enrollment and success. These teachers, known as Program Directors, work with the same group of students, known as OneGoal Fellows, from their junior year of high school through their first year of college. Fellows build academic skills to increase their college options and develop non-cognitive skills and mindsets – like resilience, goal setting and resourcefulness – that help them persist through graduation. OneGoal’s results demonstrate the degree divide can be closed: the event celebrated a 79 percent college enrollment rate for OneGoal-Houston’s inaugural group of students; and of those who enrolled, 86 percent are persisting in college. These numbers are more significant when compared with the overall graduation rate for students from low-income communities. Only 9 percent of students in low-income communities are expected to earn their college degree, and that measure is similar for students in Houston.
OneGoal launched in Houston in 2012 partnering with public schools in the Houston Independent School District. It has since expanded into Spring Branch and Aldine ISD. Currently, the organization partners with 29 schools and is focused on deepening its reach in current schools and expanding into new schools. The organization also builds deep and lasting partnerships with Houston-area colleges, community organizations, and corporate and philanthropic leaders to reshape college enrollment and persistence support for students in the region.
“We are so grateful to see so many leaders in the Houston Community share our belief in the ability of all students and recognize we all have a role to play to close the degree divide in our community,” said Marisa Wolf, Executive Director of OneGoal–Houston. “The success of our inaugural cohorts, who are now in their sophomore year in college, demonstrates the critical importance of supporting students during that critical transition from high school through college.”
“As members of the Houston community, we are charged with investing in OneGoal-Houston Fellows today so that we can then withdraw from them the future CEO of companies like Oasis Petroleum, the future Partners at firms like Reed Smith, the future professors and teachers,” said Marlen D. Whitley, OneGoal-Houston Board Member, and Partner at Reed Smith LLP. “I was the first person in my family to graduate from college, and deeply understand what it means to stand on the shoulders of giants who made sacrifices and helped pave the way for me, and OneGoal-Houston is a true giant for students from low-income communities who will also be among the first generation in their family to earn a college degree.”
Last night attendees included Kareem Jackson, Johnathan Joseph, Kevin Johnson, and Kenny Hilliard of the Houston Texans, as well as PGA golfers, Tommy Wolfenberger, and Derek Clouse, and leaders from the energy, banking, and law industries. The event was made possible through the leadership of Steering Committee Members, of Carroll Cartwright of Wells Fargo Energy Group, Marian Hargis of Oasis Petroleum Inc., Kyle Kafka of EnCap Investments LP, Trudy Nelson of CIBC, and Parker Reese of Ameredev.
OneGoal makes college graduation a reality for all students. We collaborate closely with public schools in low-income communities, providing teachers with a robust curriculum, technology, training and coaching to implement our three-year model with a group of 25 students (Fellows) per cohort. Teachers (called OneGoal Program Directors) support the same group of Fellows beginning in their junior year of high school and bridge the gap through their first year of college. In a nation where only 9% of students from low-income communities graduate from college, 82% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll and 78% of them are persisting or have graduated with a college degree. OneGoal works in Chicago, Houston, Massachusetts, Metro Atlanta, New York and will be expanding into a sixth region in 2017.