Our History Together
Our organization grew out of the MBA and MBA-prep communities in Los Angeles. Many of us have been associated with the Riordan Fellows Program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management. The Fellows Program was the first such organization in the country designed to increase the number of underrepresented minorities attending leading business schools and in corporate leadership roles. For more than 30 years it has functioned as the country's most prestigious MBA prep organization.
As part of the Riordan experience, Fellows are required to engage in nonprofit leadership activities. And over the years, dozens of nonprofit and community service initiatives have been born, many of them directed at improving educational opportunities for students who would be the first in their families to attend college.
Even though the participants in the Riordan Fellows Program have moved on to MBA school across the country, the community has stayed together, and many in that community continue to serve in nonprofit roles throughout Southern California.
Founding the College Moms Project
While the seeds of public service for many in our network were nurtured at UCLA, the inspiration for the College Moms Project occurred at USC. For many years, members of our volunteer group have taught free SAT courses in conjunction with the TRIO chapter on the USC campus. It's a way for us to improve the odds for inner-city teens, the vast majority of whom have no access to test-prep resources.
When one of our teens dropped out after becoming pregnant, we decided to address the issue. Since then we've worked together to survey colleges across the state and research the challenges of attending college as a single mother. We then developed partnerships and pathways to make the process easier. We're now founding chapters of the College Moms Project on college campuses.
We have more than a decade of experience putting inner-city teens into college, and some of us come out of the test-prep and admissions world. So college admissions isn't a difficult task for us.
But our greatest strength lies in our network of volunteers. We draw on the best young professional talent in Southern California. These people enter our circle of influence in the year before they begin business school, and then for two years while attending classes they work with us as volunteers. We truly believe that our volunteers are our strongest asset.