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Spotlight: Capital Partners for Education

Today we’re shining a spotlight on Capital Partners for Education to congratulate them on their 2013 award from the Washington Post Charities! Executive Director of CPE, Khari Brown’s involvement working with urban teens through his various coaching experiences led him to pursue a career in expanding educational opportunities for low-income youth. Since joining Capital Partners for Education in 2001, Khari has reshaped the program by vastly expanding the number of students reached and establishing a programmatic framework for CPE to build upon in years to come. Khari received both a Bachelor’s degree in American Studies and a Master’s degree in Education from Tufts University.

1. What motivated you to begin this organization (if you are the founder) or to begin working with it? What need does it fulfill and how are you (and your organization) working towards meeting it?
I began working with Capital Partners for Education (CPE) because it was an organization that could have a direct impact on improving young peoples’ futures by helping them get to and through college.

Earning a college degree has never been more important in today’s economy. Without a college degree, our students will be left behind and destined for a life of poverty. Low-income students face multiple barriers to college completion and we work to help them overcome these obstacles and let their talent shine.

I am motivated by the positive difference we make in our student’s lives. We are changing the trajectory for each student and their family. We get results–99% of our graduates enroll in college and 75% of our graduates complete college on time. 2013 marks the eighth year in a row where 100% of our seniors enrolled in college.

2. What exciting change or innovation is on your mind?
CPE is seeking to triple the number of students we serve over the next three years. This is the first year where we will extend our program from high school through college completion. We are able to do this by integrating a new e-mentoring platform called iMentor. CPE is the first organization in this region to use this technology. Students, mentors and staff are now connected through iMentor’s online portal, making it possible for us to serve students remotely for the very first time.

3. Who inspires you (in the philanthropy world or otherwise)? Do you have a hero?
I come from a family of educators. They and some of my teachers and professors growing up were my early inspiration. There are many great philanthropists I admire. Most are not famous, but they give a big percentage of their wealth and their time to charity and aren’t motivated by recognition.

4. What is the single greatest challenge that your organization faces (besides finances) and how are you dealing with this challenge?
The greatest challenge is to make sure that we are growing in a responsible way. We are motivated to serve more students because the need is great and we have an innovative model that works. We must strive to balance expanding our reach while ensuring that every CPE student gets the individual support they need to reach their goals.

5. What advice do you have for other people in your position?
Don’t be afraid to let your organization evolve.
Empower your team to be part of big decisions and new directions for the organization.

6. What’s next/coming up for you?
This fall we will enroll 30 new students this fall into a new program that begins in the 11th grade and continues through college graduation. By adding a new entry point to our program, we are able to help more motivated, low-income students get on the path towards college. This community-based mentoring program will prepare students for college at monthly workshops focused on college preparation, career readiness and financial literacy. Once students are enrolled in college, we will continue to provide mentoring, career exploration services and financial life skills training through their college graduation.

7. Congratulations on receiving an award from the Washington Post charities! What project is this grant supporting? What does this award mean to you or allow you to do?
The investment from Washington Post Charities is instrumental in fueling our growth as we expand to serve more students. This year, we are increasing our student body by 56% by extending support to our alumni while they are in college and introducing the new program line for 11th grade students.

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