Investing in Student Success

College Forward is an Austin-based nonprofit providing intensive, culturally-appropriate mentoring programs that propel students from underserved backgrounds to collegiate success and remunerative careers. Recently, the Foundation co-invested with several of our fundholders in College Forward to market and license CoPilot, a student information system designed for use by similar programs nationally.

The $200,000 impact investment has already helped College Forward secure contracts with ten organizations serving a combined estimate of 25,000 low-income students across the country. Over four years, the project intends to improve student success for 300,000 low-income students nationwide. In addition, 100% of net income generated by CoPilot will be reinvested into College Forward, which currently provides college coaching services to more than 8,000 first-generation college-bound students in Central Texas.

"This opportunity connected College Forward with an innovative funding tool that matched our goal of bringing CoPilot's impact on students to scale, alongside some of our community's leading philanthropists," said College Forward CEO Austin Buchan. "We hope this partnership might offer a blueprint for innovative, alternative philanthropy in Austin and beyond."

Built on the fully integrated cloud-based platform, CoPilot allows educators and advisors to quickly and easily upload, curate and synthesize information in order to implement data-driven student interventions. “CoPilot provides a great road map for organizations helping students obtain a college degree,” says Virginia Potter, Program Officer at Michael and Susan Dell Foundation.

As part of its mission-driven work, College Forward builds and shares effective solutions, collaborating with respected practitioners to distill best practices into highly-efficient program models. Underpinning this work, is their technology platform that drives student outcomes and yields critical data for longitudinal research.

Recently, College Forward was selected for Salesforce’s Force for Change grant which will allow them to develop a student-facing mobile application that links to CoPilot.