Generous gift will support national fellowship preparing college students to succeed as educators
Today, Breakthrough Collaborative announced a $5 million gift from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, the largest single donation in its 42-year history. This transformational investment will support the organization’s long-term work to create a pipeline of talented and diverse educators and leaders to ultimately improve equity and outcomes in education.
The U.S. has experienced a steady decline of fully-prepared teachers for decades, only worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. The teacher shortage is most pronounced in schools that serve a larger number of students of color. Despite evidence linking teacher diversity to better student outcomes, particularly for students of color, just 20 percent of public school teachers are people of color, while over 50 percent of students are children of color.
Scott’s investment will support the organization’s efforts to expand its national Teaching Fellowship program, which recruits 1,000 college students annually from over 250 colleges and universities. These undergraduate fellows are trained and then deliver a research-based summer and school-year program that reaches over 10,000 students across the country each year, the majority students of color from historically underinvested communities. Funding will increase Breakthrough’s ability to mobilize the national college student workforce, prioritizing students of color, to recruit, support, and network more college students interested in teaching.
“We are honored and grateful for MacKenzie Scott’s support of the incredible work of our affiliate network, instructional coaches, national staff, and leadership. This gift is also a testament to our excellent Breakthrough Teaching Fellows, past and present,” said Vince Marigna, CEO of Breakthrough Collaborative. “Investing in the teacher workforce will be central to education recovery and supporting the academic needs and well-being of students. This funding will allow Breakthrough to continue our decades-long work to increase access to the teaching profession for underrepresented students and propel future educators on their path to the classroom. We applaud Ms. Scott’s trust-based approach to philanthropy, and are grateful she has joined a growing group of long-time and new supporters who make our education equity mission possible.”
As the largest pre-professional teacher training program in the country, Breakthrough Collaborative has trained over 10,000 teaching fellows over the past decade, providing college students a hands-on, immersive classroom experience teaching middle and high school students and learning from professional staff and experienced educators. More than three-fourths (76 percent) of Teaching Fellows are young people of color and 46 percent are the first in their families to attend college. While Breakthrough Teaching Fellows are undergraduates of all majors, 76 percent go on to education careers and 55 percent become certified teachers.
This gift comes as Breakthrough embarks on its next strategic plan, which will outline a vision to increase the number of Teaching Fellows reached in the next decade, and increase the percentage of fellows who go on to the teaching profession and careers in education.
“We are working toward a nation where our teaching workforce is fully prepared and fully supported, and is as diverse as our student population. This funding will help move us closer to that vision, as will increased partnership across the public and private sector,” said Marigna. “We are grateful to our community of stellar teacher-training programs, advocacy organizations, colleges and universities, community groups, and dedicated donors and supporters. We hope this gift will inspire others to join our movement to close the opportunity gap. The need has never been greater and now is the time for us to act together.”
About Breakthrough Collaborative
Breakthrough Collaborative is a national leader in educational equity. We create empowering educational experiences for under-represented students on their path to college, and we are the largest pre-professional teacher training program in the country. Our cost-effective model mobilizes the talent of college students from more than 250 colleges and universities to meet the educational needs of motivated youth across the country. With over 40 years of experience, and a network of over 40,000 alumni, we are improving outcomes for historically under-represented groups in our school systems – as college graduates and as educational leaders. For more information, please visit www.breakthroughcollaborative.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for media kit.