Carolyn and Jack Long want their giving to make a lasting difference starting from today. As Carolyn puts it, “We don’t have forever to solve these problems. We need to get on top of them now.” As philanthropists, they ask themselves, “Is this a good investment, can we take this risk, and what will the outcomes tell us?”
Breakthrough Collaborative is one such investment. After decades of supporting Breakthrough Central Texas, they wanted to broaden their impact on a national scale. Last year, the Longs made a generous matching challenge gift to Breakthrough to motivate new and current donors to increase their giving and engagement.
Carolyn’s introduction to Breakthrough was fortuitous. A friend invited her to an event to meet the then Executive Director in Austin, the former principal at their children’s elementary school. Soon after, she learned another friend was writing curricula for Breakthrough. Once Carolyn got to the Breakthrough event, she saw more familiar faces.
“Seeing smart women already engaged with this organization… I knew they did their homework. I wanted to get a little closer to find out more about what was going on,” she said. Carolyn did just that, becoming a donor, board member, and eventually chairing the Central Texas Board.
Carolyn remembers well her very first Breakthrough experience.
“I went to a visitor’s day and they began the morning with these cheers, calling out everyone’s name, each class with their own song. I’m thinking, “Get to work, come on… I want to see the algebra on the wall.” Then I realize, wait a second; it has to be fun. They have to enjoy it. They have to feel that sense of belonging. It seems silly when you’re a grown up, but think about how important it is to have those experiences being a part of a group.”
Today, the Longs have high expectations for Breakthrough Collaborative. “We want to see a more robust network able to aggregate outcomes data and tease out what’s moving the needle,” says Carolyn. They also hope their support will position Breakthrough to raise more money from national funders. Breakthrough students remain top of mind for them as well.
“As the network of graduates becomes more robust, I am hopeful the incoming sixth or seventh grader realizes they are part of a much larger collective. Imagine a really strong network of staff and alumni able to make connections between students; a network as big as anybody else’s who has three generations of legacy admissions. That’s what we hope to see from a larger, stronger Breakthrough Collaborative.”
Carolyn has a message to potential and long-time Breakthrough supporters. “Thank you for taking this chance with us,” she says. “I want to encourage them to stay in touch with Breakthrough and to ask what is different on the ground because of their gift. I hope they feel empowered to mention Breakthrough to their children and networks; that this is a program that works.”
Your investment in Breakthrough Collaborative helps us build a strong, sustainable network of 24 affiliates delivering quality, student-centered programming to ultimately improve equity among college graduates and the next generation of educational leaders.
Will you consider joining the Longs to make a difference through your giving?