History

Breakthrough’s History:

From Summerbridge to Breakthrough

Navigate below for a brief, interactive history of Breakthrough’s origins from Summerbrige in 1978 to a national network of 24 affiliates today.
1978
1979
1980
1990
1991
1992
1994
2001
2021

1978

Lois Loofburrow founded the first Breakthrough program under the name Summerbridge. Summerbridge was designed as a six-week summer program for middle schoolers at University High School in San Francisco. The multi-year program was tuition-free—the cost of participation was the student’s full commitment.

 

 

 

1979

 

Summerbridge staffed its math department entirely with high school teachers, with professional teachers as mentors. The students-teaching-students and teachers-coaching-teachers model was born.

 

 

 

1980

Atlanta 1

 

Summerbridge hired its first college-aged teachers.

 

 

 

1990

 

Summerbridge New Orleans was founded with support from the directors of Summerbridge San Francisco and the affiliate model was created.

 

 

 

1991

 

Summerbridge National was founded with the intent of launching more independently-run programs across the country. A new program in Manchester, New Hampshire, and a second site in San Francisco, opened for the summer.

 

 

 

1992

 

Ten new programs opened for the summer.

 

 

 

1994

 

 

 

Twenty-six Summerbridge programs operating across the country.

 

 

 

2001

Summerbridge National became the Breakthrough Collaborative national office.

 

 

 

2021

 

Breakthrough currently supports more than 10,000 middle and high school students and 1,100 college-aged teaching fellows throughout 24 communities nationwide!