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WHAT IS STRIVE?
Strive for College is a new approach to correcting the inequalities of college access. Strive recruits undergraduate student mentors from local universities to guide low-income high school students through the process of applying to, enrolling in and paying for four-year colleges and universities. We are a national organization with chapters across the country.

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Board of Directors

Directors

Michael Carter
Founder, President & CEO, Strive for College
 

Michael founded Strive for College in his freshman year of college, and since then has grown Strive into a national movement with chapters at college campuses across the country. Michael raised over $200,000 during the recession and hired his first full-time employee for Strive while he was a junior in college. Since its inception, Michael has raised over $2.5 million for Strive and helped hundreds of low-income high school students gain admission to universities across the country.

While in college, Michael taught at-risk middle school youth during the summer, ran the initial Strive model at his university, interned for a venture capital firm and Google, and did public policy research and analysis at American Enterprise Institute. He wrote his senior honors thesis on a history of admissions to elite universities in the US and UK. He received a full-tuition merit scholarship to attend Washington University in St. Louis as an Annika Rodriguez Scholar. Michael graduated cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis in May, 2010. He also studied at Oxford University in England, and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.. 

Michael's work with Strive has been featured widely in the media, including Forbes, Education Week, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, and he has spoken on various panels, including at the Brookings Institution and as a featured speaker at the Points of Light National Conference on Volunteering and Service. Michael was named a 2011 Echoing Green Fellow, a highly competitive award given to those identified as some of the world's most promising social entrepreneurs. Michael was also named a 2012 Bluhm Helfand Social Innovation Fellow. Michael strives for a day when college students across the country mobilize to ensure that all qualified, underserved high school students who have earned the right to go to college make it there, and achieve their dreams.

Eric Chen
Partner, WI Harper
 
Eric Chen is an experienced technology investor focusing on early stage Internet and enterprise IT opportunities in the US and China. Eric started Uj Ventures, an angel fund based in Palo Alto formed to incubate and fund seed stage opportunities. Uj Ventures has made 25 investments in technology startups including Palantir, RoboteX, Kiwi Crate, Context Logic and other promising startups. As a partner with venture capital firm WI Harper for five years, Eric led investments in technology companies that spanned both China and the US including ooma, Laszlo, PMC, and EditGrid. He is currently a Venture Partner with WI Harper and an advisor to Matrix Partners China.

Eric has a wide-ranging background and is an entrepreneur in his own right. He co-founded an Internet startup, worked as an executive at a high growth technology company, incubated and launched a double bottom line investment fund in DC and pulled all-nighters on Wall Street as an investment banker.

Most notably, Eric teamed up with two classmates from business school (one of which is his wife) to start Tiny Prints, a leading online retailer of custom stationery products. Eric played a key operating role in the first three years of Tiny Prints helping to ramp the business to scale with no outside funding. Prior to Tiny Prints, Eric was one of the first employees at E2open, a pioneer of the on-demand software model and led the company’s business and market development activities in Asia. Eric was also an investment banker with Salomon Brothers and Hina Group covering technology companies in Asia.

More recently, Eric co-founded and helped raise Equilibrium Investments Fund I, a real estate and small business fund operating in Washington DC’s low or moderate income (LMI) communities. Equilibrium was launched in the middle of the financial crises to simultaneously generate returns to shareholders while eliminating blight, stabilize housing markets, fund economic growth and create employment opportunities for DC communities.

In his spare time, Eric installs electronic gadgets around the house, teaches origami to his kids, and plays basketball. He holds an engineering degree and an MBA from Stanford University and can be frequently found on campus participating in various University events.

Don W. Kassing
President Emeritus, San Jose State Univeristy

As a former president of San José State University, Don W. Kassing headed the oldest and one of the largest universities in the 23-campus California State University system. Appointed in 2004, Kassing moved the university forward in numerous key areas. Under his leadership, the campus engaged in university-wide strategic planning, increased enrollments and efforts to increase student success, received high commendations from its accrediting agency, stabilized athletics funding, and greatly increased private giving to the university.

In 2006-07 San José State received more than $50 million in private support, leading the 23-campus California State University system in giving, and bringing the university's three-year total for giving to $100 million. As president and in his former role as vice president for administration and finance, Kassing led the development, construction and successful opening of two major campus facilities: the award-winning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, based on a first-of-its-kind and highly successful partnership with the city of San José; and Campus Village, a state-of-the-art residence complex for students, faculty and staff, the largest such project in the California State University system, and the focus of a renewed sense of community on the campus.

Before his appointment to the presidency, Kassing had served for more than a decade as vice president for administration and finance and as chief financial officer. As CFO, he had responsibility for all business and financial affairs of the university. His previous 18 years in higher education included service as vice president for university relations and administrative services at Murray State University, in Kentucky, and vice president for development and public affairs at Western State College of Colorado. He also served for two years as president of the Granite City Campus of the Belleville Area College, Belleville, Illinois. Before that, he worked for 11 years in private industry, including eight years in corporate finance and operations management for Brown Group, Inc., and three years with General Motors Corporation.

 
 
 
 
Joe Lonsdale
Co-founder, Palantir
Founder & CEO, Addepar

In 2004, Joe co-founded Palantir Technologies — a software company in Palo Alto, California which develops mission-critical analysis systems used by government and financial organizations around the world.  Palantir is a market leader in several government segments, is widely used by large hedge funds and banks, and is one of the fastest growing mid-size companies in Silicon Valley.  

Joe Lonsdale currently serves as CEO of Addepar, an emerging leader in private wealth management technology, and is the President of Anduin, which specializes in early-stage venture investing.  He is also the Chairman of the Board for ONEHope Wine, a national wine brand partnered with the Mondavi family and a leader in cause marketing technology, and is an advisor to several Silicon Valley technology companies.  Previously, he worked with the financial arm of PayPal while at university and then joined as an early executive at Clarium Capital, and was a key player in growing Clarium into a $5-billion AUM world-class global macro hedge fund during his five year tenure.

Joe has a variety of philanthropic pursuits including sitting on the Board of Strive for College and The Seasteading Institute.  He earned a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University in 2003, where he also studied Economics and Mathematics.

Sanford Carl Loewentheil
Co-Founder & Vice Chairman, L+M Development Partners
 

Sanford Carl Loewentheil was born in New Rochelle, NY.  After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 1976, Sandy, a third generation builder, joined his family’s business building luxury single-family homes and condominiums in the suburban New York and Connecticut area.  In 1984, he co-founded L&M Equity Participants (currently L+M Development Partners) where he now serves as Vice Chairman.  L+M has evolved into one of the premier real estate construction, development, finance and management companies in the field of multi-family and mixed income housing.  Today, the company employs over 200 individuals in its Westchester County and New York City offices.  To date, L+M has developed and built over $3-billion dollars of housing created for its own portfolio.

Sandy's primary business focus at L+M is the construction division. L+M has built well over 10,000 residential units and one million square feet of retail space, most of which are still owned by L+M and its partners and managed in-house. Over the years, the company has helped raise the bar of quality housing in its industry. L+M has developed and continues to enjoy long-term relationships with subcontractors, banks, joint venture for profit and not for profit partners and investors for almost 30 years. In addition, L+M currently manages several private equity funds investing in inner city development.

L+M has been dedicated to pro bono community involvement since the company’s inception as such community minded work is a central tenant to the L+M organization. Some pro bono projects include scholarships at local high schools, rebuilding local churches and parks, working with at-risk youth, mentoring minority builders, fostering local sports in urban areas and creating preschool programs.

Outside of the office, Sandy is passionate about providing scholarship support for students graduating from local urban high schools. He believes that deserving students should be able to achieve their true potential and attend college despite any restrictive financial circumstances. To achieve this goal, he and his wife, Karen, have endowed multiple college scholarships and funded a significant number of annual scholarships.

Sandy currently serves on the National Council of Arts and Sciences as well as on the Board of Trustees at his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis. He recently received the NY Regional Award as well as the Arts and Sciences and the University Distinguished Alumni Awards. Sandy served as co-chair of the Arts and Sciences and co-chair of the New York region committees in a $150,000,000 scholarship campaign at Washington University that has surpassed its financial goals.

Sandy is a member of Rye Country Day School’s Board of Trustees and is a member of the board’s executive committee. A founding member of Sulam Yaakov Synagogue in Larchmont, NY, Sandy sits on the synagogue’s Board of Trustees as well.

Sandy resides in Purchase, NY with his wife Karen and their three children, Hannah, Adam, and Sarah.

   Connie L Lurie

Connie Lurie has served on many nonprofit boards including the SF Zoological Society, Asian Art Museum, and Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and continues to be involved as a Director Emeritus at DRCRF and at the Zoo, creating Zoo 11. She is on the advisory board of Wildlife Associates and chairs the annual fundraiser. She has been a camp volunteer at The Painted Turtle, a Paul Newman Hold in the Wall Camp for children with life threatening illnesses. She has been an advisory board member of California State Parks Foundation for over 30 years.

Mrs. Lurie is a co-founder of the CME Society and the Research Institute for Foster Youth Initiatives at San Jose State University, serving on the President's Board, and created and chairs the Spartans in the Desert annual 2-day event. The College of Education is named in her honor. In 2006, she received the Tower Award from SJSU, the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008, and the California Attorneys for Criminal Justice, Citizen Involvement Award.

After graduating from SJSU, Connie taught elementary school, was an Admissions Counselor at Heald Business College and was Executive Director of Who's Who International. She is a long time Jr. League member and President of a charitable Foundation and serves on a company board.

Erich Mauff
Managing Director and Head Capital Markets and Treasury Solutions, Deutsche Bank

Brooklyn resident Erich Mauff attended Brown University graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Modern European History. As a student, Erich focused intently on both his studies and training for the 1992 Olympic Games. In 1992, one year before he graduated, the South African native and his team placed eighth in the men’s coxed eight at the Summer Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Today Erich serves as Managing Director and Head of Deutsche Bank’s Capital Markets and Treasury Solutions in the United States, where he develops customized financial solutions for corporations, financial firms, supranationals, sovereigns, and agencies. Outside of his demanding job, he maintains an active lifestyle, playing tennis, golfing, and cycling. In addition to his support for Strive, Erich is a member of the Brown University Sports Foundation (BUSF), on the National Board of buildOn and Prep for Prep. 

Don W. Kassing
President Emeritus, San Jose State Univeristy

As a former president of San José State University, Don W. Kassing headed the oldest and one of the largest universities in the 23-campus California State University system. Appointed in 2004, Kassing moved the university forward in numerous key areas. Under his leadership, the campus engaged in university-wide strategic planning, increased enrollments and efforts to increase student success, received high commendations from its accrediting agency, stabilized athletics funding, and greatly increased private giving to the university.

In 2006-07 San José State received more than $50 million in private support, leading the 23-campus California State University system in giving, and bringing the university's three-year total for giving to $100 million. As president and in his former role as vice president for administration and finance, Kassing led the development, construction and successful opening of two major campus facilities: the award-winning Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, based on a first-of-its-kind and highly successful partnership with the city of San José; and Campus Village, a state-of-the-art residence complex for students, faculty and staff, the largest such project in the California State University system, and the focus of a renewed sense of community on the campus.

Before his appointment to the presidency, Kassing had served for more than a decade as vice president for administration and finance and as chief financial officer. As CFO, he had responsibility for all business and financial affairs of the university. His previous 18 years in higher education included service as vice president for university relations and administrative services at Murray State University, in Kentucky, and vice president for development and public affairs at Western State College of Colorado. He also served for two years as president of the Granite City Campus of the Belleville Area College, Belleville, Illinois. Before that, he worked for 11 years in private industry, including eight years in corporate finance and operations management for Brown Group, Inc., and three years with General Motors Corporation.

 
 
 
 
 
Jacob Stiglitz
Founding Chief Operating Officer, Strive for College
 

Jacob joined Strive for College Collaborative as its first full-time, paid employee. Jacob helped build a foundation upon which Strive could build a national movement, setting up Strive's first office and staff. Jacob oversaw curriculum and chapter expansion, as well as helped product manage Strive's alpha version of its college admissions search tool.

Prior to Strive, Jacob worked at QuestBridge. At QuestBridge, Jacob worked on the Recruitment and Retention Team, responsible for identifying students and helping them successfully complete QuestBridge programs. As a member of this dynamic team, Jacob worked on everything from preparing mass communication emails to conducting business intelligence analysis. All of these experiences helped him realize his passion for improving education systems, namely increasing accessibility and the effectiveness of higher education.

Prior to QuestBridge, Jacob was in the Peace Corps, teaching English in a small town in rural Mongolia. Jacob graduated from Pomona College with a degree in Cognitive Science with an emphasis in Computer Science.

Vivek Sankaran
Senior VP & Chief Customer Officer, Frito-Lay North America
 

Vivek Sankaran has a long and distinguished management career in the highest echelons of corporate America, in particular at PepsiCo and its Frito-Lay subsidiary. Before assuming the first of several roles at Frito-Lay, he served as senior vice president for Corporate Strategy and Development of PepsiCo, the world's second-largest food & beverage company, where he was responsible for guiding the company's strategic direction.

Before joining PepsiCo in 2009, Vivek was a partner at McKinsey and Co., one of the world's leading strategy consulting firms. He served several Fortune 100 companies with a focus on retail and high tech. He co-led the firm's North American purchasing and supply management practice and was on the leadership team of the North American retail practice. Before working for McKinsey, Vivek was a service engineer for Xerox and a manufacturing engineer for Bekaert, a global wire manufacturer.

Vivek has an MBA from the University of Michigan, a master's degree in manufacturing from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai. He is based in Dallas, Texas.

Tom Vander Ark

Managing Partner, Learn Capital

Tom Vander Ark is author of Getting Smart: How Digital Learning is Changing the World and founder of GettingSmart.com. Tom is also a partner in Learn Capital, a venture capital firm investing in learning content, platforms, and services with the goal of transforming educational engagement, access, and effectiveness.

Previously he served as President of the X PRIZE Foundation and was the Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Tom was the first business executive to serve as a public school superintendent. Tom is a director of the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and several other nonprofits. Tom received the Distinguished Achievement Medal and graduated from the Colorado School of Mines. He received his M.B.A. in finance from the University of Denver. He continues his education online.