Letter from Michael
Our Team
Events & Marketing
Your Support


Michael J. Carter
Founder, President & CEO
Strive for College

Dear Friends:

The last few months have been intense and rewarding for Strive for College. In this 3rd Quarter Strive Newsletter, we focus on major milestones we have reached in the time since our last update.

We organized our first major fundraising event on September 25th, which was a tremendous success. Strive for College has raised over $50,000 from the event, and is still securing donations through follow-up conversations. The event helped Strive meet new contacts and strengthen existing partnerships. We will be organizing more events soon, with at least one in New York and one in the Bay Area. Agendas and final dates will be provided as they become available.

I am honored and excited to announce five new wonderful and valuable additions to our Strive for College team:

Susan Stucky joined our team full-time as Director of Business Development. She started in October and has already proven how valuable she will be in a variety of areas, including completing work-flow processes, strategy and marketing.

We welcomed two new board members in August, and received one confirmation to join as of January, 2010. Joe Lonsdale helped build Clarium Capital Management and is Co-founder of Palantir Technologies. Tom Vander Ark was the former Executive Director of Education for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and currently is a partner at Vander Ark/Ratcliff, an education public affairs firm, and a partner at Revolution Learning, a private equity fund focused on innovative learning tools and formats. Miriam Rivera, Co-Founder of Ulu Ventures and former Vice President/Deputy General Counsel of Google Inc., will officially join our Board of Directors in January, 2010.

We are pleased to announce that Dewey & LeBoeuf has agreed to provide Strive for College with pro bono legal counsel. Jay Martin, Managing Partner for DL’s Albany, New York office, has been working with Strive for College in an advisory role and will be working with us more closely during his Fellowship in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard next year.

I am proud to inform you that we are making encouraging strides in our fundraising efforts. We have already raised more than $100,000, and I am confident that we will be able to reach our $300,000 goal by January, 2010 with your help.

I would also like to take this opportunity to personally thank Jacob Stiglitz, who continues to keep Strive for College on target to meet our operational goals. Thank you also to all of our board members, advisors and supporters who have been vital contributors to our success.

Below, you will find more information about our recent news and accomplishments. I want to hear how you are doing and explore ways you can help Strive further its mission.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at

Best Wishes,



Susan Stucky
Director of Business Development


To read Susan's biography on our Staff page, click here.

After ten years working in finance, I’m excited to be able to put my skills to work for a greater cause. I have always been involved in non-profits in some capacity and have explored a variety of different roles.

Jacob and Michael introduced me to Strive for College’s innovative and cost-efficient approach of supporting low-income high school students throughout the college application process. Immediately, I knew that this was what I was looking for. I wanted to be a part of this team and national movement – a movement through which higher education is accessible to everyone and everyone has a chance to have a better life, to build a stronger community and to support future economic growth.

Over the coming months, I will support Jacob to streamline Strive’s work-flow processes, define and complete our strategy and marketing plan, find new business partners and support Michael in his fundraising efforts.

I am excited and honored to be part of the Strive for College team and to be able to contribute to Strive for College so that the organization can reach its potential. Knowing that our efforts help young people make the right decisions during the first important step in their adult life will be rewarding.

Please feel free to contact me anytime at:




Former Principal, Clarium Capital Management
Co-founder, Palantir Technologies

Joe Lonsdale supports us in technology and strategy.

Managing Partner, Revolution Partners
Former President, X-Prize Foundation
Former Executive Director of Education, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Tom Vander Ark supports us in strategic partnership development and strategy.

MIRIAM RIVERA (effective January, 2010)
Co-founder, Ulu Ventures
Former Vice President/Deputy General Counsel, Google Inc.

Miriam Rivera has already contributed tremendous time and effort to our technology development and strategy and will officially join our Board of Directors as of January, 2010.

Read more about our new board members at our Board of Directors page.


We are proud to welcome Jay Martin of Dewey & LeBouff, who has agreed to provide Strive for College with complete pro bono legal counsel.

Dewey also is the pro bono counsel for other national education non-profits such as Teach for America. We are excited and honored to have such outstanding counsel as we explore ways for our technology to help support and sustain our chapter operations.


Strive for College is looking to hire two additional full time staff. These two team members will have the unique opportunity to work directly with Strive's senior management team and make significantly contributions in a fast-paced and highly collaborative environment.

We are looking for one person to support our chapter operations and the other to assist with our development and fundraising efforts. Please refer exceptional candidates to our website to learn more about the positions available and how to apply.



We held our first event on September 25th at Palantir Technologies' offices in Palo Alto.

The event focused on how technology combined with a grassroots movement can transform college access in America. Miriam Rivera and Tom Vander Ark delivered wonderful talks about their past experiences and what draws them to support Strive for College.

As it was our first event, we kept attendance low to ensure high quality, test our event approach and enable the possibility of personal follow-up and feedback with all of our participants. Over 45 people attended, which led to new contacts, successful partnerships and monetary contributions to Strive for College.

Strive for College would like to extend a special thanks to Connie Lurie, whose support and help made the event a success. We would also like to thank Palantir Technologies for donating the space and helping to set up the event.


National events:
We are planning two additional fundraising events, one in New York and one in the Bay Area. Agendas and dates will be provided as they become available. Strive is planning to have four major fundraising events nationally in 2010.

Regional events:
We are also planning fundraising events at the Chapter level for 2010. There will be at least one event per semester per Strive Chapter.

Mentor Conference:
In May of 2010, Strive for College will host its first yearly national conference. The conference will bring together mentors and chapter directors by invitation to meet with our national staff, advisors, and experts on college access from across the country.


We have started to develop defined marketing and fundraising plans for 2010. We have also focused on extending our promotional materials and enhancing the quality of our existing marketing package. Based on Strive Online Data, we produced our first Curriculum Handout, created a new version of our Company Brochure and enhanced and extended our Strive Chapter Manual. Strive will enhance the quality of its marketing by adding target-group materials to its existing portfolio.



As we grow, our focus is on one thing: impact. Strive is focused on our students and our mentors - their stories, their goals, their successes. Every piece of work Strive is doing - from technology to fundraising - is focused on helping us achieve our operational goals.

We are in the process of refining our strategy, defining and completing work-flow and hiring processes to ensure high quality in all of Strive's operations.


Strive for College manages 10 Chapters across the country, 5 of which are fully operational and the rest are fully prepared to launch in January 2010. Several more are already in the initial stages of starting-up.

New chapters already prepared to launch:
• University of Pennsylvania
• Carnegie Mellon University
• University of Georgia
• Oklahoma University
• University of Virginia

As a result of our marketing efforts, we have received increased interest from college students to build new Strive Chapters. We are currently reviewing all applications and will select those which best fit our strategy, and will easily reach our target goal of 20 chapters in 2010.


You can help Strive for College in many ways:

Spread the Word: Reach out to college student leaders who might be interested in starting a Strive Chapter on their campus. Please refer these students to our website for more information and to apply.

Office Equipment Donations: We are preparing to move into our new office space in Palo Alto. We would be grateful for any items you think we might need. Please email us with more information.

Networking: Anyone who Michael hasn’t spoken with yet? Hard to believe, but if you have a good candidate, please put us in touch!

Fundraising: We need investors of all levels to reach our $300,000 goal by January, 2010. We appreciate your past, current and future support. Information on how to make a tax-deductible gift can be found on our website.


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