Statement to the Community

June 18, 2021

Letter to the ACCESS Family and our Community:

Last year at this time, the Access College Foundation joined many organizations in standing in solidarity against racism and social injustice.  We are continuing that pledge and want to let you know some of the things that we have done over the past year to move forward in our promises.

First, expanding educational opportunities is where the Access College Foundation has particular expertise and so we want to continue to excel in our college access and success skills.  Services we provide to our students and our community were more critical than ever over this season of a global pandemic and we successfully assisted nearly 15,000 students from grade 7 through college completion this school year and helped 1,800 seniors from the Class of 2021 leverage $21 million in financial aid and scholarships to continue their education beyond high school.  These were students of all races, genders, family income and preferences with no difference in how each one was treated and served.

Second, there were several action steps that we acknowledged would need to be fully incorporated into our organizational culture and here is the progress we have made:

  1. We created a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force to allow us to continue to build an environment of cultural competence for our staff and students so we all can make a difference in creating a just society. The Task Force has accomplished the following:

    1. Created a DEI calendar that highlights and celebrates many cultural groups and activities inside and outside of the organization.

    2. Planned to expand activities to include special training for our team with the potential to use that training with students as well.

    3. Conducted quarterly DEI activities to create an open dialogue about the experiences of our team in order to provide greater understanding for all of us and allow us to find ways to better support both our team and our students.

  2. We continued to ensure that our Access team is reflective of our community.

  3. We continued to work on increasing the diversity of our Board of Directors to ensure that it is also reflective of the community we serve.

  4. We fully engaged our Alumni Committee of current and former Access Scholars during the year and will utilize them to help us drive our program services and culture over this next year.

  5. Following the establishment of the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, we embraced Juneteenth as a holiday for all employees.

We will continue to stand against injustice of all types and to improve the futures of our students and this community.

With great respect and love,

Bonnie B. Sutton
President and CEO