The social unrest in our world and widespread public expression of pain and suffering, following the tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black men and women, have shaken the foundation of CFES Brilliant Pathways.  We are reminded that this is nothing new. Systemic racism is real. It has been with us all along.  More than ever, it requires steadfast effort by all to eliminate. 

CFES was founded three decades ago to provide postsecondary and career opportunities for all low-income youth.  Though we have helped 100,000 children – 75% students of color – attain college degrees, a great deal more action is necessary by us and all others committed to justice 

Martin Luther King’s words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” animate the very heart and soul of CFES.  As an organization with the mission to achieve opportunity for children in the US, the events in Minneapolis and other sites across our country are an alarming call to action for CFES to redouble its efforts.  

The CFES response is not just to speak out about inequities and racism but to take action to correct them.  Over the next 12 months, we will help 25,000 students become college and career ready.  We will train 5,000 educators, college students, community and business leaders to be part of our support team to help underserved youth navigate the pathway to college and career, a pathway that has shifted significantly in the wake of the recent pandemic induced disruption of secondary and post-secondary institutions.

Our commitment to step up at this critical time is captured in the phrase: Stronger than Ever Together because we all need to be stronger than ever to help our youth.  In fact, the theme of our weeklong conference in late October is Stronger than Ever Together.  The conference will gather hundreds of students, educators and partners virtually to ensure that we are even better equipped to support one another in helping realize dreams and opportunities for all of America’s underserved youth.

-Rick Dalton, CFES President and CEO

-Bart J. Morrison, CFES Board Chair