CFES Summer Gala will Support Some of America’s Most Underserved Communities, Schools & Youth

CFES Brilliant Pathways has helped 100,000 underserved students nationwide become college and career ready over the last 28 years. Today, that success faces a headwind in rural America, where children are being left further and further behind.

As the only national non-profit of its kind located in a rural community, CFES is uniquely positioned to address the adversity that rural communities face: disappearing jobs, declining population, surges in opioid addiction and other risk behaviors and waning aspirations. Especially troubling is the fact that rural youth are attending and graduating from college at lower rates than their urban peers.

To address these critical issues, CFES is hosting a summer gala on Saturday, July 13 with 100 percent of the proceeds to support rural schools and underserved students in high-need communities. Our goal is to raise $450,000 (that will be matched by individual gifts) to support 15 schools for two years in rural New York, Vermont and other select areas of the United States by strategically targeting dollars to change life trajectories and foster economic and civic vitality.


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About our work with rural schools

Fortunate Man

One of the first things students want to hear about when Dr. John Fortune walks into their classroom is his most shocking cases as a trauma surgeon. By the end of class, all they want to hear about is the high-quality jobs in healthcare he came to tell them how to access. Fortune, a professor of surgery at University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, has been traversing the North Country with his interactive presentation during the 2018-2019 school year as part of a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)/health care careers program sponsored by the Brooks and Joan Fortune Family Foundation in conjunction with CFES Brilliant Pathways. Fortune’s current work with CFES – a global non-profit that has helped over 100,000 underserved students become college and career ready – allows him to focus on the aspect of [...]

Harnessing College & Career Readiness Opportunities in Rural America

Here’s the thing about opportunities: They’re really easy to grab. As long as you know what they look like, where to find them, and how to put them to work. But for the hundreds of thousands of children raised in rural communities, with few chances to explore colleges and careers and no obvious route to get there… those opportunities are not just elusive, they’re invisible. “I didn’t know what I was missing,” says Erick DuShane. As a child in Crown Point, a town of 2,000 people in Northern New York alongside Lake Champlain, he had a gnawing sense that small-town life wasn’t for him—but little sense of what, exactly, he was missing. “I had no idea of the opportunities that were out there. I had no idea about the careers I wasn’t exposed to. But when you step [...]

In My Opinion: All hands needed in support of rural schools, students

The following Op-Ed by CFES Brilliant Pathways Board Member Lawson Allen originally appeared in the Plattsburgh Press Republican on November 29, 2018. My husband, Clint, and I have been coming to the Adirondacks for almost 50 years, continuing a tradition my grandmother started in 1903, when she and her family first summered in Essex. Like so many others, we are drawn to the region by its beauty and unspoiled wilderness. In recent years, we have become familiar with the plight of many full-time residents in the area who struggle to make ends meet. Just as in other parts of rural America, there is precious little work to sustain families here, and it can be especially difficult without a post-secondary education. Not only are we seeing firsthand struggles that are uniquely rural, but we are also hearing about them [...]