Oakland Local: A Better Chance Celebrates 50 Years of Increasing High-Quality Education for Youth of Color

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Image_0May 2, 2013
By Corey Olds

Approximately 75 directors of admission and diversity from Bay Area independent schools gathered for breakfast at the UC-Berkeley, Clark Kerr Campus Wednesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of A Better Chance (ABC), a national organization headquartered in New York City, that annually places 500 or so academically-promising students of color in grades 6-12 in more than 300 ABC Member Schools throughout 27 states.

In 1963, A Better Chance partnered with 16 prestigious independent schools (14 of them in New England) to provide talented, but economically-disadvantaged students access to the best education available.

Over the decades, ABC and its Member Schools such as Milton Academy, the Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and Phillips Academy have produced nationally-renowned figures like Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, NAACP Legal and Educational Defense Fund president Debo P. Adegbile, founder and president of the Fellowship of Latino Pastors of New England Dr. Roberto Miranda, and creator of the Violence Prevention Program and trauma surgeon at the University of Maryland Medical Center Dr. Carnell Cooper. Including these distinguished men, ABC boasts 13,800 alumni nationwide.

Yesterday's "50th Anniversary Member School Breakfast" marked the second of four such celebrations planned for this year. Earlier this spring, a celebration breakfast was held in Washington, D.C., and there will be one in Atlanta, prior to the June 11, 2013, "50th Anniversary A Better Chance Awards" in New York City.

Besides honoring the 16 original member schools, Roger W. Ferguson Jr., Chief Executive Officer of TIAA-CREF, will receive the Chairman's Award and ABC alumnus Theo Killion, Chief Executive Officer of Zale Corporation, will accept the DreamBuilder Award.

A local educational leader, Kareem J. Weaver, who serves as executive director for the San Francisco office of New Leaders, a nonprofit that develops transformational school leaders and designs leadership policies for school systems nationwide, delivered the keynote address.

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