Merger of two local groups aims to boost college success
by Dale Mezzacappa
Philadelphia Futures and the White-Williams Scholars, two organizations that have long helped low-income students complete high school and go to college, are merging in March as a way to expand and deepen their services.
The combined organization, which has yet to be named, will be in a better position to help students succeed in college once they get there, said Joan Mazzotti, president of Philadelphia Futures. She will also lead the new group.
"We recognize that financial support alone doesn't guarantee college success," Mazzotti said.
"We also recognize that in the current economy, a larger organization with greater reach and scale will be more compelling to a broader range of funders."
The combined budget of the two groups is $3.4 million.
This school year, both will serve their current students with the same programming. Once the merger is complete, a strategic planning process will take place to "shape the long-term future of the combined organization," Mazzotti said.
White-Williams, whose history goes back to the 19th century, has provided low-income high school students monthly stipends and academic advice. It started as an organization to help at-risk females and pioneered the concept of in-school counseling. Philadelphia Futures, which began in 1989, identifies low-income students with high potential and average or better grades, and provides them with mentors, scholarships, assistance getting into college, and supports during their college careers.
Futures also works with a group of colleges as destinations for their students, including Penn State, Dickinson, and Franklin & Marshall, and hopes to expand the partnerships to work with more institutions, Mazzotti said.