Thanks to a strong community of friends like you, there are now 225 CV college grads, and we’ll surpass 300 in the next 18 months! Together, we’ve built an outstanding track record of student success: 97% of CV students enroll in college and 65% graduate within 6 years, nearly all with bachelor’s degrees. This is truly extraordinary. Nationally only 21% of low-income, first-gen students who enroll in college earn a bachelor’s degree within 6 years.
Perhaps just as important, CV has accomplished this in alignment with our shared values. We always demand that students think critically and work hard. That’s an absolute. But we don’t ask students to pull up their sagging pants. We affirm students’ cultural identities, and encourage them to author their own definitions of success as they pursue a degree.
And we don’t ask students to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. We recognize that higher education isn’t an individual pursuit. All of us – not just low-income, first-gen students – are strongest when we participate in loving, interdependent communities, and this continues to be essential to CV’s approach.
The blessings of the CV community benefit all of us. I’ve had the privilege of spending 13 years in a space that’s endlessly inspiring, full of laughter, and rich with dedicated students, staff, board members, donors, and friends. While founding and growing CV has required tremendous hard work, it’s always been a self-interested pursuit. I genuinely love the job. Also, I grew up in Providence and CV has been an opportunity to work for justice in my hometown, building the kind of community I dream of living in.
But I founded CV when I was 25, and my work here represents nearly my entire professional life. I’m ready for new experiences and the world is a big place worth exploring. I’m not sure yet what my next step will be – and I want to savor the next 4 months – but I’m excited to dive into an open-ended space when I step down.
The timing of this transition is about me, but it’s also about CV’s readiness for change.
We have an experienced, capable, and deeply committed staff that’s poised to carry on the work. We also have a deeply dedicated board that recognizes CV is precious without being resistant to new ideas. Seriously, I wouldn’t trade our team for anyone.
We’ve built fundraising momentum and achieved major revenue increases over the last three years. Resources are in place to continue on this trajectory, and our financial position is extraordinarily strong for a small organization.
I have deep faith in friends like you to stand by CV students through this transition and beyond.
With all that in mind, we are approaching this change from a place of strength. While Executive Director leadership transitions – especially when a founder is leaving – can provoke anxiety, CV is well positioned to manage this change and continue to flourish with new leadership and ideas for its next phase of growth.
To ensure that we find the right new leadership – an individual who is in alignment with our values and our service to students – the Board of Directors and I are fortunate to be working with Ligature Partners, an executive search firm that will guide CV through our search process and executive transition. And I can’t stress enough that this as an opportunity to build the organization and even more deeply affirm our belief in first-gen students and more equitable access to opportunity.
Many thanks for an amazing 13 years!