We promise to work together as a community to help students in Wake County achieve a postsecondary credential and living wage employment. With this promise, we affirm our confidence in the potential and the promise in all our youth to be college and career ready. The Raleigh Promise is the work of the Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative (RCCC)



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What We Do

The Raleigh Promise seeks to increase the number of Wake County youth who achieve a postsecondary credential and living-wage employment. To achieve this objective, the RCCC will convene and connect like-minded organizations in Wake County to form partnerships that agree to help youth graduate from high school, succeed in college and find employment. The RCCC provides the following services in support of this objective:

  • Operates and maintains a searchable listing and database of educational and work-force development resources in Wake County.
  • Identifies, convenes and helps like-minded organizations explore the possibility of working together, rather than independently.
  • Offers workshops for community members interested in leading community partnerships.
  • Partners with other organizations to periodically host and present conferences/workshops focused on best practices, lessons-learned and innovations in community partnerships that help youth graduate from high school, go to college and find employment.
  • Searches for, identifies, and collaborates with other community partners to help secure resources to support the Raleigh Promise.



Our Common Agenda

Our Vision

All Wake County citizens achieve economic prosperity through higher education.

Our Goal

By 2025, the RCCC will have helped double the number of low income youth in Wake County who are projected to achieve a postsecondary credential from 672 to 1344 college graduates per year.

Our Mission

We convene and connect community partners and resources in Wake County to:

  • reduce current gaps in student academic success
  • help students achieve a postsecondary credential and living-wage employment through completion of higher education.

3 Community Partnerships

…We believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.

– John Kania & Mark Kramer



The Raleigh Future Scholars Program is part of Students Discover which is funded by an NSF Math Science Partnership grant and offers a cohort of Wake County middle-school students with:

  • STEM summer bridge programming
  • Coaching
  • Saturday STEM sessions during the school year
  • College campus visits
  • Parental involvement
  • The opportunity to interact with scientists at the NC Science Museum



In collaboration with NC State University TRIO programs, AmeriCorps Vista and partnering community-based organizations, the Raleigh College Center provides Wake County youth with academic support, college application assistance, advising services and campus visits.








Raleigh Fellows are NC State Students who have graduated from Wake County high schools and have agreed to participate in a variety of student success activities administered by the TRIO Program.

These activities are designed to increase college retention, persistence and graduation. In addition, Raleigh Fellows can apply for “last dollar” scholarships, offered by the Goodwin-Meissner Family Foundation, which cover the gap between total cost of college attendance and other sources of financial assistance.



Raleigh Future Scholars


Students Discover: An NSF Math Science Partnership

The Future Scholars’ Program takes as its starting point the importance of early and accurate identification of students at-risk for not graduating from high school.

The Future Scholars’ Program has been designed as a “high-intensity” intervention that incorporates several strategies that have proven effective (Dynarski and Gleason, 1998). In contrast to “low-intensity programs” that provide only occasional counseling and training; the Future Scholars’ Program offers a STEM summer bridge program, coaching, Saturday STEM sessions during the school year to provide opportunities to interact with scientists and engage with college campuses, and STEM programming to promote parental involvement. In a national study of high school dropouts, a majority of focus group participants suggested that the following factors might have helped them stay in school: smaller class size, more academic support, summer school, improved parent/school communication, and a stronger relationship with someone in the school (Bridgeland, DiIulio, and Morrison, 2006). The Future Scholars’ Program is designed to tackle these concerns.

The STEM summer bridge component is held on twelve days over three consecutive weeks with programming comprised of the following components: persistence skill building, skill development in Common Core mathematics and Common Core English language arts utilizing Citizen Science or STEM focused passages, STEM project-based inquiry piloting modules developed by NC State University Kenan Fellows, weekly visits to the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Nature Research Center to engage with scientists directly involved with Citizen Science, and weekly opportunities to engage with individuals representing STEM businesses or careers. A daily feature of the STEM summer bridge program will include piloting Citizen Science projects developed for later deployment throughout NC. Student feedback regarding the Citizen Science projects will serve to not only further enhance the development of the projects but will reinforce for the bridge program students the positive impacts on learning that are associated with project-based learning (Capraro & Slough, 2009). Opportunities to pilot and think critically about Citizen Science projects with encourage rising 9th grade students transitioning to a STEM Network high school to begin making STEM connections across curricular areas that they may not have experienced previously. Deep academic engagement that offers students opportunity for authentic work has been identified as a key engagement strategy to promote persistence (Rumberger & Lim, 2008).

The Future Scholars’ Program also provides trained volunteer coaches, drawn from business or non-profit community agencies with preference given to those agencies with a STEM focus, to meet with FSP students. Coaches provide positive encouragement to persist in school and provide a focus or connection to STEM careers. WWC highlighted the effectiveness of programs that connected adults with at-risk students to help them develop successful learning and engagement habits. This strategy had a significant impact on reducing dropout rates (Sinclair, Christenson, and Thurlow, 2005). Other programs that have proven successful addressed family and community factors that may affect dropping out by increasing communication with parents and helping parents to successfully advocate for their students (US Department of Education, 2006b). By focusing on these research-based strategies, the Future Scholars Program builds a strong foundation for improving the chances for these students to be successful in school, graduate on-time, and continue on to postsecondary education.

Bridgeland, J.M., DiIulio, J.J., & Morison, K.B. (March, 2006). The silent epidemic: Perspectives of high school dropouts. Washington, DC: Civic Enterprises, LLC.

Capraro, R. M. & Slough, S.W. (2009). Project-based learning: An integrated science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) approach.  Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Dynarski, M. & Gleason, P. (1998). How can we help? What we have learned from evaluations of federal dropout-prevention programs. Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Retrieved June 21, 2008 from: http://www.mathematicampr.com/publications/PDFs/dod-syn.pdf

Education Week (2009). Diplomas count 2009: Graduation by the Numbers, Education Week, June 10, 2010, Vol. 29 (34).

Rumberger, R. and Lim, S. A. (2008). Why Students Drop Out of School: A Review of 25 Years of Research. Policy Brief 15. Retrieved from  http://cdrp.ucsb.edu/dropouts/download.php?file=researchreport15.pdf

Sinclair, M. F., Christenson, S. L., & Thurlow, M .L. (2005). Promoting school completion of urban secondary youth with emotional or behavioral disabilities. Exceptional Children, 71(4), 465–482.

U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, What Works Clearinghouse. (2006b). Check & Connect. Retrieved on June 12, 2008 from             http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/dropout/check_conn/.

Program Partners:

  • Wake County Public Schools
  • NC State University
  • NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Nature Research Center
  • Keenan Fellows
  • Science House
  • Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative


Raleigh College Center

The Raleigh College Center is a service-based outreach program that partners with community-based organizations (CBOs) to offer under-resourced youth in Raleigh with college awareness, college access and college preparation programs and activities. The Raleigh College Center is a collaborative between the NC State University TRIO program, AmeriCorps VISTA, the RCCC and participating CBOs.

This year’s partnering CBO is The Wade Edwards Learning Laboratory (WELL) Plans are underway to provide college and career counseling services through a partnership with the Counselor Education Program in the College of Education, North Carolina State University. Listed below are examples of the programs and activities that have been implemented by the Raleigh College Center:

  • SAT Math Prep (Michael Holmes, Wake Tech Community College)
  • Personal Finances, Paying for College and Money Management (Representative,
  • Positive Youth Development Workshop (Representative, Wake County
    Youth Thrive)
  • NC State Open House Visit, (Representative, Admissions NC State)
  • Oak City Classic College Fair, (Raleigh College Center)
  • “My Fit” Picking a College That is Right For Me – (Representative, WTCC)
  • Campus Insight Series (Representative, Shaw University)
  • Career Exploration Workshop (Dr. Melvin Wallace, Shaw University)
  • Studying and Test-Taking Skills
  • Creating Tomorrow’s Leaders Academy
  • Personal Finances, Paying for College and Money Management (Representative,
  • Styled for Success Clothing Drive (collaboration with NC State Career
    Development Center)
  • FAFSA Assistance Workshop
  • Students Visit and Tour Wake Tech Community College
  • College Application Readiness Workshop
  • Teen Outreach Visit to Peace University
  • 2nd Annual Etiquette Dinner
    • Sponsored by Parks and Rec, The WELL, Digital Connectors, Neighbor to Neighbor, Y-Achievers, NC State University
      Club (host) and facilitated by students and staff from six colleges and community organizations leaders
  • Bridge to College Summer Program (partnership with the WELL)


Raleigh Fellows

As a nationally ranked top-tier land grant University, NC State is seeks to provide access and support to students from across the state and surrounding neighborhoods. As such, under the direction of Dr. Jose Picart, Executive Director of RCCC, and coordinated by Lori Ghosal, Academic Coach with TRIO, NC State has continued the promise set forth by the RCCC in 2011 through the continuation of the Raleigh Fellows Program at NC State.

In 2015, the Raleigh Fellows Program reached out to newly admitted Pell grant students from Wake County and created a new cohort of Raleigh Fellows. Through a series of meetings, programming, and activities, these students were offered an intensive mentoring opportunity to support their overall college, career and life plan.

2014-15 Program Components:

  • Outreach and invitation to all eligible first-year, City of Raleigh and Wake County, low-income NC State students
  • Welcome Program to introduce selected students and begin forming a social network
  • A series of five personal and career development workshops with opportunities for individual insight and reflection including:
  • Self-exploration, understanding one’s values, what is important to each, and personal responsibility
  • Creating a vision and connecting it to a career and life plan
  • Putting the vision into a measurable action plan
  • Mid-semester assessment, Identifying and addressing barriers
  • Tying it all together with a philosophy for the future
  • Two individual Coaching meetings for individual goal setting, action plan, progress review
  • Campus and/or community engagement to bring in real-life experiences, give back to the community and global awareness
  • End-of-Year Recognition Program

NC State University Raleigh Fellows students are under-resourced, often first-generation college students, many of whom come from diverse and underrepresented populations, including children of immigrants where English may not be their first language. These students aspire to pursue careers that their families can only dreamed of and are not able to provide the social capital or knowledge to help guide and direct their students.

It is our wish to keep Raleigh Fellows as a viable, living program that serves existing and new students every year, expanding on programming to fulfill the promise of under-resourced students from the City of Raleigh to achieve a post-secondary credential and gain access to a career path that will generate living wage employment.

For Academic Year 2015-16, we are proposing to continue with the activities of the past year as well as create new opportunities for students. Raleigh Fellows 2015-16 would include identifying and selecting a new cohort of freshmen and transfer students to add to the existing cohort of Raleigh Fellows, creating a larger, more expansive group. It is our intention that each year, the group would grow from incoming freshmen and transfer students. As Raleigh Fellows continue to grow each year, a natural peer-mentoring group is created, as these “more senior” Raleigh Fellows would provide peer-mentoring support to the incoming NC State Raleigh Fellows each year.

The workshops from the 2014-15 year have been well received by students and assessment indicates that students learned more about themselves, their values, their career paths, and how they would like to integrate their lives and careers. Given the age and developmental level of college freshmen and sophomores, it is important to begin with the fundamentals of self-knowledge and build on that with exposure to real-world situations, allowing students an opportunity for personal experience in their interests. This exposure cycles back to increased self-awareness and personal growth, while enhancing a wider perspective on career fields. Because of this, it is recommended to repeat this workshop series for new Raleigh Fellows, while integrating an additional dimension to the second-year Raleigh Fellows based on directed, career related activities. Exposure to an Academic Coach and a supportive peer group focused on identity development connected to career is immensely helpful to keep students focused on their sense of purpose and goals.

This year, programming for the new Raleigh Fellows students continues in the same manner as the 2014-15 cohort. New Fellows will engage in intensive self-development, discerning and developing a comprehensive career plan, informing their choice of major and career path through self-reflection, values identification, personal responsibility and experiential opportunities. The community engagement piece will enable students to commit to improving their community and make a positive impact of the future of Raleigh residents with an understanding of their impact in the global community. All Raleigh Fellows students are invited to participate in a series of five workshops, plus the Welcome Program and End-of-Year Program will be continued where.

In addition, returning Raleigh Fellows who have completed the workshops are invited to participate in the following activities:

  • Campus and Community Engagement and Reflection Journal: (one of the following options)
    • Engagement in Alternative Service Break to understand and provide service to the global community
    • Participation in COM 466 Nonprofit Leadership and Development (including 30 hours’ community service)
    • Participation in CLSEPS Leadership Development Series combined with 30 hours’ community service to the City of Raleigh community, options include:
      • mentor middle school or high school students on access to higher education or other concern through The WELL, Boys and Girls Clubs, Neighbor to Neighbor, Centennial Middle School
      • Habitat for Humanity or Service Raleigh along with RCCC partners or SSS
      • Other on or off-campus service will qualify, with verification of program advisor
  • Career Readiness Activities:
    • Shadowing or site visits in a company related to career field
    • Obtain a Faculty or Professional Career mentor on or off campus
    • Visiting speakers from community organizations and businesses
  • Peer Support and Sense of Community
    • Develop a Raleigh Fellows Peer Mentoring Support Network and student leadership
      team on campus
  •  Undergraduate Research Opportunity option
    • Two Raleigh Fellows students will participate in or create an undergraduate research project. Proposed research includes:
      • Project 1: Principal Investigator: Raleigh Fellow Mohammed S. Ahmed: 
      • Project 2: Principal Investigator: Raleigh Fellow Fatemeh Sadeghifar: 

Program Partners:
TRIO Program
College of Education, Counselor Education Program
Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative

What Is Collective Impact?

John Kania & Mark Kramer first wrote about collective impact in the Stanford Social Innovation Review in 2011 and identified five key elements of collective impact efforts:


  1. All participants have a common agenda for change including a shared understanding of the problem and a joint approach to solving it through agreed upon actions.
  2. Collecting data and measuring results consistently across all the participants ensures shared measurement for alignment and accountability.
  3. A plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each participant.
  4. Open and continuous communication is needed across the many players to build trust, assure mutual objectives, and create common motivation.
  5. backbone organisation(s) with staff and specific set of skills to serve the entire initiative and coordinate participating organisations and agencies.


Betsey McFarland

Executive Director
The Wade Edwards Learning Laboratory
(The WELL)



Brandon Stokes

Director of Retention and Student Success
Meredith College




Bryan Ryan

Senior Vice President
Curriculum Education Services
Wake Technical Community College




Caroline Harper

Data Analyst
Division of Administration
Wake County Human Services


Jennifer Spiker

Executive Director
Cooperating Raleigh Colleges



Jerry Nuesell

Title III Project Director
Wake Technical Community College


Jose Picart

Senior Faculty Fellow
Friday Institute
North Carolina State University


John Johnston

Community Development Manager
Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce




Marrius Pettiford

Senior Director of Counseling and Student Services
Wake County Public School System




Marsha Pharr

Director of TRIO Programs
North Carolina State University



Paula Moten-Tolson

Chairperson, Department of Education
Shaw University




Katherine Williams

County Extension Director
Wake County Center


Contact Us

Jose A. Picart, Ph.D.

Executive Director

Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative

Office:     (919) 513-3222
Email:     japicart@ncsu.edu


Bryan Ryan, Ph.D.

Associate Executive Director

Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative

Office: (919) 866-5146
Email: bryanryan@waketech.edu

Sheenal D. Young-Johnson

Administrative Assistant

Raleigh Colleges and Community Collaborative

Email: sdyoung@ncsu.edu


Students Accepted Into College.