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Our North Star

February 21, 2024

Dear ECMC Foundation Community,

The nature of our work at ECMC Foundation is human-centered―fueled by the heart as much as by intellect. We are energized by the desire to serve others through the life-altering power of a postsecondary credential. In concert with our deep commitment to the great potential every person holds, we must set a clear focus on the future. Today, I am pleased to announce an ambitious but achievable goal that we will work tirelessly toward over the next 16 years: By 2040 equity gaps in postsecondary completion are eliminated, so that underserved learners have greater opportunity for social and economic mobility.

Will some consider this an audacious goal? Yes. However, we believe it is not just within reach, especially by standing shoulder to shoulder with others in a common cause, but achieving equity in completion is what underserved learners deserve and our nation’s future demands. Through a collaborative effort among leaders in philanthropy, higher education, business and government, we aim to accelerate college completion, develop clear pathways to well-paying jobs, grow our economy and uplift our society. We intend to advance this important work with a clear and unyielding equity lens.

Our new North Star aligns perfectly with our mission to improve higher education for career success among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation. Our initiatives, strategically responsive grants and program-related investments are the vehicles we use to advance toward our goal.

Increasingly, the value we place on colleges and universities will be judged by the extent to which they propel their students—especially students from underserved groups—toward a future that provides the opportunity for them to engage fully in America’s democracy and economy. This positionality requires leading with equity in postsecondary completion.

Our North Star shines as bright as the promise and potential of our students. At ECMC Foundation, we are steadfast in our focus and committed to harnessing every resource in urgent pursuit of this goal. We humbly invite all colleagues to join us on this important front.

My own journey is a testament to the power of ECMC Foundation’s mission. From personal experience, I can empathize with those from underserved communities whose lives can be immeasurably changed by postsecondary education. The positive impact is profound, and transformational systemic change is possible. As I mark my one-year anniversary with the Foundation, now is the perfect time to reflect and celebrate our organization’s legacy of systemic change, our work to advance career success through postsecondary education and our impact on improving outcomes for underserved populations. I am honored to be a part of this outstanding work; few endeavors could be more satisfying—both professionally and personally.

During 2024 and beyond, I look forward to working alongside you in advancing our mutual goals to support the educational aspirations of our most vulnerable students for whom our systems of higher education can be transformational. All learners bring tremendous talents and skills to our campuses. Let us optimize their potential contributions to family, community and country. In the months ahead, I hope you’ll join me with refreshed vigor to support all learners and together realize an equity-centered postsecondary education ecosystem.

Thank you.


In service to students and community,

Jacob Fraire
ECMC Foundation

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