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College Possible Minnesota names nonprofit leader Deb Salls as new executive director

College Possible Minnesota, the Minnesota chapter of the pioneering national college access and success nonprofit, has appointed Deb Salls as its new executive director. A celebrated nonprofit leader, Ms. Salls brings decades of relevant experience working youth and other social impact organizations.

“I am very excited to join the College Possible Minnesota team,” said Deb. “For nearly 25 years, College Possible Minnesota has supported youth from historically excluded communities in their pursuits of getting into college and throughout their collegiate experience. I believe in the power of youth and the power of their dreams, and I am thrilled to be joining an organization that supports young people in the visions for their future.”

College Possible Minnesota is one of the most prominent college access and success programs in the state. Its pioneering model matches students with near-peer coaches and an evidence-based curriculum designed to help students overcome the most common barriers to getting into college and completing their degree – all at no cost to students or their families. Over 80 percent of those participating in the program at College Possible Minnesota are students of color.

Ms. Salls has an extensive background in nonprofit leadership, a proven track record of driving impactful change, and she brings a wealth of experience to the organization. Most recently, she served as the executive director at Social Venture Partners Minnesota, where she was responsible for catalyzing equitable social change by expanding the impact of youth-serving nonprofits and fostering an effective community of engaged philanthropists. Her commitment to advancing racial equity and building strong community partnerships aligns perfectly with College Possible’s values and mission.

Prior to her role at Social Venture Partners Minnesota, Ms. Salls held various leadership positions including executive director at Bike Works in Seattle, WA, where over her 10-year tenure she significantly grew the organization’s resources and impact and expanding youth outreach tenfold. Early in her career, Deb held progressively increasing responsibilities, including the role of executive director at multiple YMCA locations in Chicago, IL, St. Louis, MO, and Minneapolis, MN.

“We are very excited to have Deb Salls selected as the College Possible Minnesota Executive Director from a vast pool of candidates,” said College Possible CEO Dr. Siva Kumari. “Along with senior leaders at our Minnesota site, I am confident that Deb will increase our impact, innovate our program model and work with her peers across the nation as one College Possible. Given her knowledge of the Minnesota community, I am confident that she will strengthen our impact across the state.”

Ms. Salls holds a Master of Arts in nonprofit management from Washington University in St. Louis, a Master of Education in youth development leadership from the University of Minnesota, and a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology from the University of Minnesota. She also holds a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) certification.

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