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Pioneering Founder of College Possible to Retire This Year



Jim McCorkell, founder and CEO of College Possible, set to step down in June 2020; will continue to serve as a senior advisor.

ST. PAUL, MINN. (April 14, 2020) — College Possible, a national nonprofit committed to connecting low-income high school and college students with near-peer coaches, today announced that its founder and fearless advocate for low-income students, Jim McCorkell, will retire from his role as chief executive officer. Beginning July 1, 2020, McCorkell will serve as a senior advisor to the national board of trustees and Craig Robinson, who was appointed president, last year, as part of a long-term succession plan.

“Two decades ago, when I founded College Possible, I could not have imagined the scale and impact of the organization today. I’m humbled by the support of our board and donors, but most of all by the energy and dedication of a team that now spans seven cities and supports nearly 25,000 low-income students each year,” said Jim McCorkell, CEO of College Possible. “I’m confident that under Craig’s stewardship our mission will not waver as we expand into new communities and unlock the potential of a new generation of aspiring college graduates.”

Founded in 2000, College Possible draws upon the talents and energy of AmeriCorps members to coach low-income and first-generation high school students navigating the often complex world of college preparation and admissions. Now one of the largest nonprofit college access and completion organizations in the country, the idea for College Possible was conceived by McCorkell, himself a first-generation college student, as a graduate student at Harvard University.

Early evidence of the organization’s efficacy, as evidenced by a growing body of research, including a 2013 Harvard randomized control trial, have earned College Possible support from major U.S. philanthropies including Bloomberg Philanthropies, Blue Meridian, the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, and the Ballmer Group.

Earlier this year, College Possible published the organization’s first Alumni Outcomes Report, which found that one in five College Possible graduates completed college with no debt. According to the report, College Possible alumni have a 98% employment rate, increased levels of civic engagement, and expectations for their children to attend college. Nearly all of the organization’s alumni are now employed, with fully 1/3 earning $100,000 per year, or more.

“We owe deep gratitude to Jim for his tireless efforts, leadership, and vision over the last 20 years,” said Stephen M. Smith, chair of the national board of College Possible. “Leadership changes for founder-led organizations are never easy, and the board has appreciated the chance to work closely with Jim on his succession plan. The board is confident that thanks to those efforts and Craig’s appointment as president last year, College Possible will continue to thrive.”

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