Ready to Succeed’s Graduation Celebration Fundraiser

Yesterday, May 16, the Chief Clubhouse in Los Angeles was abuzz with excitement and inspiration as over 150 supporters, foundation partners, and graduating Scholars gathered for Ready to Succeed’s annual Graduation Celebration. This event not only marked a milestone for the Scholars but also showcased the impactful collaboration within our community.

Photo: Jeff Lewis

The morning was filled with powerful speeches, starting with the best-selling author and foster youth advocate Andrew Bridge, who delivered a keynote address. Andrew’s memoir Hope’s Boy is an unforgettable and inspiring account of his own childhood and experience in the foster care system. His forthcoming book, Child Catcher is “the true story of the fight to rescue the children confined to a violent and secretive institution in the rural South.” You can pre-order Child Catcher here.

Jess Cagle, former editor in chief of People magazine and current host of the Jess Cagle show, and Chief Entertainment Anchor at SiriusXM served as the hilarious Master of Ceremonies.

Photo: Jeff Lewis

One of the most poignant moments of the morning came from Tamar, a graduating Scholar whose speech moved the audience to tears. She shared her journey of overcoming preconceived notions and the critical role Ready to Succeed played in her personal and academic development. Tamar recounted her path toward college and how much she has grown. “This program has been a confidence booster, a reminder that I am more than a label or a statistic. It’s shown me that I’m not just a number; I’m a person with dreams, ambitions, and the potential to make an impact.” 


Surprise for the Scholars

Photo: Jeff Lewis

Thanks to Ready to Succeed’s partner The Change Reaction, every graduating this year will be gifted $2,000 in launch funds to help make their transition out of college a little smoother. With no familial support net, many grads still face uncertainty immediately after graduation day.  Because of your support, Ready to Succeed programming extends a full year after college. This means that former foster youth won’t be alone in their career journeys.

Impact and Support

The Graduation Celebration was not just an event to honor the achievements of our Scholars; it was a testament to the power of community support. The presence of over 150 attendees, including dedicated foundation partners and enthusiastic supporters, underscored a collective commitment to fostering success among foster youth and first-generation college students through college and beyond.

Honoring a Partner in Change

This year, Ready to Succeed was thrilled to present the Distinguished Honoree award to Sarah Ali of the R&S Kayne Foundation. Sarah’s leadership and insights have been fundamental to the growth of Ready to Succeed and the cohorts of first-generation college students who joined the organization starting in 2020.

Looking Forward

As these 68 grads move on to the next chapter in their lives, Ready to Succeed is preparing to welcome over 50 rising sophomore, former foster youth into the career accelerator program.  Thank you to our supporters and attendees for ensuring the continued success of college-going foster youth.

Get Involved

Let’s keep this momentum going! Generous supporters of Ready to Succeed have pledged to match all donations made between now and May 31 up to $60,000. Your gift today can have twice the impact on the lives of grads and incoming Scholars.  Make a gift today.