Rising Above, Together

2021 Annual Report

A message from Sarah Iddrissu

CPE Alumna and Board Member

Letter from our CEO, Khari Brown

There is something to be said about the passion and commitment that resides within the CPE community. If I were to sum it up in one word, I’d say it’s extraordinary. Through the uncertainty of these times, we’ve seen firsthand the resilience that surfaces when we rise above, together. This year, we’ve reached new milestones, heard from new students about the impact our program is having on them, and we’ve had the opportunity to spearhead initiatives that spark change and growth.

So, where do we go from here?

There has never been a more important time for mentoring, particularly in light of difficult circumstances. It provides the stability and guidance for youth as they manage their adolescence and, now, the unparalleled challenges resulting from the coronavirus. Students need the social-emotional scaffolding that mentoring provides to support their journey to college and career success.

One thing we’re all learning from this pandemic is that it has been an accelerator for change – change in both education and in the workforce. As these sectors continue to evolve, our program must also adapt so that we can continue to support low-income DC students with their college and career goals.

In this report, you’ll read more about our new strategic plan that outlines a new programmatic element addressing the changes we’re seeing in higher education and workforce development, particularly when it comes to preparing young people for economic mobility. Our program offerings are changing to enable us to support students who want to explore alternate pathways to economic mobility.

You’ll hear from some of our students, mentors, and team members who, together, rose above unique challenges by rallying around the community that exists within CPE.

I’d like to thank our team for the incredible work they’ve done this year, as well as thank our students, mentors, community partners, and donors. My gratitude for your support is unwavering.


Our Mission

Capital Partners for Education is a one-to-one mentoring organization that connects low-income Washington, DC students with a mentor to support their college and career aspirations.

Jennifer Ventura

Our Approach

We believe that a community of support changes students’ outcomes, so we create an environment where students can engage with the community and learn the importance of building and maintaining relationships.

This skill alone helps them gain an understanding of networks as tools for success, and exposes them to new and exciting possibilities in their educational and professional lives.

We match rising high school juniors from one of our DC partner schools with a dedicated mentor. Each mentee and mentor pair is supported by a CPE team member who serves as a resource and support system to help ensure they are cultivating meaningful relationships and developing the skills they need to thrive in school or in their career.

Tim Molino, my mentor since 11th grade, has exhibited patience and love, something I rarely received throughout my life. During my high school years, I was a mediocre student who never believed that I had the potential to achieve greatness. Tim showed me that success is not about driving a Porsche or making six figures, instead being persistent with your passion in life. CPE’s purpose and my relationship with Tim have inspired me to inspire other individuals who also do not believe in themselves. I would like to be a mentor in the future so that my experiences will inspire others. To provide them with the tools and wisdom so that they can achieve things money cannot buy.”

Walter S. Fuentes, CPE College Student
Studying Cybersecurity

Setting Students Up for Success

1:1 Mentorship
Soft-skill Development
Academic and Financial Guidance
College and Career Exploration
Professional Skill Development
Direct Financial Support

Learning During a Pandemic

The effects of the pandemic led to massive learning loss and social disconnection — most acutely affecting our low-income students and those already furthest from opportunity. To prevent students from falling farther behind, we partnered with Princeton Review’s Tutor.com, a professional online tutoring company.

Since last Fall, the Princeton Review has provided 200+ one-on-one virtual tutoring sessions for our students. At the end of the 2020-2021 school year, our students reported this service as one of the most significant contributors to their success during COVID.

Additionally, mentoring provided the stability and guidance for our students throughout this challenging time. Many of our students shared their struggles with learning and staying on track with us, but our mentors and staff stepped in to support them during this journey to get them to and through college.

When the pandemic hit, things got really hard. Being paired with Bryanna showed me someone cared for me and wanted to see me succeed. She revised my essays, helped with school work, and supported me through a really tough time. CPE helps students through monthly check-ins; coaching; assistance with the college application process; and mentorship that provides a safe space to talk about things that I wouldn’t necessarily communicate with my parents. I was paired with Bryanna during a difficult time mentally, and she helped me make it to graduation to keep my dreams on track.”

Mikel, CPE College Student
Studying at Southern University and A&M College

Mentoring During a Pandemic

To ensure our mentors had all of the information needed to support their mentees, we developed a crisis-specific curriculum for them. Mentor check-in calls were updated to assess each mentor’s well-being as well as the health and safety of each student.

During virtual events and check-in calls, mentors shared how they’ve adjusted. Some mentors increased their calls and texts with their mentees, including using video chat options. Others ventured outside to finally see their mentees in-person, practicing social distancing and wearing masks. Our mentors continue to step up as families still have to reckon with the economic effects of COVID-19. It is important for our young people to know that they have adults they can rely on.

Christina Sessoms

With my mentee in her senior year occurring during COVID, I make a genuine effort to check in with her pretty regularly. We text about every week or so and schedule check-in calls around our schedules which can get difficult since we are both pretty busy. I found it to be really important during this pandemic to ask how I can best support her. I definitely know the financial struggles that come with being a college student, so I’ll surprise Cash App her a few dollars for lunch every now and again or send her a care package with masks and sanitizer with her favorite snacks. I think it’s the small things that show I am extending care.”

Christina Sessoms, CPE mentor since 2018

Working During a Pandemic

To support CPE team members with adjusting to working during the pandemic, the 40-hour work week was reduced to help with handling existing and newfound responsibilities they were faced with. Mental health days were also made available to the team and professional development funds were extended to include telework equipment necessary to make working from home as seamless as possible.


The flexibility has helped transition into my new normal. In a family of essential workers, I was the only one able to make grocery runs, finding the rare essentials, and maintain extra safety precautions for my immunocompromised father. Becoming the head of house and main caretaker on top of my work and volunteer responsibilities was tough for a while until CPE adjusted their work policies. Once that happened, I never felt like I had to choose between my responsibility to my family or CPE.”

Celia, CPE Team Member since 2019

Our Impact by the Numbers

88% of CPE’s high school class of 2020 enrolled in college within one year of graduating high school
85% of college students remained enrolled during the 2020-2021 school year
87% of CPE high school students earned GPAs above our established grade-specific targets at the end of School Year 20-21
80% of mentorships were maintained over the course of the pandemic
78% of students rated their mentoring relationship as meeting or exceeding their expectations
115 Recruited and enrolled 115 new students
$170K Distributed over $170,000 in Emergency Fund Requests to 147 students
138 volunteers applied to mentor with CPE this fiscal year; 75% were accepted into our mentor pool
$1M+ Value of time donated by CPE mentors last school year based on a report by Independent Sector
925 students, staff, and volunteers have enrolled on the new CPE portal
21 virtual events held
Daniel Nguyen

CPE has had a huge impact in my life and has helped shape the trajectory of my career. CPE not only introduced me to my amazing mentor, but they also instilled useful tools in me such as financial literacy, public speaking, and networking skills through their monthly workshops. I also have CPE to thank for having a major impact on my current career path. CPE’s commitment to education and mentorship has inspired me to work with marginalized communities especially when it pertains to educating the youth.”

Daniel Nguyen, CPE alumnus and college graduate


1. Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion

In March of 2021, CPE began its diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative to improve our internal and external commitment to racial equity, establish a workplace with an intentional culture in which norms align with organizational values, and refine our message to reflect our commitment to this work. We brought on a consultant and held internal workshops on each of these key areas to better educate ourselves and identify the areas we can improve upon within CPE.


We created space to discuss important topics such as mental health, race and colorism, religion, sexuality and family structure, gender, and socioeconomic status. One of the outcomes of these discussions led us to assess our hiring practices and revamp this process to be implemented through a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens. CPE’s leadership team is revising the paid time off structure to establish a healthy work/life blend. We are also evaluating ways to consider other religious dates and observances that are not typically recognized in the workplace.


Equity-related issues were explored inside CPE. We drilled down most deeply on questions of racial equity, gender equity, age equity, and the intersections of each. These discussions prompted the leadership team to look into investing more into the team as a whole. We are researching the following initiatives: additional professional development opportunities for women of color of the organization, coaching for team members, de-biasing training, and conducting a pay and promotion audit. A Director of Talent and Culture is being brought on staff to lead the vision, strategy, development, and implementation of talent development and to be a champion for CPE’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.


The workshops focused on exploring dominant societal norms that exist within organizations and how we can navigate and address them internally. We are working to develop a common vocabulary to discuss differences in ways that value every team member. We created an internal culture book, are encouraging the use of gender pronouns, and developed professionalism guidelines for the team.

2. DC Council Hearings

CPE participated in local DC council hearings over the spring by providing testimony to local councilmembers, advocating for support of low-income students in the academic middle. CPE’s CEO, students, and mentors participated in this effort. CPE high school student, Kerry, had this to say:


With my mentor’s support, he has positively influenced my life allowing me to grow in the mental aspect; causing me to mature faster than any average high school student. Without my mentor, I would have continued to struggle and would be so unsure about my aspirations and goals. As a CPE mentee, I would strongly recommend the DC Council to provide resources to expand mentoring for students; it provides the student a listening ear and someone willing to understand them. It opens such a deep side of a student and allows them to open up about themselves. CPE will help students prosper and be more open minded about their future. My mentoring relationship caused me to see a future me that was advanced and to take opportunities to make my life better. I really feel that students will feel the same way I feel about the program.”

Kerry, CPE High School Student

3. Talent for Tomorrow Alliance

Last year, we co-founded our most strategic and impactful partnership to date. Talent for Tomorrow Alliance is a network of peer organizations that provides a holistic support system for students at the center.

Alliance members include Capital Partners for Education, Genesys Works, New Futures, Per Scholas, and Year Up. Each nonprofit supports a student through a portion of their journey towards a meaningful career and/or higher education. By joining the Alliance, we all agreed to co-locate in a shared office with dedicated classroom and event space, share resources, and expand our joint programming. Through this partnership, we will increase our overall sustainability and create a stronger community of support for the students and families we serve. To provide additional workforce development training and alternative paths to career success for those students who do not or cannot complete a four-year degree, we are working with the Alliance and have started partnering on programming and fundraising efforts.


Looking Ahead

Plans for Growth

As our program continues to grow, so does our impact. More than 80% of our students are first-generation to college, 99% are students of color, and 100% are from low-income families. We believe a supportive community has the power to change the outcomes of our students’ lives and it is at the forefront of our plans for the future.

Through in-depth research, interviews, analysis of programmatic outcomes and impact, and analyzing the broader educational landscape, we concluded that the path to greatest impact in the next three years lies in diversifying the range of programming opportunities we offer while increasing our capacity to serve a larger amount of students than we ever have before.

For the next three years, our goal is to build a more robust program that enables CPE to reach more students and produces more varied outcomes relevant to students living in a post-pandemic reality. Our support of putting students on a path of attaining upward economic mobility will extend to those who wish to pursue alternate career paths. We will accomplish this, in part, through partnerships that will allow CPE to quickly adopt programming complementary to our curriculum and extend our programming to new cohorts of students served by our partners.

Rebranding Initiative

CPE will go through a rebranding process in early 2022 to strengthen the alignment between the work we do today, our vision, and our public presentation.

The outcome will be a new name for the organization, new messaging, and a new brand identity to reflect who we are today and what we aspire for the future. It is our goal that this rebranding initiative will strengthen our roots in the Washington, DC-area and create opportunities to reach more people in our community.

Finances – Fiscal Year 2021

Balance Sheet Highlights

Ways to support CPE’s success

We firmly believe our students have untapped potential, and with the right support, they can overcome racial, academic, and economic barriers and become self-actualized and resilient leaders. Your continued support can help CPE further its mission to give all our students the support they need. You can give a financial gift to CPE or apply to become a mentor. Learn more by visiting our website.

Gina Coburn

CPE students are impressive in their own right for the hard work they put in and the persistence they demonstrate, most often in the face of daunting personal challenges on top of the more universal realities of adolescence. What I hear most often from our students is their desire to do well, coupled with recognition and appreciation that the network of support from CPE mentors and programs gives them additional confidence to grow and create opportunities for their future. The strength of CPE's relationships with our students became not only more evident but more critical through the pandemic as immediate challenges and needs increased. I am proud of the team at CPE for its agility and dedication and of our community of donors who recommitted to supporting our mission. Because of this, CPE students persevered with their hard work of learning, growing, and exploring pathways forward.”

Gina Coburn, CPE Board Member

Board of Directors

Theodore A. Schwab
Co-Founder & Chairman Emeritus
Founding Partner & Managing Director, Steward Partners Global Advisory
The Honorable Mary K. Bush
Board Chair
President and Founder, Bush International, LLC
Carol Adelman, PH.D.
Director, The Hudson Institute Center for Global Prosperity
Johnson Bademosi
NFL athlete and CPE, Gonzaga, and Stanford alum
John A. Bates
Partner, Potomac Equity Partners
Cathy Bernasek
Independent Consultant in the Nonprofit Sector
Gina Coburn
Senior Advisor, Global Philanthropy Group
J. Warren Gorrell, Jr.
CEO Emeritus and Partner, Hogan Lovells
Dorothy Helfenstein
Independent Consultant/Senior Advisor in the Government Consulting Sector
Sarah Iddrissu
Executive Director, Educators for Excellence
Margot Machol Bisnow
Author, Raising an Entrepreneur
Caren Merrick
Entrepreneur, Co-founder, webMethods
James E. Nevels
Founder & Chairman, The Swarthmore Group
Charles Rossotti
Senior Advisor, The Carlyle Group
Macani Toungara
Africa Leaders Program Manager, Obama Foundation
Denis Via
Executive Vice President, Booz Allen Hamilton
Ambassador Michael M. Wood
Chairman, Redwood Investments, LLC

Partner Schools

Bard High School Early College DC
Benjamin Banneker Academic High School
Capital City Public Charter School
Cesar Chavez Parkside High School
Columbia Heights Education Campus
McKinley Technology High School
Phelps Architecture, Construction, and Engineering High School
Ron Brown College Preparatory High School
TransSTEM Academy
Washington Leadership Academy

Corporate Partners

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
Alaska Airlines
Booz Allen Hamilton
Clark Construction
Ernest Young
Fannie Mae
Hellbender Brewing Company
Hilton Hotels Corporation
Horizon Government Affairs
Macy’s, Inc.
March & McLennan Companies
McKinsey & Company
MicrosoftSack & Harris PC
The Lewin Group
Winston Partners

In-Kind Corporate Partners

Booz Allen Hamilton
Clark Construction



Anonymous Individual Donor 1
Charles and Barbara Rossotti
Phos Foundation

$100,000 - $249,999

Ceres Foundation
D.C. Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes
Sunrise Foundation

$50,000 - $99,999

Anonymous Individual Donor 2
Warren and Catherine Gorrell
Michael and Kathryn Hanley
The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation
The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation
Michael and Judith Wood

$10,000 - $49,999

Johnson Bademosi
John and Karen Bates
Marguerite Benson
Cathy and Brian Bernasek
Booz Allen Hamilton
The Honorable Mary K. Bush
Capital One
CityBridge Foundation
Clark-Winchcole Foundation
Gina and Brooke Coburn
Crowell & Moring Foundation
Bill Dodge
David and Elizabeth Ford
Harman Family Foundation
International Monetary Fund Civic Program
Margot Machol Bisnow and Mark Bisnow
Caren Merrick
National College Attainment Network
Share Fund
Brian and Stephanie Spector
Meredith and Martin Sumner
The George Preston Marshall Foundation
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation
General Dennis Via
Virginia Cretella Mars Foundation
Jennifer Wood and Mike Wood Jr.

$5,000 - $9,999

Dr. Carol and Ken Adelman
Dorothea and Charles Clark
Ernest Cordova and David Zyck
Philip Dolan
Cynthia A. and Leonard M. Glassman
Burks Lapham
David and Barbara Lipman
James and Tracy Millar
Donna Morea and Jeff Chandler
Scheidel Foundation
Paul and Chandler Tagliabue
Ann and James Zielinski

$1,000 - $4,999

Bill Alsup
Frank and Georgine Anton
Mia and Tim Bass
Amy and Warren Belasco
Bocock/Hitz Fund
Boeing Company
Marvin Bush and Margaret Conway Molster
Mary Ellen Callahan
David Dempsey
Thomas & Annette Dircks Family Foundation
District of Columbia Government
Prentiss and Gail Feagles
Elliott Ferguson and Telesa Via
Emily Field
Roosevelt Giles
Patrick and Sheila Gross
Kelly and Sean Hafner
Akin and Allison Harrison
Kim Hayman
Dorothy Helfenstein
Hellbender Brewing Company
Daniel Kaplan and Kay Richman
Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod Family Foundation
David and Susan Malcolm
Fred and Britlan Malek
Michael Matthews
Kristine and Steve McBrady
Janet and Gary McDavid
McKinsey & Company
Kimberly McMillan
Mary and Stuart Nash
Hertha Owen
Laurence Platt and Clare Herington
Darin Powers
Liz and Dave Roberts
Richard and Joanne Rome
Joyce Shields
Jill and Steven Hayes Smith
Charlie Thomas
Macani Toungara
W. Edward and Carole Walter
Bruce and Christine Wardinski
Roger and Diane Warin
Whitener Family Charitable Fund
Pamela Wiener
Brendan Williams-Kief

$500 - $999

Alaska Airlines
Taylor Bates
Robert and Nancy Bloch
Nina and Andrew Eisenberg
Heidi Ellenberger Jones
Olugbenga Erinle
Catherine Hren
Amie Hsia and Ben Harder
William Janes
Nicholas Karzon
Lee and Alec Koch
Harry Laird
Reginald Love
Ned and Betsy Mandel
Steven Museles
Oluwaremilekun Ojurongbe
Norman Ornstein
Jeremy Presser and Daniela Murch
Sack & Harris PC
Jonathan Scanlon
The Ruth H Kemp Memorial Foundation
Jacquelyn and Richard Trefry
Walmart Foundation
Winston Partners

$250 - $499

Fred Ansell
Matthew Bando
Greg Bertlesen
Khari Brown
Dorry and Julian Brown
James Edgerton
Elizabeth Ehinger
Anne Evans and Bill Wallace
Claire and Jake Farver
Peter and Ann Goldstone
Jonathan Grenier
David Heaton
Tonya Henry
Wanda Hill
Des Hogan and Mindy Holmes
Arthur Horne
Valarie Johnson
Curtis Kemp
Kent Killelea
Tanya La Force
Lauralyn and Peter Lee
Katie List
Christine Maguire
Kathleen and Kevin McMahon
Elizabeth Mellen
D.A. Miller
Dalton Patterson
Mary Beth Schultz
Theodore and Claire Schwab
Nancy Skallerup
Mark and Elizabeth Spoto
Daniel Stein
Eileen M Stewart
Emma Stewart
Kevin Woodson

Up to $249

Diana and Bonnie Acosta
Wahab Adegabi
Afua Adu-Wusu
Kwame Adu-Wusu
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
William Alexander
Rachel Allbritten
Christine Andrews
Emilio Arocho
Priscilla Ashe
Adelaide and John Barrett
Celia Barrientos
Julie Bates
Mary Kate Blaine
Janet Bond
Latoya Bovell
Emerson Bretous
Lydell Bridgeford
Melodie Brown Thomas
Erin Burgin
Susan and Taylor Burke
Garvey Burrows
Jenny Cano
Stefanie Carlisle
Vincent Caruso
Heather Caygle
Bui Y Chung
Steve Cohen
Gerrit Conover
Bonita Curry
Gregory Dendy
Nickia Dorrough
Alma Dorrough
Shirley Dozier
Karen Dresden
Renee Dupee
Nadine Duplessy Kearns and Curtis Kearns
Braeden Eastman
Robyn Ellis
Wanda English
Fleurette Etienne
Janis Evans
Leah Fantle
David Fendig
Luis Fernandez Intriago
Sarah Ferris
Theresa Ferris
Elizabeth Fogarty
Charles Fox
Tricia and Charlie Franck
Peter Freeman
Antoine and Carol Garibaldi
Ellen Gee
Brenda Gentles
Xavier Gentles
Laurie and Carl Gershman
Shruti Goel
Jack Gordon
Donte Grant
Kimberly Green
LeMoyne Habimana Griffin
Nancy and Joe Haney
Adam Harper
John Hauge
Stephanie Heinrich
Rhonda Henderson
Jose Hernandez
Sandra Herndon and Alexandra Woodruff
Professor John C. Hirsh
Nicole Howard
Kendall Hussey
Laila Ismail
Stacia Jackson
Danny Jacobs
Karlan Jankowski
Howard Johnson
Renee Johnson
Shawan Johnson
Amy Jones
Samantha Justice
Sudeep Kalkunte
Matt Kloss
Leah Kozicki
Darlene Lancaster
Alan Lau
Paige Lawal
Barbara Laws
Elizabeth and Jesse Levin
Brittney Lew
Austin Liu
Mike Luu
Macy's, Inc.
C. Monique Magwood
Jose Maheda
Marsh & McLennan Companies
Farnel Maxime
Peter and Celeste McCall
Michael McCarthy
Nekeshia McInnis
Ashley McMaster
Sharon Mcneill
Anthony Mcpherson
Luil Menberu and Africa Teffera
Sandy Meredith
Julie Meyer
Denesha Miller
Whitley Miller
Winsome Modamwen
Lauren Mooney
Malika Moore
Brian Naumick
Karla Palmer
Sharon Parker
Sarah Pattison
Jade Perdue
Tricia Petersen
Caroline Polhemus
Ricquita Pollard
Denise and Stuart Prince
Sharon Prince
Angiela Punzalan
Colleen Regan
Jerry Rehm
Arlene Reich
Paul Rubio
Juan Sanchez
Amaru Sanchez
David Schalk
Himali Shah
Rachel Sier
Mikko Simon
Patricia Simon
Deron Singh
Charlotte Snow
Seth Stern
Keisha Stewart
Michael Sullivan
Krista Sumongkol
Stephanie Swinehart
Chris Tate
Claudia Taubman
Janet Taylor
Tegna Foundation
The Lewin Group
Jennifer Thompson
Lani Tito
Isha Tohill
Allison Trim-James
Shanika Turner
Danielle Tyler
Robert Van der Waag
Harold Warren
Kendra Webster
Marty and Betsy West
Brandon White
Elizabeth Wilke
Robert Williams
Kristen Wilson
Candice Wright
Joshua Yundt
Charissa Zehr
Jeff Zielinski
Heide and David Zufall