Citi Foundation Awards MLT with $1.1M Grant for College-Focused Mentor Program

MLT Ascend: Helps Minority First Generation College Students Graduate

May 30, 2014, 09:00 ET from MLT

NEW YORK, May 30, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- MLT today announced it has received a $1.1M grant from the Citi Foundation to launch MLT Ascend. The new initiative will leverage the collective power of MLT alums to help minority first generation college students graduate and maximize their college experience so that they are prepared to pursue the career of their dreams.

Nationwide there is a focus on K-12 education, which has resulted in many more students graduating high school and continuing onto college. However, not nearly as much progress has been made to ensure these students move on to professional careers. In addition, while the national high school graduation rate is approaching 75%, over 40% of students who move on to college still fail to graduate within 6 years.

This higher education gap only gets wider for first generation college students, minorities, and those from low income communities. Due to the work of many non-profit organizations and charter schools, many of these students are arriving at college academically prepared, but too often dropping out due to the lack of a support system and social structure to help them navigate the college experience.

Through MLT Ascend, MLT alums will be paired with first generation college freshman to serve as a resource while attending college. This program will be guided by a newly launched curriculum based on the proven-success of existing MLT programs. Starting this summer MLT Ascend will launch three pilot programs, partnering with regional K-12 organizations. These regional organizations will help identify minority first generation college students that could benefit from MLT Ascend.

MLT Ascend complements and reinforces the objectives of Pathways to Progress, a recently launched three-year initiative by the Citi Foundation to connect 100,000 youth to economic opportunity through mentoring, civic engagement, summer employment and entrepreneurship training.

"Many successful leaders can point to at least one person who helped them navigate career opportunities and choices," said Ed Skyler, Citi's Head of Public Affairs and Chairman of the Citi Foundation.  "In a competitive environment, mentors are essential in helping students succeed academically and distinguish themselves by supplementing their education with seasoned advice. With this support, the Citi Foundation aims to improve the career readiness of these students by connecting them with committed mentors."

MLT has a committed partnership base that includes leading corporations, non-profits, foundations, and top business schools. MLT partners with more than 50 leading corporations and foundation, including Citi. These corporations directly inform how MLT develops talent for their sectors, and in many cases, help to deliver MLT's curriculum. "In the past 10 years, MLT has successfully prepared over 4,000 African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans for success at the undergraduate, MBA and mid-career levels," explains MLT Founder and CEO John Rice. "Through its dedication to the career success and professional development of minority students, MLT has quickly become one of the nation's leaders in developing minority talent. With the support of the Citi Foundation, we look forward to launching MLT Ascend and improving college completion rates and career readiness of low/moderate income and first generation minority students."

About The Citi Foundation:

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress in communities around the world and focuses on initiatives that expand financial inclusion. We collaborate with best-in-class partners to create measurable economic improvements that strengthen low-income families and communities. Through a "More than Philanthropy" approach, Citi's business resources and human capital enhance our philanthropic investments and impact. For more information, visit

About MLT:

Over 30% of the US population is minority, but only 3% of our senior leaders are diverse. While broad investments at the K-12 level have expanded college access, MLT ( provides the coaching, hard & soft skills, and door-opening relationships that transform young professionals into high-impact future leaders. These ingredients are critical to realizing one's potential but historically have been delivered through informal channels to which minorities have limited access. MLT has delivered breakthrough results for its 4000 fellows (50% of whom are women) and has demonstrated it can fundamentally transform America's minority talent pipeline for the private and social sectors and develop 1000 leaders who catalyze change in our most vulnerable communities:  

  • 95% of MLT undergraduates obtain fast-track jobs upon graduation (vs. 19% of all college graduates)
  • 40% of the minority MBAs at Harvard, Wharton, Kellogg, Columbia, and Chicago are MLT Fellows
  • MLT is #1 source of minority talent for many top firms including PepsiCo, Target, Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, and Teach for America

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