Non-profit

College Track

Website:

collegetrack.org

Location:

Oakland, CA

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

President:

Elissa Salas

Financials (2018):

Revenue: $26,547,325

Expenses: $25,102,894

Assets: $54,346,343

College Track is a nonprofit organization that provides scholarships, financial assistance, tutoring, and career development to low-income students and undocumented immigrant students in the United States under provisions of the DREAM Act. The organization is among the largest of its kind with over $50 million in assets and has over 50 employees on its staff. The organization has a distinct left-leaning political background and promotes many left-leaning policies on immigration, race, and gender. 1

The organization was founded by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Laurene Powell Jobs currently chairs the organization’s board. In 2020, the organization was listed among the 116 organizations that Mackenzie Scott, the richest woman in the world and ex-wife of Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos, funded with a total of $1.7 billion in gifts. 2

Background

College Track was founded by Laurene Powell Jobs in 1997 as an after-school program at a high school in the San Francisco Bay area. The organization has since expanded to national reach with staff in various regions establishing programs at various high schools in low-income urban areas. College Track claims that participants in their programs have attended college 90% of the time and that the college graduation rate is more than double that of low-income peers of participants. 3

College Track is headed by Elissa Salas, its chief executive officer. Salas joined the organization in 2011 as a site director in Aurora, Colorado, before joining the national office in California and became CEO in 2014. She previously worked for public school systems in Denver and the District of Columbia as well as for the nonprofit Teach for America. 4 Salas was paid over $250,000 in salary by College Track in 2018. 5

Funding

Since its founding in 1997, College Track has expanded to establish programs across the nation, while still maintaining a large presence in California, expanding to Jordan High School and Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles in 2015. The organization is managed and heavily funded by the Emerson Collective, another group in the San Francisco Bay area that is led by Laurene Powell Jobs. Emerson frequently engages on education issues and contributed $200,000 to Los Angeles County School Board candidates backed by then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) and has been praised along with College Track by current Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (D). 6

The Los Angeles regional programming of College Track has been funded by many left-leaning grantmaking organizations including the i.am.angel Foundation, The California Endowment, and the Wasserman Foundation, which each pledged $1 million to Los Angeles College Track Programs. 7

In 2020, the organization made news by being among the 116 left-progressive “social justice” organizations to which Mackenzie Scott, the richest woman in the world and ex-wife of Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos, contributed a total of $1.7 billion. Elissa Salas, the CEO of College Track praised Scott’s philanthropy to the many left-leaning organizations, noting that many were led by people of color and LGBT individuals, noting that many such organizations aren’t as frequently supported by mainstream billionaire philanthropists. Scott’s gift was said to be among the largest in the organization’s history, but the amount was not disclosed. 8

References

  1. “Press Releases.” College Track. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://collegetrack.org/press/
  2. Scott, MacKenzie. “116 Organizations Driving Change.” Medium. July 28, 2020. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://medium.com/@mackenzie_scott/116-organizations-driving-change-67354c6d733d
  3. “Laurene Powell Jobs.” Teach for All. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://teachforall.org/laurene-powell-jobs#:~:text=Ms.%20Powell%20Jobs%20serves%20as,to%20and%20graduation%20from%20college.
  4. “Elissa Salas.” College Track. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://collegetrack.org/team/#team-Elissa_Salas
  5. “IRS Form 990.” College Track. 2018. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/943279613/09_2020_prefixes_94-99%2F943279613_201906_990_2020092917335918
  6. Blume, Howard. “Laurene Powell Jobs launches college-support program in Watts.” Los Angeles Times. November 15, 2015. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-laurene-powell-jobs-program-in-watts-20151115-story.html
  7. Blume, Howard. “Laurene Powell Jobs launches college-support program in Watts.” Los Angeles Times. November 15, 2015. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-laurene-powell-jobs-program-in-watts-20151115-story.html
  8. Wallace, Nicole. “MacKenzie Scott Supports College Success Program.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy. August 25, 2020. Accessed December 3, 2020. https://www.philanthropy.com/article/mackenzie-scott-supports-college-success-program?cid=gen_sign_in
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College Track


Oakland, CA