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Breakthrough helps Central Texans earn a degree

Project overview

From middle school to college graduation, Breakthrough Central Texas supports first-generation students on the path to a degree. Launched in 2000 with 31 students, Breakthrough now serves 3,000 students from Austin, Del Valle, and Manor school districts. The foundation has supported Breakthrough as it expands case management services and launches a school-based model to reach more students from low-income backgrounds. Breakthrough Central Texas plans to double its impact by 2025.

Breakthrough has opened up a world of opportunity and shown me what is possible through mentorship from advisors, teachers, and older students who have paved the way.

Joe Anthony Cruz, Breakthrough partner alum

How it helps

Breakthrough provides students at partner schools with the experiences and support necessary to realize their dream of a college degree. The comprehensive, personalized approach includes summer programs, peer learning, tutoring, high school transition support, college guidance, and more. Because of these efforts, Breakthrough students are seven times more likely to earn a college degree compared to their peers.

Launching a school-based model builds on Breakthrough’s success and its goal to help every student at the school attend and graduate college. In addition to the Breakthrough program components above, students in the school-based model will benefit from direct advising, tailored services, and culture-building around college success.

Meet Joe Anthony Cruz

Native Austinite Joe Anthony Cruz recently reached a goal he set for himself early in life: earning a college degree. Joe acknowledges his family and the Breakthrough network as supporters of this accomplishment.

“Breakthrough has always been for me a community of supporters and mentors I could call upon. Without those trusting relationships, I would have fallen through the cracks,” he says.

With his degree in media management and data science from Ithaca College, Joe is dedicated to creating more equitable and sustainable communities. Read more on the Breakthrough blog.

Foundation Project Lead