Building New Futures For College-Going Foster Youth and First-Generation Students
2022 Graduation Celebration featuring attending RTS graduates, Christina Pascucci (Event MC, Journalist/Reporter) and Jarl Mohn (President Emeritus and Chief Executive Officer at NPR, Distinguished Speaker).
ready to succeed

Because of you, 2022 was the most successful year yet for college-going foster youth and first-generation college students! With the addition of first-generation college students from the Kayne Scholars’ program we now serve over 190 youth across 35 campuses.

Our unique Ready to Succeed (RTS) program model has evolved to meet the ever changing needs of our Scholars in a world that presents many barriers to their academic and career success. 

Nationwide, these groups of under-resourced young people continue to fall behind their college going peers with only 11% of first-generation and only 4% of foster youth graduating and securing career track jobs by the age of 26.

With your support, RTS continues to change these statistics, and prepares these Scholars to excel, and, ultimately, enter and enrich the workforce.  You are helping young people achieve their dreams and build a better future.

2022 by the
Scholars enrolled (4x the 2021 enrollment)
students attending 35 campuses across California 
RTS Alumni
of Scholars graduated college
of qualified students were placed in paid internships
have secured strong entry-level jobs within six months of graduation
in direct aid to RTS Scholars
Students have access to a network of over 500 volunteer professionals
The Road

Ready To Succeed has solidified a holistic approach that is responsive, and anticipates obstacles that scholars may face during their academic career to keep them on track for success. The 5 Pillars of our programming help address scholar’s needs as a whole person, with the ultimate goal of successful graduation and employment within six months and the adoption of lifelong skills and community.

mental health &
In Your Corner:
Career Coaching
“RTS pushed me to dream bigger and look beyond the surface for jobs. I feel confident that I can make a full-time career happen for myself post graduation.”
Kim G., UCLA ‘24, Business and Economics Major

As a first-generation college student, born and raised in Los Angeles, Kim has helped with her family’s small business since she was a kid.

At UCLA she felt lost in the sea of students, and the University advisors, tasked with supporting thousands of others, weren't able to give her the time and attention she needed.

 At RTS, Kim  was able to hone in on career choices that would be right for her. “I felt lost on my own, but my RTS Career Advisor helped me build my resume from the ground up and she gave me feedback every step of the way.”

“RTS really differs from other resources that I've had…in that they really focus on the individual. You are not just a number, you are also a person, you have a personality, you have interests, you have dislikes. The coaches really try to get you to open up about that so they can land you a match with the exact company, employer or internship experience you want.”

As a result of Kim’s persistence, drive, and the confidence she gained from RTS coaching she served as a 2022 Service Fellow with Portal Schools, an emerging network of micro-schools where students simultaneously attain high school and college degrees. Kim helped build their student ambassador program, and managed their social media calendar to increase engagement. 

Kim’s experience at Portal Schools led her to an HR and Operations internship during the fall semester at Ready to Succeed. She is currently pursuing a career track in Marketing and Human Resources. 

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715.5 coaching hours completed in FY 2022

Studies have found that those who engage in career counseling typically have higher wages and employment rates than those who do not1

$49,320: Average salary for RTS graduates entering the workforce in 2022 (6 times that earned by most foster youth at age 21).

We all need someone in our corner.  Many of the youth served by RTS do not have someone they can consistently rely on to help provide them with career guidance and advice. RTS Career Advisors help Scholars from the ground up.

“The biggest fear that I had with engineering and the film industry was that I wouldn’t be able to get my foot in the door, because it is such a niche industry. RTS helped me prepare myself. Now, I’m able to talk with people who are in the film industry and meet with them.” 
CSULB ‘23, Engineering Major

From a young age, Alex dreamed of a career in the film industry, something more hands-on than a typical office job. But Alex felt like he would have to give up his dream in order to build a stable career in engineering. “When I first started college, I honestly did think about dropping out. I really didn’t see the point.”

Caught between what he saw as two separate paths, Alex reached out to his Career Advisor at RTS and was able to begin forming connections and building networks that would broaden his horizons. With his advisor’s help, Alex was able to connect with the head of a large studio, who put him in contact with a stunt coordinator. Finally, he began to see that his background in mechanical engineering was a crucial requirement for a special effects specialist.

Caption: Alex M. with his little brother
As a first-generation college student and the son of immigrants, Alex wants to set a good example for his younger siblings by finishing college.

“The biggest fear that I had with engineering and the film industry was that I wouldn’t be able to get my foot in the door, because it is such a niche industry. RTS helped me prepare myself. Now, I’m able to talk with people who are in the film industry and meet with them.”  

Thanks to Alex’s commitment to his dream, the network building capacity of RTS, and your support of this vital programming, Alex is currently in talks with a professional stunt coordinator about a future apprenticeship.

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Relationships are everything. Many foster youth and first-generation college students lack the social capital to build professional networks on their own. That’s why we help Scholars build life-long connections with professionals who can open doors to internships, jobs and people and help them build their own robust professional networks, increase self-worth, and open new career pathways.

This year our network of Volunteer Professionals expanded to over 500, with fields ranging from entertainment, business, healthcare, finance and tech to communications, psychology and sociology.


A recent study found that increased instances of people from lower and higher socioeconomic backgrounds forming relationships had a positive effect on upward income mobility2

It is estimated that over 70% of jobs are not published, but rather filled through networking3

“If you’re trying to marshal resources to go after an opportunity, you’re really trying to enlist the support and involvement of other people."- Reid Hoffman, Entrepreneur, Investor, Strategist

“Getting to work in a career I’d actually enjoy is not something I ever thought would be attainable. RTS has provided me with so many opportunities to network with people in the film industry. I don’t think I’d ever come close to reaching my stunt engineering goal without RTS.” -Alex
Mental health,
wellness and community
“The opportunity to be able to be a role model for former foster youth is amazing and it means everything to me.”
Jayshanai W, Cal State San Bernardino ‘22, RTS Alum, Peer and Family Assistant

Jayshanai W., or Jae, was involved in the foster care system, and had an unstable family structure. Her grandparents had only a seventh grade education, and her parents only made it through the ninth grade. Jae knew that she wanted to accomplish more, and placed a high priority on her education. 

Without a solid support system, the pressure to do well in school became too much for Jae. She was formerly on the Dean’s List but says, “during my last semester, I got in trouble academically.  I had a lot of anxiety, and I was scared of getting kicked out of school.”

Jae asked RTS Wellness Coach, Sarah, “Can you help me? I have no idea what I’m doing and I don’t want to just give up.” Sarah was able to get Jae the mental health support she needed to stay on track to graduation.

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College can be a stressful time for any young person but Scholars impacted by foster care and first-generation college students often face unique stressors.

The combination of lack of academic preparation, absence of family support, history or trauma, and difficulty with a cultural transition can put them at higher risk for mental health issues, lower retention rates and lower graduation rates.4

Because of your contributions, RTS has formed a partnership with Counseling West and Brenda McDonald RN, MFT to provide Scholars with no cost therapy sessions from a network of informed and experienced providers.

“A lot of the scholars that I work with have suffered quite severe degrees of what we call the trifecta: trauma, abuse, neglect. These are often things that never make the ‘statistics.’ My job is discovering this and helping them to view it from a place of compassion. Real change occurs when we understand where it all began,”
- Brenda McDonald RN, MFT

“The mental health and wellness support empowered me to graduate and start really taking my career seriously. The RTS staff and the wellness coach take mental health seriously, especially when dealing with the foster youth community.” -Jae W.


Because many of the youth engaged with RTS programming have disrupted or fractured family and social systems, providing them with the ability to make friends, meet peers, and feel a part of something is an important part of setting them up for success5.

Friendsgiving Brunch
Dodgers Game Day- Mental Health Awareness Night
Holiday Gingerbread House Decorating
Zoom Destress Meditation Sessions

real world experience
“My internship experiences have been really eye opening. It has changed the trajectory of what I want to do with my career, and I decided that I do want to go into the environmental field.”
Nohemi T., UCLA ‘24, Biology Major

Many foster youth and first-generation college students don’t have consistent exposure to adults working in career track jobs, and often not the jobs or careers they are interested in exploring. 

Nohemi didn’t know what professional field she would be most suited for and felt unable to decide between medicine or environmental science. The uncertainty of post-college life with little or no safety net is daunting. “I was really confused and felt worried about what I was going to do after college,” she says.

Nohemi connected to the Career Advisors at RTS who helped her focus her passions and align her with an internship. She became a Summer 2022 Service Fellow, and served as a Research Intern at 7th Generation Advisors, a non-profit organization with the mission to work toward a more sustainable world. “My internship experiences have been really eye opening. It has changed the trajectory of what I want to do with my career, and I decided that I do want to go into the environmental field.” 

Nohemi feels much more prepared and confident in her future, and has a paid internship this fall with Starcrest Consulting Group, a small firm focusing on air quality, climate change and sustainability.

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Internships introduce Scholars to relevant fields, help them build professional connections, and give them the technical and soft skills they need to be career ready. RTS connects Scholars with internships tailored to their specific strengths and interests, provides application revisions and interview coaching, and provides direct financial support so that low-income scholars can have access to financial stability while participating in low and unpaid internships.

“I was thrilled to see a person as young as Kyle take genuine interest in public service and I am hopeful this experience has better prepared him for future endeavors.” - Marina Escobedo, Human Services and Child Welfare Deputy, LA County Supervisor Holly J. Mithcell’s office

Kyle J., second from left and Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, center
financial support
“The funding that was available to us each semester was the best thing that I could have had in my collegiate career. It was available to me if I needed groceries or had an emergency.  I could focus on my classes knowing that I was going to do well because I was supported.”
Melissa E., UC Berkeley ‘22, Political Science/Ethnic Studies, Staff Assistant

While UC Berkeley is a dream school for many, about 10% of the student population is without stable housing and many more go hungry. Melissa was very active on campus, but she didn’t always know how she would be able to afford her next trip to the grocery store. Through RTS, Melissa was able to access direct financial assistance to cover essential needs.

“The funding that was available to us each semester was the best thing that I could have had in my collegiate career. It was available to me if I needed groceries or had an emergency.  I could focus on my classes knowing that I was going to do well because I was supported.” 

During her last semester of school, Melissa had the amazing opportunity to intern at the office of U.S. Congressman Tony Cárdenas in Washington DC. She was able to use direct aid funds from RTS to purchase professional clothing suitable for her new position. “I had an internship in a congressional office on Capitol Hill and I don’t think I would have been able to do it without the support of RTS,” she says. 

Despite facing food insecurity and financial instability in college, Melissa was able to make her dream of working in politics a reality. She graduated from UC Berkeley in Spring of 2022 with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and is working as a Staff Assistant in Rep. Cárdenas’ local office in Arleta, California.

Read More

For Scholars without substantial financial resources one unexpected expense can derail the best laid plans. Providing Scholars with what they need, when they need it and before something becomes a crisis, allows them to stay on track to graduation and beyond.

Ready to Succeed has formed a partnership with Change Reaction, the largest direct giving platform in Los Angeles to be able to rapidly dispense funds when emergencies arise.

Funding from the Kayne foundation provides for an annual scholarship for our first-generation college students. We’ve now committed to also providing our foster students with a similar $1,000 annual scholarship.

“I grew up in a home where it felt hard to feel secure, but thanks to RTS I have the opportunity to now be fully employed as a federal employee.” -Melissa E.


In fiscal year 2022, RTS’s revenue has doubled from the previous year! Total revenue was $2,286,099 and our total expenses were $1,871,665.

Foundation Grants
Individual Contributions
Corporate Contributions

*Please note, values are from unaudited financial statements. Audited statements will be posted once the annual audit is complete.

ready to succeed
Mission, Board and

RTS empowers foster and first-generation college students to graduate college, launch successful careers, and reach their full potential.

Elizabeth Friedman
Chair; Collins & Katz Family YMCA
Todd Kessler Vice-Chair; Dancing Dog Productions, President Audible, Executive Producer
Karen Kehela Sherwood Secretary; Disney, Film Producer 
Tania Suster Treasurer; Consultant 
Thomas Lee First Place for Youth, CEO 
Emmanual Benton Verizon, Sr. Manager of Business Intelligence 
Jon Gimbel Gallant Capital, Partner 
Natalie Catalan Canyon Partners, Vice President
Eddie Valcin TikTok, Partner Manager, Sports Creators and Athletes

Outgoing board
Fred Bennett Quinn Emanuel, Senior Partner
Alyssa Lanz United Talent Agency, Literary and TV Agent
Robbin Steif Sherlock Investments, President

Romi Lassally Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director 
Patrick McCabe Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director 
Christian Baer Development Manager* 
Madison Braybrooke Program Coordinator 
Lucy Cherkasets Head, Opportunities & Volunteers
Zoe Fried CareerAdvisor
Taos Glickman Director of Data Analytics & Wellness* 
Adri Gonzalez Career Advisor
Frances Hardy Director of Development & Partnerships
Gina Ibrahim Program Director
Kaleema Ishmel Operations Associate 
Briana Lopez Volunteers Advisor
Sarah Morse Career Success Coordinator
Jazmin Navato Opportunities Advisor
Alexis Obinna Community Activator
Mayra Portillo Head of Community & Culture 
Markie Price Development & Communications Associate

*Joined Oct. 2022

We at RTS are forever enriched having worked closely with Fred Bennett. We offer our sincere condolences to his family.

Thank you for your continued support!
Gifts received July 1, 2021- June 30, 2022

Major Donors

Rand April
Jeff Atwood
Howard Ballon
Steve Barnett
Ellen Bauer
Fred Bennett
Kimberly Bernstein
Jackie Beyer McCabe
Dena Bloom
Kate Bond
Diana Braun
Jacqueline Brooks
Corie Brown
David Bryan
Jane Buckingham
Jessica Bylo Chacon
Valerie Cabrera and Rich Goldberg
Jeff Campbell
Dan Coash
Lise Davis
Mary Dekernion
Chris Fager
Mindy Freedman
Suzanne Gehl
Elizabeth and Glen Friedman
Alison Gardner
Jon and Elana Gimbel
Christy Glass Lowe
Bruce Gram
Todd and Sharon Hall Kessler
Laurie Harbert
Sarah Harden
Elizabeth Harvit
Karen Heilman and Cary Thompson
Ken and Teri Hertz
Jodi Wilensky Hill
Jeffrey and Sandy Hudson
Stanley Iezman
Anna Ivey
Lance and Moira James
Michael Kane
Neil and Laura Kapp
Cece Karz
Eleanor Keare
Karen Kehela Sherwood
Kathy and Steve Kloves
Blair Kohan
Susan Kohl
Faycel Kouteib
Jennifer and Chris Lewis
Diane Liebenson
Crystal Lourd
Ellen Mainthow
John Manulis
John Mapes
Katherine McCabe
Will McCabe
Patrick McCabe
Colleen McKiernan
Nancy Meidel
Elizabeth Michelson
David and Jen Miner
Jarl Mohn
Bob Monsour
Nicole Mutchnik

Zachary Neeley
Elizabeth Padden
Lauren and Simon Park
Sheyla Peterson
Heather Podesta
Melissa Polson
Anthony Rajasingham
Karen Regnell
Suze and Marc Schwartz
Tim Snelling
BarbaraSt Thomas
Justine Stamen Arrillaga
Nancy Stark
Patrick and Deborah Stern
Danielle Stokdyk
Tania and Marc Suster
Natalie Taylor
Vince Thompson
Jennifer and Lawrence Trilling
Wendi and Steve Trilling
Robert and Dorothy Tufo
Rachel and Paul Vogel
George Wade
Tamara Walker
Landy Wang
Hal and Allison Washburn
Leslie Weisberg
Tom Werner
Anne Williams
Paul  Workman
Deanne Yamamoto
Harriett Zaretsky
Jeremy and Marisa Zimmert

Foundation Partners

Ric and Suzanne Kayne Foundation
Snap Foundation
ECMC Foundation
Angell Foundation
Aramont Charitable Foundation
Chuck Lorre Foundation
Herbert R. and Jeanne C. Mayer Foundation
Sam Simon Charitable Foundation
Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
Anthony and Jean Pritzker Family Foundation
Johnny Carson Foundation
James Collins Foundation
Herbert and Elaine Kendall Charitable Foundation
Perlman Family Foundation
Segal Family-United World Foundation
Adobe Foundation
Lehman Hirsch Foundation

Corporate Sponsors

3 Arts Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Gallant Capital
Quinn Emanuel
Walton Isaacson
United Talent Agency
Anne Sisteron Fine Jewelry 


Every effort has been made to include accurate and complete information. If you notice an omission or error, we’d love to hear from you. 

Have any feedback regarding this report? Email christian@readytosucceedla.org

Are you ready to make a difference?
Learn more about our amazing scholars and upcoming programming, visit www.readytosucceedla.org 

If you know a Scholar who would benefit from our programming please contact adri@readytosucceedla.org