Posse Foundation

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The Posse Foundation
Founded 1989
Founder Deborah Bial
Type Education
Focus Posse
  • 14 Wall St
    New York, NY 10005
Area served
Atlanta, Bay Area, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, Washington, D.C.
Method Identifies, recruits and trains student leaders to pursue their academics and to help promote cross-cultural communication on campus.
Key people
Jeffrey Ubben, Chairman
Deborah Bial, President & Founder
US $13.0 million (2006)
Endowment US $35.0 million (2006)
Website www.possefoundation.org
2015 Posse Foundation Annual Report

The Posse Foundation is an American nonprofit organization that identifies, recruits, and trains student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams called "Posses" of 10 to 12 Posse Scholars. These teams are then prepared, through an intensive eight-month Pre-Collegiate Training Program, for enrollment at top-tier universities nationwide to pursue their academics, help promote cross-cultural communication and become leaders on college campuses.

Goals of the Posse Foundation[edit]

Posse has three goals designed to address some critical issues of importance to institutions of higher education in the United States today:

  1. To expand the pool from which top colleges and universities can recruit outstanding young leaders from diverse backgrounds.
  2. To help these institutions build more interactive campus environments so that they can become more welcoming institutions for people from all backgrounds.
  3. To ensure that Posse Scholars persist in their academic studies and graduate so they can take on leadership positions in the workforce.

(From the Posse Foundation Web site.)

Goal 1[edit]

University admissions offices in the United States often search for ways to identify “non-traditional” candidates who might contribute greatly to and benefit greatly from their institutions. As a result of its belief that traditional measures sometimes miss capable students, Posse has developed an intensive alternative evaluation strategy called the Dynamic Assessment Process (DAP), hoping to identify youth leaders who can succeed despite varying scores on tests such as the SAT. The Posse Scholarship is neither a minority nor a need-based scholarship and is open to students of all backgrounds.

Goal 2[edit]

According to the Posse Foundation, many colleges and universities experience a climate where students from different backgrounds find little opportunity to interact. The Posse Foundation aims to train students to improve their leadership skills so that they can help colleges and universities address diversity issues on campus.

Goal 3[edit]

The Posse foundation hopes to improve college retention and completion rates for students of different backgrounds.

Posse Scholars Pre-Collegiate Training Program[edit]

For eight months before they begin their college career, Posse Scholars attend a weekly Pre-Collegiate Training Program. The goal of this training program is to prepare Posse Scholars for as many as possible of the academic, social, and personal challenges they may face in their college career.

PossePlus Retreat[edit]

The PossePlus Retreat is a collaborative, focused group discussion on a contemporary issue which Posse Scholars and invited college community members will conduct every year in a retreat setting.

Before 2008, Posse Scholars from individual colleges will select a particular discussion theme, facilitated by Posse trainers, for their college's PossePlus Retreat. Since 2008, Deborah Bial, the founder of Posse Foundation, introduced a new discussion theme selection process which all of the Posse PlusRetreats across the entire nation will have a unified, rather than individual, discussion theme. Similar to the previous selection process, Posse Scholars from individual colleges will first choose a discussion theme for their college. Then, the Posse staff will discuss, analyze and refine those themes that are collected from individual colleges. Finally, the Posse staff will deduce an articulated common theme for all of the PossePlus Retreats for that year.

In 2008, "Social Responsibility" was chosen as the first PossePlus Retreat theme. It is expected that by the end of the year, a booklet that will summarize all of the discussion made in that retreat will be published. This publication will be made available to the public as well as will be distributed the presidents of all universities and colleges across the United States, to raise their awareness of this particular theme and the discussions made by the Posse Scholars. In 2009, the POSSE Plus Retreat theme was "Education." 2010'a topic was "Do we still need to talk about race?" and it covered the idea of society being post-racial.

Posse Veterans Program[edit]

The Posse Foundation implemented a program with a new recruitment strategy to choose veterans who they feel have a potential for academic excellence at selective four-year institutions of higher education. By making a group of 10 "cohorts" per university, they prepare them for the college experience and support them through to graduation.

The Posse Veterans Program [1] began in partnership with Vassar College and now also counts Wesleyan University and Dartmouth College as partners. Vassar President Catharine Bond Hill writes in a recent editorial, “It’s time for colleges and universities to increase their commitment to veterans who want more education. Selective private colleges in particular must step up and do [their] part.” Vassar, Wesleyan and Dartmouth will supplement available GI Bill and Yellow Ribbon funding to guarantee full tuition for every veteran student selected.

The program is soon to expand to 12 other selective universities.

Success of program[edit]

The Posse Program has exhibited great success over the past 21 years placing 3,110 students into colleges and universities. These students have won over $329 million in scholarships from Posse partner universities and are persisting and graduating at 90 percent — a rate higher than the national averages at institutions of higher education. Forty-four colleges and universities, including, Union College, Denison University, Middlebury College, University of Pennsylvania, Bard College, Bucknell University, Boston University, Brandeis, Oberlin College & Conservatory, UC Berkeley, and UCLA are partnered with the program. Posse has sites in ten major cities across the United States: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco and Washington, D.C..

In 2007, it was among over 530 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.[2]

The Posse Foundation's founder, Deborah Bial, was recognized for her ground-breaking work by receiving the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship (nicknamed the "genius grant") in 2007.[3]

In March 2010 President Barack Obama donated a portion of his $1.4 million Nobel Peace Prize award money to The Posse Foundation. The Posse Foundation was one of ten organizations to receive this honor.[4]

Partner schools[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.possefoundation.org/veterans-posse-program
  2. ^ Roberts, Sam (July 6, 2005). "New York Times: City Groups Get Bloomberg Gift of $20 Million". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.  Retrieved on August 29, 2007
  3. ^ "MacArthur Fellows 2007: Deborah Bial Bio".  Retrieved on September 25, 2007
  4. ^ "Obama Donates Portion of Nobel Peace Prize Money to Posse".  Retrieved on March 12, 2010

External links[edit]