Chicago Non-Profit and the NBA Foundation Team Up to Coach Students Through College Admissions

Bottom Line announced it has received a major multi-year grant from the NBA Foundation to support its strategic investment in innovative organizational, programmatic and partnership enhancements to advance equity and economic inclusion for more first-generation students, including thousands of Black and African American-identifying young people.


Bottom Line partners first-generation, degree-aspiring students from low-income backgrounds with trained 1:1 Advisors to get into college, graduate, and go far in life through mobilizing careers. The organization’s evidence-based model has been delivered to more than 19,000 students across Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois with unprecedented success since 1997. Its 75% historic college graduation rate is double the national average and Bottom Line students make nearly double their family income on average in their first job.

While Bottom Line serves more than 7,000 high school and college students each year, only 30% of participants identify as young men of color (YMOC). To address this disparity, Bottom Line has identified improved recruitment of and services to male Black and brown students as one of its highest organizational priorities in the years to come.

“We are proud to partner with Bottom Line, which has consistently proven the impact of its program in addressing racial disparities in wealth, employment and education,” said NBA Foundation Executive Director Greg Taylor. “This grant furthers the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to driving economic advancement in the Black community and we are excited to see the growth of Bottom Line’s reach.”

According to data reported by the NBA Foundation, among high school graduates, only 50% of Black students went on to pursue post-secondary education compared to 67% of white students. Only 40% of Black students who enter four-year universities complete their degrees, compared to 64% of white students. In addition, the median white family holds more than ten times the wealth of the median Black family.

Bottom Line’s CEO Steve Colón commented, “It has been proven that degree-aspiring first-generation students from low-income families are much more likely to graduate college when they receive personalized guidance and mentoring. Yet despite the critical difference this support can make, young men of color can be less likely to receive it than their peers. This generous grant from the NBA Foundation will enable us to reduce this gap, leading to higher college graduation rates for YMOC and greater earning power throughout their careers.”

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