|Since the founding of A Better Chance in 1963, our mission has rested on a single goal: to substantially increase the number of well-educated minority youth capable of assuming positions of responsibility and leadership in American society. A Better Chance works with students of color in sixth grade through college to help them gain access to broader educational and career opportunities.
A Better Chance began in the 1960s as an innovative experiment in educational opportunity. At a time of political unrest, social idealism, and the struggle for civil rights, the Charles E. Merrill Foundation gave a grant that allowed twenty-three independent schools to respond to President John F. Kennedy's call for equal access to the nation's top schools for minority students. The schools response: the Independent School Talent Search Program (ISTSP).
ISTSP held its first session for academically talented youngsters the summer of 1964 at Dartmouth College. Fifty young men had been accepted by college preparatory schools so long as they completed the summer program. That summer, the name of the program changed to Project ABC: A Better Chance.
We continue to honor the original promise to offer deserving students of color access to a quality education even as our membership has grown. Over 11,000 A Better Chance Scholars have graduated from Member Schools, which now extend across the country through 27 states. An overwhelming majority of alumni have gone on to graduate from competitive colleges, graduate programs, or professional schools. Our distinguished pool of A Better Chance alumni includes leaders in business, law, medicine, government, education, and the arts. We boast no less of the number of alumni who are leaders in their communities as well.