College Bound is a St. Louis based non-profit with an inspiring mission: Empower promising students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve bachelor’s degrees and fulfilling careers. On June 9th, the organization celebrated those students — and received an outpouring of contributions — at its annual Cap & Gown Ball.
The event, which is supported by HBM and hundreds of local businesses, family members, community leaders and other contributors, raised over $1 million – more than what was raised in previous years. That money will be used to offer college readiness programs to students and their families so they can prepare for their educational journey. During the highlight of the evening, attendees heard the success stories of three college-bound students who shared how they overcame adversity to attend college.
College Bound was founded in 2006 by Lisa Orden Zarin, a woman who was raised by a single mother in the economically disadvantaged city of Newark, New Jersey. Lisa’s mother recognized the importance of education and steered her down the college path. That experience stuck with Lisa 20 years later, after she had moved to St. Louis and started a family of her own. As she helped her son navigate the complex waters of college applications, she thought about how challenging that process could be for children and parents in places similar to her hometown. And with that, a non-profit idea was born.
During the eight years since Lisa founded College Bound, it has helped students from the poorest sections of St. Louis achieve the same college acceptance rate as their peers from all income levels. The program now serves more than 1,700 students and their families through a variety of programs at four partner schools.
HBM has been a proud supporter of College Bound for the past three years. Amy Fields, HBM’s VP and Chief Human Resources Officer, serves on the College Bound board and is actively involved in helping students prepare themselves for college. “My experience from serving as a College Bound volunteer and board member is immeasurable,” commented Amy. “I have been inspired by the students’ dedication to securing their futures and also have loved seeing the staffs’ commitment to helping students achieve brighter futures. It has been a truly rewarding experience.”