2019 Award for Excellence in Educational Access

The National Partnership for Educational Access (NPEA) and Jack Kent Cooke Foundation are pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Award for Excellence in Educational Access. For the fourth year in a row, NPEA Member Jack Kent Cooke Foundation generously sponsored the Award for Excellence in Educational Access. The winner has made a notable difference in the lives of underserved students and has demonstrated:

  1. Effective practices in supporting underserved students with high-quality educational opportunities along the K-16 continuum;
  2. Commitment to using data to inform and improve programming as well as organizational/school practices more broadly;
  3. Support for students’ personal growth and success as critical thinkers, ethical leaders, and supportive community members;
  4. Commitment to sustainability, including evidence of systems that support long-term success and/or potential growth;
  5. Leadership in the community and commitment to the field of educational access; and
  6. Creative problem-solving, innovation, adaptability, and productive growth in meeting the needs of their constituents.

Congratulations to this year’s winner:

Jahnelle McMillan, Director of College Guidance, and Nada Abdelaziz, College Success Counselor, accepted the award on behalf of the organization at the 2019 NPEA Annual Conference in Chicago on April 4, 2019. View the formal press release for additional details.


About LEDA

LEDA was recognized with this award for its demonstrated strength across all of the Award criteria. LEDA’s mission is to empower a community of exceptional young leaders from under-resourced backgrounds by supporting their higher education and professional success in order to create a more inclusive and equitable country. They are distinguished in the college access space by employing a “high-touch” model, working specifically with high-achieving, low-income students, and offering a full continuum of services from recruitment through college graduation. With an approach rooted in research, external evaluation, and 15 years of institutional experience addressing the specific challenges that confront talented low-income students, more than 70% of last year’s cohort of LEDA scholars gained admission to an Ivy League School.


“LEDA is truly a leader in educational equity, and it should come as no surprise that its successful model prioritizes building a community of scholars,” stated Seppy Basili, Executive Director at the Cooke Foundation. “The Foundation has been fortunate enough to collaborate with LEDA many times over the years and, although not involved in the selection process, we are delighted to celebrate their achievements with fellow NPEA members.”


“LEDA is so honored to be the recipient of NPEA’s Award for Excellence. Being recognized among this network of exemplary organizations is a testimony to the tremendous accomplishments of our LEDA Scholars, and the vital importance of building an inclusive and equitable America where leadership reflects, celebrates, and supports diverse perspectives.” – Beth Breger, Executive Director, LEDA


2019 Award Nominees

  • A Better Chance
  • Aim High St. Louis
  • Association of C5 Youth Programs
  • College Bound Opportunities
  • College Possible Chicago
  • Daniel Murphy Scholarship Fund
  • Elon Academy
  • Evanston Scholars
  • High Jump
  • Independent School Alliance for Minority Affairs
  • Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA)
  • Middle Grades Partnership
  • Prep for Prep
  • Noble Network of Charter Schools’ Pritzker Access Scholarship
  • Rutgers Future Scholars Program
  • TeenSHARP
  • Waukegan to College


Previous Winners

To read about the winner of the 2018 Award for Excellence in Educational Access, Chicago Scholars, please click here.

To read about the winner of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Educational Access, “I Have a Dream” – Des Moines, please click here.

To read about the winner of the 2016 Award for Excellence in Educational Access, LINK Unlimited Scholars, please click here.

To read about the winner of the 2015 Award for Excellence in Collaboration, The Clarence T.C. Ching PUEO Program at Punahou School, please click here.

Past winners also include Buffalo Prep (2014), Aim High (2013), The Partners Program at The College Preparatory School (2012), and Middle Grades Partnership (2011).