Spark the Journey Awarded $2 Million Grant from Yield Giving

Spark’s request for $1 million was doubled when they received the highest peer review scores.

March 19, 2024

Spark the Journey today announced that it has received a $2 million dollar grant from Yield Giving, a fund led by philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. This unrestricted gift will help Spark further its mission of preparing more Black and Brown young adults from low-income communities in the Washington D.C. region for college and career success through mentoring.

“We are deeply honored that Yield Giving has awarded Spark the Journey these funds, which will enable us to expand our reach and serve even more young people on the path to economic mobility,” said Khari Brown, CEO and President of Spark the Journey. “For more than thirty years, Spark has successfully helped Black and Brown young adults overcome the academic and professional barriers that limit so many of their peers. This gift, the largest in our organization’s history, is a testament to the life-changing impact that mentorship and a community of support can provide. Thanks to MacKenzie Scott’s generosity, we are one step closer to a more equitable future for our young people.”

In March 2023, Yield Giving launched an Open Call for community-led, community-focused organizations whose explicit purpose is to enable individuals and families to achieve substantive improvement in their well-being through foundational resources. Spark was one of the 6,353 nonprofit organizations that applied. Yield Giving initially planned for 250 awards of $1 million each, but in light of the incredible work of these organizations, the donor team decided to expand the awardee pool and the award amount. Spark received a $2 million award because it was in the group of highest-scoring organizations.

In Washington DC, concentrated income inequality and poverty are barriers to education and employment for Black and Brown families. Approximately 90% of children living in poverty in the District are Black, and according to the DC Council Office of Racial Equity, Black residents are five times more likely to have incomes below the federal poverty level than white residents.

Despite these challenges, Spark helps its program participants persist and pursue their academic and career dreams so that they can attain economic mobility regardless of their zip code, educational background, or race. Studies show that targeted support and interventions are predictors of high school graduation, and young adults from low-income communities with a mentor are 55% more likely to enroll in college. Eighty percent of Spark’s high school class of 2022 persisted into their second year of college education, compared to 55% of all Black students and 63% of all Latino students nationwide.

Every young person deserves the opportunity to achieve their dreams. Spark is proud to provide mentorship, community, and support so that our program participants are empowered to fulfill their full potential.

About Spark the Journey: Spark the Journey is a non-profit organization that provides mentorship and a community of support for young adults to chart their own paths to achieving college and career success. We envision a future where every young person can attain economic mobility, regardless of education, background, or race. If you are interested in supporting our work, learn more here about becoming a mentor or making a gift.