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Introduction

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Introduction

WE'RE PROVING WHAT'S POSSIBLE
WHEN YOU EMPOWER
the
next generation
of leaders
WITH THE SKILLS, NETWORKS, EXPERIENCES AND
CONFIDENCE NECESSARY TO LAUNCH A STRONG CAREER
Annual Impact Report
2020-2021 School Year
spring 2018 Fellow NLU
Laura Ramirez  Diverse Learner Teacher, Little Village Academy
spring 2018 Fellow NLU
Nya Stroud  MSW Candidate, DePaul University
a letter from our founder & CEO

Dear Braven Supporters,

Across our nation, there are so many talented young people with endless potential. As individuals who came from humble beginnings and later experienced economic mobility first-hand, we know this group of students can excel if given the same support and opportunities as their peers from more affluent starting points. It’s why we built Braven.

It’s been an absolute honor to watch our initial class of 47 students at National Louis University grow to a community of 526 Fellows through our university partnership and BravenX. One of the greatest privileges has been working in deep partnership with our incredible university, nonprofit, employer, and donor partners. And, we’re thrilled to continue to expand our community and impact.

As our country moves into a hopeful recovery, my colleagues and I will focus on helping more talented young people get on the path to achieve economic mobility and the freedoms it brings. We know that the recovery will not play out equitably without tremendous intentionality. We must maximize the talents of these students to improve the economic opportunities for our Fellows and their communities, to uphold the power and promise of our higher education systems, to strengthen the long term moral and economic health of our business communities and our nation as a whole.

Over the years, we’ve gotten to know many Fellows, some of whom are included in this report, and are always incredibly inspired by their talent and dedication. They prove what’s possible! We invite you to take a look through this report, which answers five questions that assess our impact in terms of Fellow outcomes, scale and program quality, skills and networks, and shared-value partnerships.

Together, because of your championship, we’re working towards a Braven future where our next generation of leaders are maximizing their full potential and living out their dreams.

Warmly,

Aimée Eubanks Davis
Founder & CEO, Braven

Jonathan Chaparro
Executive Director, Innovation Implementation & Head of Chicago

Why our
work matters

Only 30% of about 1.3 million low-income or first-generation college students who enroll each year are destined to graduate and secure a strong first job or enter graduate school.1 That’s more than 900,000 students every single year who aren't on the path to the American Dream.

1 Composite statistics based on national sources, including NCES, NACE, The Federal Reserve Bank of New York, among others

spring 2018 Fellow NLU
Juana Guevara  Parent Educator, Northwestern Settlement

Mission

Braven empowers promising college students with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong economic opportunities, which lead to meaningful careers and lives of impact.

Vision

The next generation of leaders will emerge from everywhere.

Fall 2019 Fellow BRAVENX
Cesar Medrano  Fellow, Relativity

The Braven Model

Braven empowers promising underrepresented young people on their paths to quality economic opportunities through three offerings: our university model, BravenX, and Braven Online.

Students learn through a semester-long cohort-based course and then have access to a lighter-touch post-course experience that lasts through college graduation. In our core higher education model, students take the course for credit. In BravenX and Braven Online, students come through college success organizations and receive a financial stipend.

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Are Braven Fellows getting quality economic opportunities that put them on the path to the American Dream?

Systemic inequities in national job outcomes and economic mobility

Nationally, major inequities play out across lines of gender and race when it comes to economic mobility after college.

The gender wealth gap

The gender pay gap is actually bigger among workers with a college degree than among those without. Among workers with a bachelor’s degree, women earn 74 cents for every dollar men make, which is less than the 78 cents earned by all workers without a college degree.1

1 Cheeseman Day, J. (2019). “College Degree Widens Gender Earnings Gap.” The United States Census Bureau.

Racial & ethnic wealth gaps

Among workers with a college degree, Black Americans make 78 cents and Latinx Americans make 85 cents for every dollar their white peers make.2

While Asian Americans are less likely than Americans overall to live in poverty (10% vs. 13% as of 2019), there are large differences in poverty rates among Asian American subgroups. The Pew Research Center found that 12 of 19 Asian origin groups had poverty rates that were as high as or higher than the U.S. average.3

2 Gould, E. (2017). “The State of American Wages 2019: A story of slow, uneven, and unequal wage growth over the last 40 years.” Economic Policy Institute
3 Budiman, A. and Ruiz, N. (2021). “Key facts about Asian Americans, a diverse and growing population.” Pew Research Center.

How Braven defines a quality first economic opportunity

A quality first opportunity, whether a strong job or enrollment in a graduate degree program, helps individuals build long-term wealth and health. In Braven’s book, a strong first job requires a bachelor’s degree and is full-time, as well as includes some combination of promotion pathways, employee benefits, and a market-competitive starting salary.

fall 2019 Fellow NLU
Cecilia Zacarias  Technology Development Program, Accenture

Strong  job attainment

National Louis University’s first graduating class of Braven Fellows are from the Class of 2019 with 4 graduates. Our 2020 class grew to 20 graduates. Many of these recent graduates secured quality opportunities in industries as varied as data science, education, and logistics. Many also landed in promising first jobs that do not quite meet our definition of a strong first job but are stepping stones to strong careers. Examples include Chicago Police Department cadet and administrative assistant.

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graduates for the class of 2020

Though our pilot programs of BravenX and Braven Online are several years from their first graduating classes, we see promising signs of these Fellows’ post-college prospects.

50%

BravenX and Braven Online Fellows in spring 2021 secured a career-accelerating opportunity for summer 2021

Looking back to look ahead:
Across lines of gender identity, Braven Fellows outpace male peers nationally in quality economic outcomes

Before the pandemic, Fellows who identified as female outpaced Fellows who identified as male in terms of quality economic opportunity attainment.1 What’s more, female Fellows outpaced their male peers at public universities and all men nationally.2

1 Post-graduation employment data of Braven Fellows over 2016-2019
2 Sample sizes for Fellows who identify as female versus male (female n=300, male n=185)
3 National comparison figures are composite statistics calculated with figures from the NACE First-Destination Survey, Economic Policy Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Strada and Burning Glass Technologies’ 2018 report The Permanent Detour, and Urban Institute.

spring 2018 Fellow NLU
Sierra Walker  Review Solutions Associate, Lighthouse

Looking back to look ahead:
Across lines of race, Braven Fellows outpace peers nationally in quality economic outcomes

Across all races, Braven Fellows outpaced their peers nationally in terms of strong economic opportunities. Additionally, all Braven Fellows outpaced white grads at public four-year universities.1

1 Post-graduation employment data of Braven Fellows over 2016-2019.
2 National comparison figures are composite statistics calculated with figures from the NACE First-Destination Survey, Economic Policy Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Strada and Burning Glass Technologies’ 2018 report The Permanent Detour, and Urban Institute.

At Braven, we strive for a future where all Fellows reach their full potential in career and life. While we are proud of these outcomes, we recognize there is more work to be done, as there are still disparities across racial groups. Looking ahead, we plan to gather data that will allow us to do deeper analysis in two areas:

Collect further disaggregated data by subgroup as the number of Braven Fellows continues to grow. Within all of our subgroups, whether it be African American/Black, Asian, Hispanic / Latinx / Spanish, or white, there is tremendous diversity in terms of income level, ethnic background, etc.

Connect our outcomes with the factors that are most predictive of quality career outcomes (e.g. GPA, major, and internship attainment)

spring 2019 Fellow NLU
Monika Dwojak  MBA Candidate, DePaul University

1 Post-graduation employment data of Braven Fellows over 2016-2019.
2 National comparison figures are composite statistics calculated with figures from the NACE First-Destination Survey, Economic Policy Institute, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Strada and Burning Glass Technologies’ 2018 report The Permanent Detour, and Urban Institute.

The disparate impacts
of the pandemic

Amid the pandemic, Braven Fellows outpaced their peers nationally across lines of race and gender identity. However, we saw disparate impacts on some subgroups of Fellows in line with national trends. Our Fellows who identify as Black or as female were more negatively impacted.

The Braven Equation

With Braven’s help, Nya built the foundation to get on the path to the American promise.

Spring 2018 Fellow
Nya Stroud  MSW Candidate, DePaul University

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Are we impacting more students and maintaining program quality?

2020-2021 Braven Fellows in our higher education model

121

Fellows completed the Braven course in the 2020-2021 school year in our National Louis University pilot

2020-2021 Fellows who identify as

49

net promoter score (NPS)

NPS is a widely recognized customer satisfaction benchmark. A score of 50+ is considered excellent.

82%

course retention for
spring 2020 NLU fellows

78%

Average level of
content mastery

most popular majors

criminal justice
Psychology
Business Administration
Computer
Science & Information Systems
Human Services

Braven’s Innovation Programs

In partnership with college success organizations and nonprofits, BravenX and Braven Online make career preparation more accessible to promising undergraduates from humble beginnings nationwide.

BRAVENX

BravenX is offered to Chicago-area students affiliated with college success organizations. BravenX cohorts meet in person when safe.

BRAVEN ONLINE

Braven Online is offered to students nationwide affiliated with college success organizations. Braven Online cohorts meet virtually.

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Is Braven supporting Fellows on the path to college completion and internships?

Encouraging levels
of persistence and graduation

Nationally, only about 6 in 10 of Braven Fellows’ peers graduate college on time.1 Fellows, who typically join us during their sophomore or junior year, are persisting and graduating at encouraging rates.

We now have a sample size large enough to share
6-year graduation data for Braven Fellows.2

1 Implied 6-year graduation rate for Black and Latinx students who persisted from freshman to sophomore year at four-year public institutions. Sources: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Digest of Education Statistics, Tables 326.10, 326.30, and 306.50
2 Six-year graduation data of Braven Fellows starting at San José State University and Rutgers University-Newark up to 2014, not including those who took Braven during their senior year of college (n=209). No students took Braven as freshmen in this cohort.

spring 2019 Fellow
Zahra Cheema  Rotational Assignment Program, Medline

Growth in
non-cognitive measures

Each semester, Braven measures growth in non-cognitive factors between the start and end of the Braven Accelerator. Non-cognitive factors, which are not usually measured through traditional assessments like standardized tests, are associated with academic and lifetime success and can play large roles in explaining job search and career behaviors and outcomes.1

IN 2020-2021, BRAVEN FELLOWS SHOWED STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT GROWTH
ACROSS THE NON-COGNITIVE FACTORS THAT WE MEASURE 2

1 Frank, J.L. (2020). School-Based Practices for the 21st Century: Noncognitive Factors in Student Learning and Psychosocial Outcomes. Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Vol. 7(1) 44–51.
2 Growth in all measures statistically significant at the p < 0.05 level.
3 Saks, A.M., Zikicb, J., Koen, J. (2015). Job search self-efficacy: Reconceptualizing the construct and its measurement. Journal of Vocational Behavior, Volume 86, 104-114.
4 Reddan, G. (2015). Enhancing students’ self-efficacy in making positive career decisions. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education,16(4), 291-300.
5 Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
6 Angela Duckworth Grit FAQ

Job Search Self-Efficacy: The belief that you can successfully perform the behaviors required in a job search to land a job 3

30%

Career Self-Efficacy: The belief that you can successfully perform behaviors for career planning, decision-making, and progression 4

12%

Growth Mindset: The belief and passion for growth, change, and learning despite challenges and setbacks 5

38%

Grit: Having long-term goals you care about, holding steadfast to these goals, and making sustained progress despite obstacles 6

17%

spring 2021 Fellow NLU
Enrique Garcia  Student Intern, Revolution Workshop

Despite facing setbacks during the pandemic, our Fellows’ internship attainment during their undergraduate experience remained strong

For college students, internships serve as critical proof points of experience and open professional doors.

Sixty-five percent of 2019 and 2020 graduates at NLU, our first two graduating classes, had at least one internship during their college experience, which largely took place before COVID-19. This is on par with their national peers at public four-year universities.1

1 Data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers 2018-19 student survey of graduating 2019 seniors (n=1,666), latest year that data are available
2 Data from 23 National Louis University graduates in 2019 and 2020

spring 2019 Fellow NLU
Rashad Walker Intern, Kaplan Family Foundation

Partnerships with organizations invested in Braven’s mission help open doors for Fellows

In 2020, Braven launched a partnership with Katie Couric Media (KCM), a media company that helps brands through authentic storytelling. The media industry is notoriously difficult to break into and our partnership with KCM provided four Braven Fellows with the opportunity to intern across digital, editorial, and corporate teams at KCM to develop key skills (e.g. communication, managing, working in teams, etc.) and networks.

Experience is everything. This is a huge stepping stone for my career, and I am so grateful for the connections made.

spring 2020 Fellow
Daikira Brown  National Louis University

This internship taught me to never shy away from opportunities and helped push me out of my comfort zone.

fall 2018 Fellow
Bryan Tenecela  Rutgers University-Newark

Thanks to this internship, I feel confident in getting started in the industry. I learned so many new skills I’ll be able to apply.

spring 2020 Fellow
Michael Omoruan  Lehman College

This internship changed my life, personally and professionally. It showed me that someone like me, who two years ago was a street vendor, has a voice. Braven was right: my story truly is my greatest asset.

fall 2018 Fellow
Guadalupe Emigdio  San José State University

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Are Braven Fellows developing the soft skills and networks needed for success?

87%

OF FELLOWS SAY that AFTER BRAVEN THey HAVE PEOPLE WITH DIVERSE CAREERS AND CAREER INTERESTS IN THEIR NETWORKS

56%

OF BRAVEN FELLOWS SCORE IN THE 75TH PERCENTILE OR HIGHER IN GAINING SOCIAL CAPITAL FROM THEIR RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR LEADERSHIP COACHES

91%

OF BRAVEN FELLOWS SAY THEY HAVE DEVELOPED OR STRENGTHENED SKILLS THEY NEED TO PURSUE THEIR GOALS AS A RESULT OF TAKING BRAVEN

1 Boat, A. (2021). The Power of Social Capital: Findings from the Social Capital Assessment and Learning for Equity (SCALE) Project [Insights & Evidence Series]. Minneapolis, MN.

The power of
mentorship

During the Braven class, Fellows are paired with a Leadership Coach who mentors them for 15 weeks, helping to grow their career readiness skills.

In Fall 2019, Charla Kelsey was part of Andrew Silverman’s Fellow cohort.

Andrew was an amazing mentor. He helped me figure out what I want to do in life based on my interests. He taught me not to limit myself because of my environment or let other people put me in a small box. Now I know that anything I want to do, I can as long as I believe that I can.

fall 2019 Fellow BRAVENX
Charla Kelsey
Financial Analyst, CIBC

As a mentor I love helping with a specific goal in mind. Charla showed great initiative with a goal of getting a summer internship which I’m thrilled she got at CIBC. We focused on interview tips and tricks and checked in throughout the internship on her experience. Seeing her continued success has been incredibly rewarding!

spring 2021 mentor
Andrew Silverman
Director of Digital Strategy
CIBC

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Are we building employer and higher education partnerships with true shared value?

The Braven bridge connects committed institutions of higher education and forward-looking employers

higher education
PARTNERs
employer
PARTNERs
23,000+
volunteer hours fueled by 1,695 Leadership Coaches, Professional Mentors, and Mock Interviewers
higher education
PARTNERs

Braven works in full partnership with four-year institutions of higher education to add more experiential learning opportunities and connections to employers, to help undergraduates develop 21st century competencies, and to engage alumni in skills-based volunteer opportunities.

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higher ed
partners

“Braven provides critical career advancement and growth opportunities for NLU's first-time freshmen students, 80% of whom are the first in their families to go to college.”

Aarti Dhupelia
Vice President, Undergraduate Education and Dean
National Louis University
employer
PARTNERs

Braven works in partnership with employers to empower Fellows on their path to strong first jobs, while helping employers develop their own talent into inclusive leaders through mentoring and coaching opportunities. Additionally, employers have access to diverse talent and opportunities to leverage their resources for unparalleled social impact.

75+
employer
partners

“In a time of deep uncertainty, partnering with Braven has been a concrete way to be part of the movement for racial and economic justice.”

Meg Garlinghouse
Head of Social Impact
LinkedIn

We couldn’t do it without you

Supporters ($10K+)

A Better Chicago
Anonymous
Charles Ashby Lewis and Penny Bender Sebring
Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies
Charter School Growth Fund
Cleveland Avenue Foundation for Education
Crown Family Philanthropies
Dani Petrie
David Cohen & Kristin Argo
Finnegan Family Foundation
Invest For Kids
Kelly Mannard
Paula Sneed & Lawrence Bass
Paul M. Angell Foundation
Prosper Road Foundation
Rebekah Eubanks
Siragusa Family Foundation
Square One Foundation
Strada Education Network
The 1954 Project
The Mayer and Morris Kaplan Family Foundation
The Osa Foundation

Employer Partners

LEAD PARTNERS
$250K+ & programmatic support
Deloitte
NBA Foundation
Salesforce
Workday

ANCHOR PARTNERS
$100K+ & programmatic support

LinkedIn

KEYSTONE PARTNERS
$25K+ & programmatic support
CME Group Foundation
Northern Trust
UBS

INNOVATION PARTNERS
$5K+ & programmatic support
BMO Harris Bank
CIBC Bank
FTI Consulting
Gucci
KPMG LLP
Loop Capital
Medline

IMPACT PARTNERS
<$5K and/or programmatic support
Anonymous
Cramer Krasselt
JPMorgan
Kindle Communications
Tegus
True Search