College Access and Excellence

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation identifies and invests a portion of its funding in strategic grant initiatives to expand educational opportunities throughout the United States. The Foundation partners with educational leaders that share our commitment to advance the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need.

Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA)

Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) empowers 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.

With the support of Jack Kent Cooke Foundation funding, LEDA continues the ongoing enhancement of college guidance and career and alumni services to ensure high-achieving students with financial need continue to apply to, attend, and graduate from the most selective institutions in the nation equipped for success in career and life.


Past Initiatives

National College Advising Corps

The College Advising Corps significantly increases college enrollment among low-income students who have the potential to excel in higher education, but need extra support in selecting and understanding how to pay for the most rigorous college available. The program recruits and trains recent college graduates to serve as advisers in high schools nationwide.

Launched in 2005 with Jack Kent Cooke Foundation support, the College Advising Corps has grown from 14 advisers at a university supported organization (originally based at the University of Virginia and later based at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) l) into a national, award-winning, independent 501(c)(3) organization. It currently employs over 500 advisers and has served over 543,000 students in high schools in 14 states. Since the program’s inception, the Foundation has invested over $12 million in the program. The Foundation’s current funding supports the College Advising Corps’ efforts to lead, develop, and evaluate college undermatching initiatives (a dilemma where high-achieving, low-income students are not applying to selective colleges that match their abilities).

Community College Transfer Initiative

The Foundation’s Community College Transfer Initiative (CCTI) was designed to help high-achieving community-college students earn bachelor’s degrees at top colleges and universities nationwide. The Foundation has invested roughly $7 million to develop targeted programs at highly-selective four-year institutions.

Through this grant initiative, the Foundation currently supports a cadre of selective colleges and universities and their community college partners that are committed to developing and supporting programs to improve access for high-achieving, low-income community college transfer students.

The Foundation, in partnership with the Lumina Foundation for Education and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation, has sponsored significant research designed to answer important questions related to the initiative. Learn more about the results in the research report, Transfer Access to Elite Colleges and Universities in the United States: Threading the Needle of the American Dream.

Contact Us

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation typically awards only a limited number of grants to nonprofit organizations whose efforts complement our mission of advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. We rarely, if ever, fund unsolicited proposals.

However, if you would like to receive updates on our grants, scholarship programs, and other education news from the Foundation, you may subscribe to our weekly newsletter. For specific inquiries, you may contact our grants department directly by emailing