The Urban Dictionary defines a posse as, “the friends you hang out with that make you powerful.” The Posse Foundation is one of ten organizations selected by President Obama to receive a portion of his Nobel Peace Prize money. Its founder, Deborah Bial, Ed.D., created the organization after a promising student dropped out of college and said, “I never would have dropped out if I had my posse with me.”
Dr. Bial used the posse concept of peer support to design an organization to help boost college graduation rates among public high school students who have great academic and leadership potential. These “posse scholars” receive full scholarships to selective partner institutions such as UCLA, Vanderbilt, UW Madison, and the University of Illinois. And since 1989, their graduation rate is 90 percent—50 percent above the national average. To date, 26 Posse Alumni have received prestigious Fulbright Fellowships.
The Big Envelope embraces the belief that all students should have access to a college education, so you can imagine our pride when Dee Dee Sanders was recruited to help identify the next generation of Posse Scholars. Dee Dee, Cathie, and several other staff members attended “The Power of 10” special event at the Chicago Cultural Center on October 26. After meeting Chicago’s Posse Scholars and learning more about this extraordinary organization, we all left truly inspired!