Our story, our team

Michael J. Carter grew up attending school in San Jose, California.His junior year he transferred from private to public school, and discovered very different attitudes toward college between public and private high school students. At private school, most students were preparing for college. Where as friends with solid grades at public school weren’t prepping for college because it didn’t occur to them that they could afford to go.

Upon arriving at Washington University in St. Louis in 2007, Michael designed a pilot study that paired college students with public high school students. With a team of college classmate mentors and faculty support, the pilot team partnered with the nearby Eskridge High School in Wellston, Missouri. The students engaged in an intensive year of no-cost, one-on-one college prep mentoring.

Significantly improving college acceptance rates was the goal of the pilot. And that's exactly what happened. The high school’s four-year-college acceptance rate went from 1 out of 30 the previous year, to 24 out of 27 as a result of the pilot program.

The pilot was a success. But it was only the beginning. Upon completing his bachelor’s degree in 2010, Michael returned to his home state of California and opened the Strive for College headquarters. Over the years, Strive for College has steadily grown its impact throughout the nation.

A major milestone for Strive was the launch of its online mentoring platform. This platform connects high school students with a mentor 'virtually' anytime, anywhere.

Today, Michael is one of the nation’s leading advocates for college accessibility. Strive for College operates nationally and continues to change the face of higher education one qualified high school student at a time.

Meet the team

Michael J Carter
Founder, President & CEO
Matt Rubinoff
Chief Strategy Officer
JR Dumlao
Director of Operations & Finance
Adessa Kiryakos
User Experience Manager
Christa Bennett
Director of Partnerships
Laurie Parise
Director of Community Engagement
Terry Roberts
Special Projects Coordinator

Board Of Directors

MICHAEL J. CARTER Founder, President & CEO, Strive for College

ERIC CHEN Founding Partner, OVO Fund

LESLIE BLUHM Founder & President, Chicago Cares Inc.


CONNIE L LURIE Philanthropist

ERICH MAUFF Chief Executive Officer, Jushi

JENNIFER L. PRITCHARD Former President, Skagen at Fossil Group

JACOB STIGLITZ Founding Chief Operating Officer, Strive for College

MARTIN J. WONG Chief Executive Officer, Think Finance

MARK HANTHO Vice Chairman, Citibank