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College Is Real

Our Mission

Investing in students since 2005

College Is Real's mission is to change the college-going culture in Richmond’s high schools in order to uplift the community through having more of its students, who are mostly low-income people of color, attend and be the first in their families to graduate from college


“We know that Zach and I aren’t going to have this platform forever, but it’s amazing to think of what a little bit of hope, or compassion, or even just an opportunity, can help somebody succeed. So, we’ve partnered with College Is Real to provide funding to start a program at Kennedy High School.”

– Julie Johnston Ertz, Two Time FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion, Ertz Family Foundation





High School Graduation


Four-year College Acceptance and Attendance

Colleges Attended

  • University of California: Berkeley, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Diego, Davis, Santa Cruz, Irvine, and Merced

  • California State Universities: San Luis Obispo, San Diego, East Bay, Northridge, Chico, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Jose, Sonoma, Humboldt, and Stanislaus

  • Private Universities: Stanford University, Brown University, University of San Francisco, Saint Mary's College of California, Holy Names University, Knox College, Wittenberg University, and Art Institute of San Francisco


"I’ve always cared about my education, but when I got to high school I didn’t know what steps I needed to take to make it to college. College Is Real made that path clear. They provided me with the resources and the guidance that has made everything up until this point possible.”

– Miguel De La Cruz, Richmond High School Class of 2018, Currently Attending UC Santa Barbara

Our Approach

College Is Real

Our Approach

CIR provides education, motivation, resources and support to low-income, minority students who demonstrate academic potential, have college aspirations, and who typically will be the first in their families to attend college. We succeed by having a professional on-site program director and providing each of our students with an experienced mentor. 

Once in the program our students gain confidence and challenge themselves with goals that previously may have seemed impossible to reach. With a 100% high school graduation rate and with 90-100% of our students being accepted by four-year colleges each year, College Is Real works!