Mission & Vision
Steppingstone Scholars is dedicated to helping educationally underserved students in the Greater Philadelphia region achieve academic success. Students with the potential and a community of support are prepared for admission to and success at the best public, non-public and independent college preparatory schools through a program of academics, mentoring and support. Steppingstone Scholars works with partner schools to create opportunities that lead to college. It is our vision that every child who is academically motivated will be prepared for college.
The Steppingstone Foundation began in Boston in 1990 with the mission of developing and implementing academic programs for educationally underserved children in 5th – 7th grade. In 1999, the Steppingstone Scholars program was launched in Philadelphia as the first initiative of the Steppingstone Foundation outside of Boston. A local Philadelphia Advisory Board was formed in 2000 and in 2003, the Advisory Board was replaced by an independent Board of Directors. Steppingstone Scholars, Inc. of Philadelphia became established as a separate organization.
The Philadelphia Inquirer’s 2008-09 Report Card on the school district of Philadelphia reported that the high school dropout rate was 44 percent. This situation is prevalent largely in Southwest Philadelphia, North Philadelphia and parts of West Philadelphia, the very neighborhoods from which Steppingstone draws 80 percent of its students.
Horace Mann said: “Education is the great equalizer.” It is this belief that serves as the underpinning for everything we do at Steppingstone Scholars. We believe, and the Scholars have proven time and again, that most children, regardless of circumstance, can earn life-transforming opportunities if they apply themselves in a focused, demanding, result-oriented academic environment. Steppingstone is the only educational program of its kind in Philadelphia to offer this educational opportunity as early as fourth grade. Steppingstone rallies a community of support—families and partner schools—to help Scholars in their quest for a good education.
Over a three year average, 96% of Scholars commence the 14-month Academic Preparation Program; 92% attend college prep schools; 96% of Scholars graduate from high school; and 100% of Scholars who graduate from high school matriculate at a college or university.