Social Entrepreneurs

Our network of social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to some of today’s most pressing problems in education. They are clear-eyed about the challenges facing the students they serve but undaunted in their mission. Like all good leaders, they balance their need for sustainable growth with their yearning to expand and serve more young people today and in the future. They are ambitious, energetic and sometimes, daring. We invite you to learn more about their work.


Jessica Pliska

is the Founder of the Opportunity Network which teaches low-income students how to create the kind of professional networks which many affluent students take for granted. Opportunity Network is in the midst of an exciting expansion, growing from serving one school and ten students in New York City to serving 1,000 students recruited from 100 schools.



Alicia Guevara

is the Executive Director of Year Up New York which provides a one-year intensive job skills training program and a corporate internship for young adults who want to move from poverty to professional careers. The program serves disconnected urban young adults, ages 18-24, through 5 months of full-time hard and soft skills training…



Rhea Wong

is the Executive Director of Breakthrough New York. Rhea and her team identify academically capable, motivated middle school students and give them the academic support and guidance they need to gain admission into some of the best public, private and parochial high schools in New York City and in the nation. The BTNY team then makes sure those same kids get the coaching and advising they need to get admitted…



Nick Erhman

is the Founder and CEO of Blue Engine. His group trains newly-minted college graduates called Blue Engine Teaching Assistants (BETAs) to help classroom teachers in public high schools serving low-income kids for the entire school year. With added support—usually three or four BETAs are assigned to a classroom—lead teachers can offer a more rigorous curriculum that equips students with college ready skills in mathematics, literacy and helps them promote a growth mindset.



Sarita E. Brown and Deborah Santiago

are Co-Founders of Excelencia in Education which accelerates Latino student success in higher education by linking research, policy, and practice and by promoting education policies and institutional practices that support Latino student achievement. A national, not-for-profit organization, Excelencia is building a network of results-oriented educators and policymakers to address…



Sr. Paulette LoMonaco

is the Executive Director of Good Shepherd Services which operates over 80 programs ranging from foster care to substance abuse treatment to after-school academic enrichment experiences and job skills classes. They help nearly 30,000 youth and family members in struggling neighborhoods throughout New York City. All of our programs are united by a common goal…



Kimberly Harris

is the CEO of America Needs You. Kimberly and her team provide intensive career development, mentorship and professional networks to enable low-income students to realize their academic and career aspirations. Their comprehensive design helps college students stay enrolled, obtain internships and secure jobs that eventually lead to successful careers.



Professor Herminio Martínez

is the Executive Director of The Bronx Institute at Lehman College. His team runs ENLACE Latino Collegiate Program which was founded in 2001 to serve the college-going needs of Latinos in the Bronx. Since then, the program has focused on the providing advanced Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) instruction to high-achieving Latino students…



William Goodloe

is the President of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity. Part of his organization, SEO Scholars, is one of the premier college access and success programs in the United States. Goodloe’s team at SEO Scholars provides public school students in New York City and San Francisco, California with a free eight-year program of academic and social enrichment that starts during the freshman year in high school.