The Wake Promise

What is The Wake Promise?

It’s a promise to the Wake County community that grew out of the RCCC (Raleigh College and Community Collaborative), a cross-sector collaborative comprised of Raleigh colleges, high schools, philanthropic organizations, city agencies and private businesses working together to promote the post-secondary success and employment of under-resourced students in Raleigh. It was first called The Raleigh Promise and now is The Wake Promise.

Learn more about The Wake Promise at its website

The Original Project

Each campus had a staff person to lead and coordinate the retention and other activities for the target group of students on each campus. They were called RCCC Fellows Team Liaisons. Left to right: Original group of Liaisons—Allyson Sesay, Loretta Mask Campbell, Jennifer McLamb, Elizabeth Talley, Henry Phinazee, Peggy Ross and CRC Director Jenny Spiker.

It is a big promise to our community.

It’s about the belief that if more young people in Raleigh could go to college…if more of them already in college would finish successfully…if more of the graduates found successful careers … then Raleigh’s future would be greater than ever. It’s a big, strong promise because it is being made by so many different groups in our community.

Who started the project?

Major funding came from a grant as a part of an initiative by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to double the number of young adults who earn a “postsecondary credential” – such as a degree or a professional license or certification for a trade – by 2025. The $1.3 million grant aimed to help local teens and young adults earn the educational edge needed to get skilled jobs. Raleigh is one of four communities receiving the funding. The others are Charlotte and Amarillo and Brownsville, Texas.

Commitment came then and now from higher education but also from an ever-widening group of community partners. Some of those are the Wake County Public Schools, the City of Raleigh, Wake County Government, the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, United Way of the Greater Triangle, Communities In Schools of Wake County, NC Society of Hispanic Professionals, Capital Area Workforce Development, the John Rex Endowment, the Raleigh Business and Technology Center, Wake County Economic Development, Wake Education Partnership, YMCA of the Triangle, WakeMed Health and Hospitals and Southeast Raleigh Assembly.

What were the original parts of The Raleigh Promise?

The Full List of RCCC Action Teams

1. Raleigh Future Scholars. This effort will create annual cohorts of youth and young adults to be supported through preparation, connection and entry into the postsecondary pipeline.

2. The Raleigh Fellows. This effort is designed to help Raleigh Future Scholars who enroll in a Raleigh college and underresourced Raleigh students already enrolled in a Raleigh college to succeed academically, complete their degree or certificate, and graduate ready for the job market.

3. The Raleigh College Center. This strategy will establish specific locations in Raleigh neighborhoods to function as “distributed centers” where Raleigh’s youth, young adults and family members can receive information, gather resources, and participate in program offerings.

4. Individual and Group Coaching Strategy. This strategy provides a means for directly impacting the success of individual students. This strategy seeks to develop a cadre of coaches to support students individually and/or in groups on specific topics of interest (e.g., financial aid, gaining admission, adjusting to college life, dealing with course demands, finding a peer support network).

5. Career Development and Work-Based Learning Strategy. This strategy seeks to connect low-income students with work-based learning experiences that facilitate personal and professional development and propel students toward gainful employment.

6. Data Management and Analysis Strategy. This strategy will implement methods of collection and reporting data, perform data analysis, work with strategy action teams to establish common baseline data and languages, compile statistics and information to be shared publicly, and help integrate data into a single repository.

7. Communication and Engagement Strategy. This strategy aims to inform, consult, and involve key audiences and stakeholders in the initiative.

8. Fundraising, Sustainability and Grants. This strategy will support the expansion and sustainability of the project through a variety of financial resources.

Contact the Current Leadership for The Wake Promise

Executive Director NC State’s Jose Picart,, Associate Executive Director Wake Tech’s Bryan Ryan,

Planning Team members: Paula Moten-Tolson of Shaw University,, Jenny Spiker, CRC Director,, Betsey McFarland, ED of the WELL,, Marrius Pettiford, Wake County Schools,, Caroline Harper, Wake County Human Services,, Marsha Pharr, NC State’s TRIO Programs director,

Meet the Original Raleigh Fellows Leadership Team

Who was involved from the campuses?

The Raleigh Fellows Team—Co-chairs: Paula Moten-Tolson of Shaw and Danny Green of Meredith; Carrie McLean of NC State; Jonathan Wirt of Wake Tech; Doris Bullock and Ann Brown of Saint Augustine’s; Jerry Nuesell of William Peace; Jenny Spiker of CRC.

Overall collaborative leadersJose Picart, RCCC Executive Director of NC State; Bryan Ryan, Associate Director of Wake Tech; Kelly Laraway, Project Coordinator of NC State

Meet the original Raleigh Fellows Team Liaisons

The Liaisons for the Fellows Team:
Meredith College: Peggy Ross

NC State University: Courtney Simpson

Saint Augustine’s University: Miyoshi Polk

Shaw University: Melvin Wallace

Wake Technical Community College: John Kornegay

William Peace University: Elizabeth Talley

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