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The Opportunity Makers Hardcover – April 10, 2016
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In The Opportunity Makers, Charles Rutheiser tells the story of an organization that is very effective in making those dreams come true. Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO) was founded by Michael Osheowitz in 1963 as a small, all-volunteer mentoring program to assist students of color from low-income families in the South Bronx and Harlem to do well in high school, excel in college and succeed in careers. Since then, SEO has maintained its founding values while growing into a large, professional and highly effective organization that trains and supports high school students, college students and young professionals from underrepresented backgrounds. Over the course of its first 50 years, more than 11,000 young people have participated in SEO programs in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Vietnam and Ghana, with a large number going on to establish careers of distinction. SEO’s accomplishments merit much wider recognition at a time when inequality of opportunity is a matter of increasing concern. SEO has closed the academic achievement gap between students of color growing up in poverty and their more privileged national peers. SEO effectively trains young people from underrepresented backgrounds for positions in major financial institutions, corporate law firms, Fortune 500 companies, government service and the nonprofit sector. Drawing on archival research and hundreds of interviews, this book provides the first comprehensive account of how SEO evolved, what it has achieved and what many of its alumni have accomplished. The importance of SEO extends far beyond its ability to create highly effective programs or adapt to changing circumstances; the broader significance is the way SEO has transformed many thousands of lives beyond the direct reach of its programs. One of SEO’s most important accomplishments has been to empower participants in its programs to lead, give back and create opportunity for others—in short, to be Opportunity Makers.
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The Opportunity Makers