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A $10 Million campaign to double the number of Central Texas college
graduates from under-resourced communities

Central Texas has the lowest college graduation rate in the state among students from under-resourced communities. That’s about to change.

Breakthrough Central Texas exists to create a path to and through college for students from under-resourced communities who will become the first in their family to earn a college degree. The organization has already served 150 college graduates, with 1,900 more in the pipeline. Beginning in sixth grade, Breakthrough Central Texas offers out-of-school learning experiences, leadership skills, and comprehensive advising. The organization makes a 12-year commitment to students and their families to guide them through the process of preparing for, enrolling in and completing college.




Sen.Kirk Watson

Texas Senator Kirk Watson, Honorary Co-Chair, The Breakthrough Challenge

In Texas we have the lowest graduation rate when we look at our economically disadvantaged students. We’re not doing what we ought to be doing, not just for our employers or our community, but for those people who need us so that we can help them to be all that they can be. I accept the Breakthrough Challenge.

Dorothy Vasquez

Dorothy Vasquez, Associate Director of Programs, Breakthrough Central Texas

Breakthrough is a 12-year commitment. We are committing to the families and they are committing to us. We walk side by side with the families from sixth grade until our students cross the graduation stage. I think it is an incredible, sustainable relationship that we initiate that gets students through college graduation.

Gary Farmer

Gary Farmer, Honorary Co-Chair, The Breakthrough Challenge

Accepting the Breakthrough Challenge means that I have an opportunity to participate in the success of students in central Texas. It means that I have an opportunity to reinvest in this community of students, to look forward to changing the trajectory of a generation of students. We the community will see the return of this investment for many years to come. I challenge you to support Breakthrough Central Texas.

Yasmine Smith

Yasmine Smith, Breakthrough Central Texas Graduate

As a 12-year-old student I had the dream of being a lawyer and being the first one in my family to go to college. However, I was told by those around me, specifically adults, that I should aim lower. So, when Breakthrough came into my life, it was a family, an organization that really supported me in my dream. They said, ‘You can do anything you put your mind to and we will help you along the way.’ Others should support Breakthrough and accept the Breakthrough Challenge because this is how we are going to change the world.

Michael Griffith

Michael Griffith, Executive Director, Breakthrough Central Texas

The Breakthrough Challenge is a call to action for our community of supporters to take a leadership role in central Texas and to help thousands more students to find success and realize their dreams of becoming first-generation college graduates. With the Breakthrough Challenge, we are going to take a quantum leap forward as an organization on behalf of central Texas young people. Our north star is to double the number of first-generation college graduates who earn a college degree each year.

Will you accept the challenge?

We invite you to change everything for the future of children from Central Texas’s low-income communities by making a multi-year pledge to support The Breakthrough Challenge.

Your philanthropic investment enables students to harness their innate potential while transforming themselves, their families and communities. You will create a ripple effect that lasts for generations. Our students become your legacy.

The Long Challenge

Through the generosity of Carolyn and Jack Long your investment can go even further. To encourage others to join the Breakthrough community and stretch their giving, just as Breakthrough students stretch themselves every day to achieve their dreams, Carolyn and Jack Long have issued a $1 million matching challenge grant. Your qualified donation*, above your current commitment to Breakthrough and payable over one to five years, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the Longs, doubling the impact of your investment.

Will you invest in the Breakthrough that Changes Everything?

* A qualified donation of $10,000 – $75,000, above your current philanthropic commitment to Breakthrough. Gifts $75,000 – $249,000 will be partially matched.

The Breakthrough Honor Roll is a select group of community members whose philanthropic support, advocacy and volunteerism help advance Breakthrough’s mission – to create a path to and through college for students who will be the first in their families to earn a college degree. 


Become a Founding Member

Pledge $1,000 annually ($83/month) or more for five years to support The Breakthrough Challenge Campaign and become a Founding Member of The Breakthrough Honor Roll.

Members can personalize their experience in a way that fits best with their schedule and lifestyle. Participate in any of the below opportunities or none at all. It’s up to you.

Have Fun 

Connect with other Breakthrough supporters at the spring membership party, exclusive for members and your guests

*Join by November 1 and receive (2) preferred access tickets to the 2019 Beat the Odds Benefit Concert Feat. Dawes on November 16 Live at Stubb’s Waller Creek Amphitheater.

Give Back 

From volunteering on Honor Roll Gives Back days to sharing Breakthrough’s mission throughout the community – there are many ways to give back to Breakthrough, in addition to your financial contribution. A number of family friendly volunteer options are available.


Attend our fall Education’s Promise speakers event, exclusively for members and your guests

As a Founding Member your gift can go even further! The first 50 Founding Members’ commitment will be matched dollar for dollar by an anonymous donor*, doubling the impact of your investment.

* This matching gift opportunity is intended to encourage new and returning donors to stretch their giving. Qualifying gifts include donations from new donors or returning donors who stretch their support above their previous annual giving level


We invite you to change everything for the future of children from our region’s low-income communities. Your investment in their future will have a profound impact in not only their lives, but our greater Central Texas community.

Make a gift today and help us double the number of first-generation college graduates by making a one-time gift to the Breakthrough Challenge.

For more information about the Breakthrough Challenge, contact Holly Wissmann, Director of Philanthropy at




Each time the hashtag #BreakthroughChallenge is shared publicly on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram, National Instruments matches $10 toward the campaign up to $10,000. Everyone get involved! Share the hashtag today and give back to students across Central Texas.


of our students graduate high school on time

of our students enroll directly into college

the rate of Breakthrough middle school students go on to earn a college degree, compared to similar peers

Breakthrough students graduate college at 2.5 times the rate of all students.



Christie Bybee
Walt Penn
Jessica Slade, Breakthrough Founder

Honorary Co-Chairs

Gary Farmer
Senator Kirk Watson

Hannah Temple
Ted Whatley


Mayor Steve Adler
Barry Aidman
Malia & Steve Aycock
Cyndi Bock
Amber Carden
Taylor Ellison
Rosalind George
Dr. Timothy George
Staley & Jack Gray

Ricky D. Green
Carolyn & Jack Long
Diana & Gregg Lowe
Susan Lubin
Richard Marcus
Lynn Meredith
Lucy Nazro
Tiffany Nels
Karey & Chris Oddo

Virginia Potter
Jackie & Eric Price
Louise & Sergio Rodriguez
Laurel & Dudley Simmons
Richard Topfer
Christa Tuttle
Tito Vidaurri
Neil Webber


Karen Arredondo
Carlos Alpuche
Ricardo Apanco Sarabia
Ariel Barrera
Tiara Clayton
Joe Cruz
Veronica Donley
Jose Garibay-Medrano
Robert Grace
Alexandra (Allie) Kleinberg
Huy Nguyen

Giovanna Perez
Gloria Perez
Marissa Peña
Javier Ramirez
Joseph Ramirez
Daniel A. Reyes
Jeniffer Saucedo
Jasmin Vara
Amely Vela