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In 2019, we announced The Breakthrough Challenge – a $10 million campaign to propel us toward a new North Star: to move the needle on educational equity by doubling the number of college graduates from Central Texas’s low-income communities.

Central Texas has the lowest college graduation rate in the state among students from under-resourced communities. We challenged the community to join us in changing that….and you accepted our challenge!

185 generous community members came together to invest more than $10.5 million in The Breakthrough Challenge campaign.

These funds are providing the launch capital to help Breakthrough achieve growth, scale programs, and build capacity for greater impact by 2023. In addition, a portion of this investment will establish The Promise Fund, an endowment to help ensure Breakthrough can always fulfill the 12-year promise we make to our students.


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.

Special thanks to our Matching Donors:

Carolyn and Jack Long, Luci Baines Johnson & Family, Anonymous



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


Gary Keller and Mary Pfluger  |   Carolyn and Jack Long

Cheryl and Walt Penn  |  Neil Webber

Tejemos Foundation

Hannah Temple, Christopher Sanders, T.L.L. Temple Foundation

Anonymous • Dick Clark III Foundation • Luci Baines Johnson and Family • Diana and Gregg Lowe

Michael and Susan Dell Foundation • Fran and George Ramsey • The Smalling Family

Webber Family Foundation • Mary Garwood Yancy and Howard Yancy

Aileen and Mike Aviles • Don and Lenee Bennett • Clinton and Christie Bybee • Susan and Gary Farmer

Love, Tito’s • Lowe Foundation • Mr. and Mrs. Eduardo Margain • Anonymous

Wm. Travis Penn and John B. Wicher • Stephen M. Seay Foundation • Winkler Family Foundation

Jeanette and Ernest Auerbach • The Bock Foundation • Anonymous • Andrea and Dan Ellinor

Kelly and Scott Ferguson • Rosalind Jones George • Staley and Jack Gray • Ricky D. Green

Susan and Chris Mack • MFI Foundation • Nelson Puett Foundation • Anonymous

David and Josette Bahler • Bridger Family Fund • The Clayton Fund • Janet and David Cooper

Peter and Brooke Freeland • Jordan and Katie Jaffe • Carrie and Jeffrey McDowell

Jamie and Ruth Pennebaker Jackie and Eric Price • Brian Roberts and Sarah Mead • Judy and Hector Ruiz

Anne and Cord ShifletSteve Shook • Laurel and Dudley Simmons • Jessica Slade • Ellen C. Temple

Robert and Christa TuttleMelba and Ted Whatley • Leslie and David Wolff

Kate and Scott Abel • Austin and J’Lynn Bartlett • Lynne Rupp and Doug Brothers • Kristina and Carlos Flores

Eva Garza-Nyer and Adam Nyer • Anonymous • Diana and Sean Greenberg Family • Dr. Harry and Idona Griffith

Chris Hester Cary and Brad Johl • Matthew and Tamara Ketterman • Lindsay Maki and Tom McWalters

Susan and Richard Marcus McDowell Foundation • Laurée Moffett • Anna and Jason Near • Michael and Tiffany Nels

Valerie and Jeff Newberg • NIAnonymous • Peggy O’Shaughnessy • Sergio and Louise Rodriguez • Bryan Rollins

The Shepherd 5 Points Family FoundationMaya and Shaka Smart • Missy and Todd Smith • Charlotte A. Smith

Sugar Creek Foundation • Neal and Beth SuttonIngrid and James Taylor • Dr. Denise Villa and Jason Dorsey

Susan Wallar • Liz and Senator Kirk Watson • Kristen and Patrick Worrall

Karen and Barry Aidman • Lee and Anissa Allbritton • Paula Angerstein and Paul Grosso • Kendall and John Antonelli

Randy and Lynn Atchison Gene and Sharlene Austin • Susan and Charlie Avant • Malia and Steve Aycock

Pamela Chandler and Patrick Ousey • Allison and Marc ChavezThe Cline Family • Craig and Ann Conrad • Christina R. Corona

Mark and Ge Crozier • MC and Scott Deskins Jr. • Jill and Mark Dewey Kimberly and Timothy Dowling • Jon Driscoll

Munira Fareed and Suaad Sait • Favaron Family • Jacquetta and Lowell Feldman Anonymous • Julie Fisher

Sherrie and Dr. Robert Frachtman • Mohit and Aparna Goyal • Natalie and James Gray • Carrie and Michael Griffith

Andrea Guengerich and Elizabeth Stephens • Robyn and Rob Hargrove • Grace Holland • Jack Humphrey and Allison Cook

Willemijn and Kevin IlcisinLeslie and David Jaffe • Kerry and Temp Keller • Cathleen King Naumann • Andrew Lack • Ellen and David Lake

Jack and Jill LasersohnSusan and Craig Lubin • Stephanie Humphreys and Kevin Lucas • Sarah and Bennett Maddox

Clayton and Andrew Maebius • Daniel and Lori Mannion David and Fredericka Middleton • Melissa Muckenthaler • Lucy C. Nazro 

Heather and Jack Nelson • Linda and Paul Parrish • Shannon and Chris PeiferClayton Penn • Evelyn Penn • Holden Penn • Hudson Penn 

Brandi and Jeff Pinsker • Dan and Linda Poole • Eileen and Stephen PortnerSusanne Pringle and Dan Rodney

Dennis Quinn and Joan Cheever • Michael Ramirez and Kaitlin DeBarros • Logan Reichle • Gretchen and Daniel Scardino

Esteban Serrano • Nina Shuvalov • Clayton and Gaby Smith • Christen and Steven Steen • Dulce and Mike Stenglein

Margot and Grant ThomasJasmin Vara • Susan Vaughan Foundation • Larry and Susan Westall • Holly Wissmann and Fabian Martinez

Tammy and Edwin Young • Jacqueline Olson and Minkun Zhang

Carlos Alpuche Caceres • James Carter • Ted Chauviere • Katie and Steve Felice • Alexandra and Merritt Beck & Amanda M. Beck Foster

Rey Garcia • Cheryl and Jim George • Richard and Virginia Gorelick • Laurie and Dirk Gosda • Michele Grieshaber and Michael Klug

Herndon Family FoundationJanice L. Kolbe • Debbie and Chris Pacitti • Joseph Ramirez • Jené Shepherd • Eleanor Siff • Donnie Spier

Robert and Leslie Suffoletta • Melodie and Bob Summersett • Tere and Tito Vidaurri • Suzanne and Marc Winkelman • Lisa Womack