In 2001, the Webber Family Foundation, under the instrumental leadership of trustee and founder Neil Webber, invested critical seed funding in Breakthrough that enabled it to launch and admit the program’s first cohort of 41 students. Thanks to this partnership, Breakthrough has grown from serving 41 students in its first year of operation, to more than 1,700 students today. The Foundation has been instrumental in our ability to launch three successful expansions, develop and implement a strategic plan for growth and narrow the achievement gap in Central Texas, helping thousands of students to become the first in their families to graduate from college.

“When we compare high school graduation rates of Central Texas low-income students (66%) to their more affluent peers (85%), there’s no denying that the achievement gap in Austin exists,” says Marisol Foster, Executive Director at the Webber Family Foundation. Working to eliminate this gap, the Webber Family Foundation prioritizes supporting out-of-school time and summer programs that serve predominantly lower-income youth.

Currently, the Webber Family Foundation supports Breakthrough’s Middle School Summer Academy, the cornerstone to our long-term path to college that helps prevent summer learning loss, providing college-prep curricula in all core subjects, electives, nutritious meals and snacks and field trips for 6-weeks.

“We view out-of-school time enrichment as an opportunity to keep students engaged in creative, informal learning environments that offer targeted skill building, encourage youth voice, promote healthy relationships and prevent summer learning loss,” says Foster. “Students who consistently participate in high-quality out-of-school time and summer programs are more likely to have better academic outcomes and fewer behavior issues.”

Since its start in 1999, The Webber Family Foundation has distributed approximately $16 million in grants to support a wide variety of education programs in Austin, Texas – where the Foundation is based – and the Washington, DC area. To recognize their work in Central Texas and with Breakthrough, Con Mi MADRE, and Creative Action the Webber Family Foundation was honored as this year’s Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Outstanding Philanthropic Foundation at the 2019 Philanthropy Day Awards Luncheon on February 14 at the JW Marriott.

Breakthrough Central Texas is working to break the cycle of poverty by providing underserved students who want to go to college with a clear path to do so. The combination of high expectations, rigorous programming and long-term case management has proven to be an effective model in preparing these students to be the first in their families to graduate from college. The Foundation is proud to partner with Breakthrough to increase the number of exceptional college graduates from Central Texas.

Marisol Foster
Executive Director
Webber Family Foundation