New Investment: Bottom Line

Low-income, first-generation high school and college students in Chicago now have a new program to help them apply to and succeed in college. Bottom Line, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit launching in Chicago this month, is the newest addition to A Better Chicago’s portfolio.

A Better Chicago invests in high-performing nonprofits dedicated to creating education and career opportunities for low-income Chicagoans. In addition to investing $100,000 in Bottom Line, A Better Chicago will provide annual renewable grants and customized management support to help Bottom Line’s leadership team establish the program’s presence and infrastructure in the region.

With plans to support 150 students in its inaugural year, Bottom Line expects to rapidly expand its program to serve more than 1,500 students within the next five years.

“Bottom Line’s scalable model has produced compelling results in Boston and New York,” remarked Alli Henry, Managing Director + Head of Programs at A Better Chicago. “The organization complements existing programs in our portfolio and addresses the critical need for more college support in the Chicago region.”

One-on-one advising has proven to be highly effective in helping students apply and transition to and through college to earn a bachelor’s degree. Out of Bottom Line’s 2007 high school class, 87% graduated from college within six years. This rate exceeds the national average for all college students and is more than four times the national average for low-income students.

“Bottom Line has already demonstrated that – with hard work, smart choices and personalized support – low-income, first-generation students can achieve incredible success in college and in life,” stated Chris Broughton, the Executive Director for the Chicago office who recently joined from the Cristo Rey Network. “We’re thrilled to replicate our program’s success in Chicago and support students from across the city in achieving their college degree. Joining A Better Chicago’s portfolio is an incredible opportunity for us on multiple levels – not only in terms of funding and support but also the chance for us to grow alongside this wonderful network of nonprofit partners and leaders that share our deep commitment to Chicago’s low-income students and families.”