Investment to date


Fundraising Support

Market Research

Program details
  • Grantee since: 2014
  • Current students served: 682


Bottom Line helps low-income and first-generation college students get to and through college. Bottom Line runs two programs: Access and Success. Its Access program provides high school seniors with one-on-one guidance through the college application process. The Success program provides college students with up to six years of support on their path toward a degree.

Why We Invested

Bottom Line is preparing first generation, low-income students to succeed in college. Nationally, only 44% of low-income students with academic credentials similar to Bottom Line participants attain a bachelor’s degree in six years. In contrast, based on the most recent data, 80% of Bottom Line college students supported by Bottom Line nationally earned a bachelor’s degree in six years. In addition to supporting students toward a college degree, Bottom Line strives to ensure its participants do not accumulate more than $36,000 in debt and are employed or continuing their education 6 months after graduation. Bottom Line Chicago (BLC) launched in the fall of 2014 and has quickly established itself as a leading organization in the college access and persistence space. BLC has signficantly scaled from serving 156 students in its launch year to 682 students this year. In addition, BLC’s executive director Chris Broughton has thoughtfully expanded the management team and established an engaged board. We are confident that BLC is well positioned to continue growing in Chicago.

Our Assessment

Want to learn more? Check out our organizational assessment.

Grantee Performance

Note: Benchmark is based on national data reflecting a subset of students with socio-economic backgrounds and academic credentials similar to Bottom Line students.

Source: Bottom Line; U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003-04 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, Second Follow-up (BPS:04/09); Bottom Line Chicago financial statements

Looking Ahead

BLC is currently serving 682 students. By FY19, BLC aims to reach over 1,500 students annually. To support its growth plans, the organization recently launched a development strategy that will provide the executive director and the Chicago board with a roadmap to achieve its ambitious multi-year fundraising goals. Bottom Line is currently undergoing a seven-year randomized controlled trial to study the program’s impact on the overall rate at which students enroll in college and on the quality of where students matriculate.  

Our Impact

Cumulative Value Delivered to Bottom Line Chicago

Management Support Highlights

Fundraising Support: A Better Chicago hosted a meeting of funders who might be interested in supporting Bottom Line in Chicago. A Better Chicago planned the event, invited participants, and shared its investment rationale. 

Market Research: Bottom Line Chicago hired a consultant to conduct market research on college access and persistence programming in Chicago. A Better Chicago helped scope the project, introduced Bottom Line Chicago to vetted consultants, and covered 75% of the fees.