College Choice Foundation Students at Wash U.jpg
College Choice Foundation Graduation with Josephine Lowery 2018.jpg
Sean Conboy College Choice Foundation College Scholar at Boston College.jpg
College Choice Foundation Executive Board 2018.jpg
College Choice Scholar Joshua Ndegwa and mother Margaret Ndegwa.jpg
College Choice Foundation Students at Wash U.jpg

About College Choice Foundation


College Choice Foundation is a a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Homewood, Alabama that provides opportunities for motivated, high-achieving students who demonstrate resilience and determination while dealing with lingering hardships that affect their access to higher education.

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About College Choice Foundation


College Choice Foundation is a a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Homewood, Alabama that provides opportunities for motivated, high-achieving students who demonstrate resilience and determination while dealing with lingering hardships that affect their access to higher education.

About College Choice Foundation

College Choice Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides opportunities for academically talented and high-achieving students from economically challenged and disadvantaged backgrounds to gain access to the best higher education possible. We work closely with families and rely on multiple resources in our community to navigate the complex college choice process.

Upon selection into the program, our goal is to assist Scholars to make informed and sound decisions about college choice so that they are matched with the institution that is the best fit for them.


Learn More:

Story | Mission | Our Members| Press

College Choice Foundation Graduation with Josephine Lowery 2018.jpg

Story


College Choice Foundation started with a few dedicated volunteers and a goal to help a smart young woman from a disadvantaged background get into college. From there, the Foundation has flourished and now supports 9 scholars.

Story


College Choice Foundation started with a few dedicated volunteers and a goal to help a smart young woman from a disadvantaged background get into college. From there, the Foundation has flourished and now supports 9 scholars.

Story

Hello, my name is Josephine Lowery, and I am President of College Choice Foundation. In 2014, Dr. Mark Bateman, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at Samford University, approached me and a friend, Nancy Hale, about helping disadvantaged, high-achieving students navigate the college-admissions process. Nancy and I had spent the past decade doing extensive volunteer work in our school system and for our community, but as a retired nurse (Nancy) and a retired commercial real-estate attorney (me), we were skeptical, at first. Yet, Mark convinced us we would be excellent partners. In this endeavor, and with his guidance, we now possess a solid understanding of the college-admissions process. Together, with an incredibly talented and impressive Board of Directors and Advisory Board, we are exceptionally prepared to help our students.

Initially, we approached my landscaper’s daughter, Michelle, who needed financial assistance to take an ACT review course, as well as guidance regarding colleges. After one week-long review course, and a second attempt at the test, Michelle raised her ACT score from a 28 to a 32. THIS is the impact College Choice can have, as the average ACT score for African-American women is an 18. Michelle had her choice of premier colleges, but she chose Washington University because it was the best place for her, after consulting with Dr. Bateman who has spent most of his life researching college fit. Washington University, ranked 15th in the country, offered Michelle a full scholarship valued at $65,000 a year.

Joy, our second Scholar, whose parents were born and raised in Ghana, West Africa, also needed financial assistance and guidance since her parents were divorced, and her mother did not attend college. After multiple review courses, Joy also did very well on her ACT, and she, too, ended up choosing Washington University for its diversity and because they offered her a full scholarship. We currently have eleven Scholars in our program, attending schools all across the country.

Her first year at Wash U, Joy ran for and won the title of class President, and her first summer secured an internship in Seattle at the University of Washington this summer. Michelle has been equally successful at Wash U. She participated in a study-abroad program in South Korea. Both girls will graduate in spring of 2019, and have plans to attend graduate school. Sean is running track at Boston College. Maddie was awarded an internship to work in the prisons in Boston. Angelica made the Dean’s List both semesters her first year at American University. Frank is balancing a full load in Civil Engineering while working many hours a week at a local favorite, Urban Cookhouse. Joshua and Jessica have both had an amazing first year at college as well. Jessica is on the dance team, and Joshua entertains friends from all over the country with his dry wit. All of these young men and women are incredibly bright and resourceful and would have accomplished great things on their own, but because College Choice Foundation provided additional financial support and intense guidance throughout the college search, admissions and selection processes, we helped them reach their dreams.

Everyone on our Board or who serves as an officer, is passionate about helping children like Joy, Michelle, and our other Scholars. Some because Board members themselves experienced challenges with the college-search process. My story is fairly straightforward — I grew up with an alcoholic mother, and an absentee father who rarely sent child support. It was a childhood of food stamps, powdered milk, and free lunch — but I knew that if I did well in school there might be hope. Because a guidance counselor intervened and provided me support I would not otherwise have had, I received full scholarships to Emory, Birmingham-Southern, Sewanee, and Vanderbilt. I chose Sewanee because it was the best fit for me. This is our hope for our students – we want them to have a choice and to be able to choose the best college they can afford. College Choice Foundation wants to expand the horizons for these students so that their worlds can be as big as they want them to be, and to open doors they never dreamed possible. Some of our Scholars never even thought of college as an option, yet because of College Choice Foundation they have the potential to attend almost any college, including the most prestigious ones. As Mark often says, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

However, we cannot help these kids without your assistance! Your monetary support is invaluable in helping our Scholars achieve their goals. A monetary contribution to this non-profit organization ensures that we can better assist the students we are currently supporting on a shoe-string budget, while increasing the number of students that we help each year. It is an honor and privilege to work with these kids and a humbling and inspiring experience. Your donation will make a difference in changing the life trajectory of these young adults.

Thank you,

Josephine Lowery
President, College Choice Foundation

Sean Conboy College Choice Foundation College Scholar at Boston College.jpg

Mission


College Choice Foundation's mission is to assist high-achieving, academically advanced students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursue their college dreams and find the school that best fits their needs.

Mission


College Choice Foundation's mission is to assist high-achieving, academically advanced students from disadvantaged backgrounds pursue their college dreams and find the school that best fits their needs.

Mission

The mission of College Choice Foundation is to promote opportunities for academically talented and high-achieving students (collectively, “Scholars”) from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to gain access to the best higher education possible. The key to achieving this goal is using best efforts to provide participating Scholars with the resources – advising, tutoring, counseling, legal assistance, guidance, travel and financial help – to make good, informed decisions about which college or university is right for them (collectively, “Institutions of Higher Education”).  As part of this mission, College Choice Foundation will use best efforts and endeavor to:

  1. Screen and select students each year through a thorough application process to become a Scholar of College Choice Foundation.
  2. Meet with these Scholars before each high school class selection process to make sure they are on the accelerated track, and are taking adequate number and type of AP classes.
  3. Meet with these Scholars individually and help them identify Institutions of Higher Education that fit their interests. These should be Institutions of Higher Education that not only satisfy their educational ambitions but also potentially can provide financial assistance to/for the Scholars.
  4. Assist the Scholars with preparing and updating a resume.
  5. Once a list of Institutions of Higher Education is obtained, assist the Scholars with courting the Institutions of Higher Education – contacting the admissions department at each of the Institutions of Higher Education, and sending them a folder about College Choice Foundation with a copy of the Scholars’ resume to the Institutions of Higher Education’ admissions department. Help the Scholars stay in touch with the Institutions of Higher Education during the admission process.
  6. Provide financial assistance to take the ACT and/or SAT, to take review courses for the ACT and/or SAT and to obtain private tutoring for the ACT and/or SAT. Assist with transportation to these programs.
  7. Provide Scholars with a laptop computer to assist in applying to the Institutions of Higher Education, completing applications, and for use while they attend a Higher Education Institution. College Choice Foundation may either purchase a laptop or have one donated for the Scholars.
  8. Provide financial assistance for Scholars to visit a select number of Institutions of Higher Education, help with logistics for the visits and take the Scholars on these visits after they have narrowed their choices to their favorite Institutions of Higher Education that are financially viable.
  9. Provide support with the Common Application and other Institutions of Higher Education’ admissions applications. Pay the cost of any application fees and fees to send ACT scores to the Institutions of Higher Education. Help with scholarship applications including, without limitation, understanding what to write about, completing in-depth interviews to determine the best topics for these essays, proofreading essays, providing guidance to help the Scholar understand time frames for submitting applications, and providing counseling throughout.
  10. Assist with Letters of Recommendation and assist the Scholars to determine the best people they might invite to write these letters on their behalf.
  11. Help prepare the Scholars for any interviews with the Institutions of Higher Education, including, without limitation, assist them with proper interview attire and provide mock interview opportunities.
  12. Assist the Scholars’ families with completing the CSS Profile and FAFSA, and any other financial aid documents needed by the Institutions of Higher Education.
  13. Provide financial assistance, help with logistics and when necessary take the Scholar to the Institutions of Higher Education to compete for scholarship awards.
  14. Once all admissions letters, scholarship awards and financial aid packages have been received, carefully review the details of same with the Scholars and their family and help the Scholars select the Higher Education Institution that is the best fit for the Scholar and sustainable within the financial resources of the family. Assist Scholars with appealing their financial aid award if necessary.
  15. Assist Scholars as they get ready to attend their Higher Education Institution (navigating the roommate selection process, provide check-lists for dorm outfitting and assist with travel arrangements).
  16. While the Scholars are at their Higher Education Institution, help them with course selection, internships, research grants, study abroad, and emergency situations if necessary and appropriate.
  17. While the Scholars are at their Higher Education Institution, provide them guidance regarding determining and applying to graduate school if Scholars so desire.
  18. To help defray the cost of the foregoing activities, College Choice Foundation may engage in various fundraising activities throughout the year, including, without limitation, mailings, and an annual fundraiser within the community with the option of including a Silent Auction to raise money.
     

Finally, celebrate a successful college search process!

College Choice Foundation Executive Board 2018.jpg

Our Members


College Choice Foundation's Board is comprised of dedicated community members who bring a variety of skills and expertise to the Foundation. Together, they are making the American dream possible for their scholars.

Our Members


College Choice Foundation's Board is comprised of dedicated community members who bring a variety of skills and expertise to the Foundation. Together, they are making the American dream possible for their scholars.

Officers

Josephine Lowery, President and Co-Founder of College Choice Foundation in Homewood, Alabama.

Josephine Lowery

President & Co-Founder

Josephine is a retired attorney from corporate/real estate law. She has years of experience with volunteering, and fundraising, and she has chaired multiple committees. She will be the PTO President next year at Homewood Middle School. Josephine will assist in the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, assist with mentoring students, review essays and help students with their resumes.

Nancy Hale, Vice President and Co-Founder of College Choice Foundation.

Nancy Hale

Vice President & Co-Founder

Nancy is a retired nurse with years of experience with volunteering, and fundraising, and she has chaired multiple committees. She has been the PTO President at Shades Cahaba. Nancy will help with the day-to-day operations of the Foundation, and assist with mentoring students and reviewing essays and resumes.

Barry Smith, Secretary of College Choice Foundation

Barry Smith

Secretary

Barry has a master’s degree in journalism, and is currently on the City Council of Homewood, Alabama. She has served in multiple chair positions. She is currently the Nursery/Pre-school Director at Trinity United Methodist Church. She will assist with fundraising, secretarial duties, and help with Scholars.

JENNIFER WALLACE

Treasurer

Jennifer is an accountant with Morton Properties, LLC, and has been PTO Treasurer at Shades Cahaba Elementary School, Homewood Middle School School, and is Assistant Treasurer at Homewood High School. She will handle treasurer duties, and assist with fundraising and Scholars.


Board of Directors

Mark Bateman, Samford University professor and co-founder of College Choice Foundation.

Mark Bateman

Co-Founder | Homewood Parent

Mark is a professor at Samford University, and has years of experience with advising students and universities regarding college choice. Mark will meet with students and parents to determine their top list of colleges, and then work with them on their essays.

Tim Bembry

Homewood Parent

Tim is a Financial Advisor with Wells Fargo Advisors who will oversee the financial aspects of the Foundation.

Sharon Broach

Homewood Parent

Sharon is a Mediation/Arbitration attorney with the Law Office of Sharon H. Broach. She previously practiced with the United States Federal District Court for twelve years.

Nancy Hale

Co-Founder | Homewood Parent

Nancy also serves as one of the Foundation's officers. See her profile under Officers for more information.

Josephine Lowery

Co-Founder | Homewood Parent

Josephine also serves as one of the Foundation's officers. See her profile under Officers for more information.

Cassandra Joseph, Homewood parent and member of the College Choice Foundation Board of Directors.

Cassandra Joseph

Homewood Parent

Cassandra has been a PTO President at Homewood High School. Cassandra will help with mentoring students. Cassandra also is a community liaison.

Joe Wilson

Homewood Parent

Joe is a business attorney and is doing all of the formation documents for the Foundation pro bono. He will also give legal advice as needed.

 

Advisory Board

Ambria Hardy

BA in Accounting, RSM US LLP

John Bell

Immigration attorney at the law office of John Charles Bell, LLC

Keith Brashier

Family attorney at Burns, Brashier & Johnson, LLC

J.W. Carpenter

Executive director of the Birmingham Education Foundation, board member of A+ Education Partnership, the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama, and the Kiwanis Club of Birmingham.

Dr.Jacqueline DeMarco

Licensed psychologist with Jacqueline Dillon DeMarco, PhD, PC

Nancy Ferren

Leadership Birmingham. Marketing and business development

Lisa Gaines

Editor - 7th Grade Language Arts Teacher

Julie Gentry

Founder of Community Garden

LISA GILCHRIST

Masters in Business Administration and financial and administrative operations and experience with grant writing

Rev. Elizabeth Goodrich

Associate Pastor for Discipleship at Independent Presbyterian Church (PCUSA)

Mindy McBride

AP European History Teacher, Homewood High School

Brian Quisenberry

Financial Aid Director at Virginia Military Institutione

Ken Ray

Web developer and graphic artist from Durham, NC

Michael J. Smith

CPA, Accounant for CCF

Brad Spencer

CEO of Blondin Bioscience, LLC, which produces precision clinical diagnostics tools in the rapidly growingn field of cell-free DNA diagnosis

Brittany Sturdivant

Photographer and videographer for Love Be Photoraphy. Previous Admissions Counselor at Birmingham-Southern College

 
 
 
College Choice Scholar Joshua Ndegwa and mother Margaret Ndegwa.jpg

Press


Press


PRESS

News: Talk of Alabama 03/15/17 College Choice Foundation - CLICK HERE TO WATCH

Article: Birmingham Times 2MAY2019: “Meet the Ramsay HS student, en route to Yale, who earned more than $2M in scholarships” by Erika Wright - CLICK HERE TO READ

Article: Putting People First Birmingham Government 1MAY2019: “Ramsay High Senior Jillian Jolly accepts $300,000 Full Ride to Yale University” by Chanda Temple - CLICK HERE TO READ

Article: Homewood Magazine September 9SEPT2018: “How the College Choice Foundation Plays It Forward” by Melanie Peoples - CLICK HERE TO READ

Article: Homewood Star, 22MARCH2018: “College Choice Foundation to Expand to Birmingham Schools” by Sydney Cromwell" - CLICK HERE TO READ

Article: Over the Mountain Journal, 6APRIL2017: "The Choice is Yours" by Emily Williams - CLICK HERE TO READ

Article: Homewood Star, 26JAN2017: "Foundation Brings Elite Schools in Reach of Low-Income Students" by Sydney Cromwell
 - CLICK HERE TO READ

Talk of Alabama 04/26/16 College Choice Foundation

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