We provide young women with a bridge between obstacles and opportunity, by giving them the resources to overcome barriers and reach their highest potential.

    Soledad O'Brien & Brad Raymond


    I have covered the world's most devastating stories throughout my career - stories of unimaginable human hardship and loss.

    There was the father who lost his grip on his little boy in the Indonesian Tsunami and the Japanese fearful of radiation poisoning. I was haunted for years after seeing the homes devastated by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. I still visit the orphaned children of the Haiti earthquake. I remember the faces of the few survivors I met and push away memories of the hundreds who did not survive. There was so little I could do to help.

    Or was there? Those who dedicate themselves to rescue often tell the Starfish story. When I heard it, it drove its way into my heart.

    Countless starfish have washed ashore on a beach and are dying off. A little boy is picking up starfish on the beach and tossing them back into the ocean in hopes they will survive. A man walks by and asks him why he is doing something so futile.

    "There are hundreds," he points out, "What difference will it make?"

    The boy then picks up a starfish, throws it into the sea and says, "It will make a difference to that one."

    I wanted to make a difference. Maybe this was the way. I had met many young women whose life plans had been stagnated by terrible disasters, compounded by generational poverty, some were just down on their luck. I could help one of them, do my part, and maybe launch a successful young woman into a brighter future. Then they could go off into the world and help others.

    Welcome to the Soledad O'Brien and Brad Raymond Foundation. I hope you will join us.

    Soledad O’Brien

  • Our work is built on three pillars:


    We believe that it is critical for young women to have the educational opportunities that will allow them to reach their highest potential. This is not limited to academics, but also includes self-exploration, social skills and personal growth.


    We know that there are a myriad of obstacles that can stop a young woman from completing her education. We provide young women with a network of support to get them across the finish line.


    We challenge young women to increase the benefit of their education by bringing it back to their communities. We hope that our scholars will engender a new community of girls with big dreams and the drive to make them come true.

    Who We Are

    The Soledad O’Brien + Brad Raymond Foundation exists to provide hardworking young women with the resources necessary to succeed.

    For reasons beyond their control, many young women of color from low-income families are less likely than their middle-class counterparts to attend and finish college. This makes it tough for them to get well-paying jobs, maintain healthy lifestyles and enjoy full societal and civic participation. What many of these young women do have however, is intellect, resilience and spark.

    We’re here to get these young women out of the shadows and onto the road toward their dreams.

    Our Programs

    The Scholars Institute

    We provide resources and a support system for success. This includes year-round mentorship, enrichment experiences, financial aid advising and career exploration.


    We directly fund tuition and associated educational fees for young women to complete their education.


    We provide young women with a bridge between obstacles and opportunity, by giving them the resources to overcome barriers and reach their highest potential.

    Changing communities one young woman at a time.

    Board of Directors

    Rose Arce

    Senior Producer,


    Kimberly Arp Babbit



    Kim Bondy

    Founder / President,

    The Bondy Group

    J.R Kerr

    Teaching Pastor / Campus Director,

    Park Community Church

    Jay Kriegel

    Senior Advisor,

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    Founder / Artistic Director,

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    Jonathan Olinger

    Chief Executive Officer,

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    Steve Perry, PhD

    Founder and Principal,

    Capital Preparatory Magnet School

    Pamela Ravare-Jones

    Chief Operating Officer



    Brad Raymond

    Co-Head of Investment Banking,

    Stifel Nicolaus Weisel

    Keith Reinhard

    Chairman Emeritus,

    DDB Worldwide

    Sandra Richards

    Vice President,

    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney

    Michele Thornton

    Senior Director, Emerging Partnerships,


    Pharrell Williams

    Artist / Music Producer,