Social Legends: Focus on Our Clients - Starfish Initiative

Social Legends: Focus on Our Clients - Starfish Initiative

Social Legends places the client focus this week on Starfish Initiative! This is an organization that understands the needs of at-risk kids and the resources that exist among college-educated mentors. Founded in 2003 by business leaders, the Starfish Initiative is a college access and readiness program serving economically disadvantaged high school students in Marion County, Indiana. Central to their philosophy is the importance of quality mentoring in helping improve educational attainment. To that end, every student in the Starfish program is matched with a college-educated adult mentor who volunteers to help walk their student into college.

Bob Kizer, President & CEO said, “All of us want to make our mark on the world, not the least of whom are those who have grown up in difficult circumstances where futures often turn out like pasts. Doubts and fears become commonplace when dreams are stunted by the realities of economic circumstance. Starfish Initiative has always made it a priority to support dreams of higher education and careers filled with hope and opportunity. [Our role is to] push on to help make a difference and change the trajectory of lives that can be bettered simply because we say so.”

According to a 2009 study by America’s Promise Alliance, only 30 percent of urban students in Indianapolis graduate from high school, placing Indianapolis at the very bottom for graduation rates among the country’s 50 largest cities. Every dropout costs our state nearly $3,000 a year for the rest of that former student’s life which is a significant public cost, especially at a time when economic growth and development and a well-educated workforce are of paramount importance.

With a commitment to long-term, community-based mentoring, leadership training, and college access programming, Starfish Initiative is uniquely positioned within the community to improve graduation rates, post-secondary educational access, and make a difference for students and their families — one at ​


Starfish - By The Numbers:

·        Starfish serves approximately 340 students from 40 public, private, charter and magnet high schools.

·        1,016 scholars served across 13 years of service

·        $1M Budget

·        11 Staff

·        16 Community Leaders on the Board of Directors

·        39,000 hours of volunteer time in 2015

·        85% of Scholars complete all four years of programming with Starfish

·        100% of the Starfish Scholars who completed the four-year program have graduated from high school

·        98% of Scholars have been accepted by colleges or universities

·        74% of Scholars obtain or continue pursuing a postsecondary degree

How Can You Get Involved?

·        Honor Your Mentor: Each of us have had people in our life who’ve influenced us in some way. Share with them the impact they had in      your life. Visit to get started.

·        Become a Mentor: What better way to pay it forward than to become a mentor for someone in need. Apply at

·        Make a donation: Help Starfish Initiative pair economically-disadvantaged high school students with a mentor to achieve college and      career success. Visit to make a contribution today!