Graduation season is upon us!

We are reaching out to the supporters of Paly's Rise Together Education in a time of great hardship and uncertainty for Palo Alto High School’s low-income students whose dream is to attend college. 

While it may not be obvious in such an affluent community such as Palo Alto, ten percent of Paly’s students qualify as low income (and probably more now due to the pandemic). This means that for a household of four, an annual income is less than $47,638. As of now, we have identified up to 27 potential students, who qualify as low income and are planning to attend a 4-year college or a 2-year community college in the fall.

Paly Class of '15 & '16 RTE Scholars

As you may recall, Stephanie, who spent her entire life living in poverty in one of the wealthiest school districts in the country, was the inspiration for starting Rise Together Education (RTE). However, there is a happy ending! With your generosity, Stephanie (Paly Class of 2015) graduated magna cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from San Francisco State University in spring 2019 and just completed her first year of a master’s degree. 


Stephanie graduating from SFSU in 2019

Stephanie's story is not dissimilar from that of our current 45 Paly scholars. RTE - with your generous support - is helping each of these scholars to achieve their own college success stories. Nationally, only 20% of first generation college students graduate within 6 years. We are so excited to announce that 8 of our 12 RTE students from Paly's Class of 2016 are graduating in 2020 with 2 more scholars on track to graduate in 2021 (one of whom is in a 5 year program at Northeastern). That is an amazing 83% graduation rate in less than 6 years! Even better, the remaining 2 scholars are both committed to completing their education and have upcoming plans to transfer to 4-year colleges. 

One of our 2016 scholars is Susana, who is graduating with a double major in Political Science and Spanish from Williams College. Susana will soon apply to law school!


Susana (Paly Class of 2016) graduating from Williams College

Loss of gala income due to Covid-19

Now, more than ever, our mission of improving the college graduation rates and therefore the long-term opportunities available to all Paly graduates is critical. However, we face a short-term funding gap of $50,000 due to the cancellation of our spring annual fundraiser. Over the longer term, we expect an increase in the number of students needing our support as the economic recession caused by the Covid-19 crisis impacts more families in the area.

As an all volunteer run nonprofit, we keep our expenses very low to ensure that almost all donations are able to go directly to supporting Paly graduates. Each donation has a significant impact. 

Can we count on you to donate to our campaign to close our funding gap?

Your tax deductible donation is welcome to info@risetogethered.org  via PayPalVenmo or send a check to the mailing address below. 

As always, we are so grateful for the support you provide to our students. Please visit us online to find more student stories and our 2019 Annual Report

Warmest regards,


Dawn Billman