Recipe for Success™
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In his speech to Congress on February 24, 2009, President Obama made it clear that increasing college access and success would continue to be a top priority, pledging that by 2020, "America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world."

For generations of Americans, a high school diploma provided a valuable education and a ticket to the American dream. A high school graduate had the opportunity to get a steady job that paid enough to support a family and launch a career. But now, a high school diploma is no longer enough. There are millions of young adults — especially low-income young adults — who have both the ability and desire to continue their education past high school.
However, they are stalled by limited access to affordable, quality options and competing demands for their time and energy.

Currently, income level and race/ethnicity can be a bigger determinant of college access and success than academic preparation. The students who are least served by our higher education system — low-income, African-American, and Hispanic — are also the fastest growing U.S. populations.

The number of students from all backgrounds who attend college has increased, but significant enrollment gaps for African-American and Hispanic students and for students from low-income families have not been reduced. Nearly three out of four Caucasian high school graduates will enroll in college next fall, compared to 56 percent of African-American high school graduates and 58 percent of Hispanic graduates.

Studies also show that the disparity between upper- and lower-income students is even more pronounced. More than 90 percent of high school students from families making more than $100,000 enroll in college, compared to 78 percent of students from families making $50,000 to $100,000, and 52 percent of students from families making $20,000 and less.

Not surprisingly, these gaps also persist when it comes to successful college completion. Nearly 60 percent of Caucasian students complete a bachelor's degree within six years. The same is true for only 47 percent of Hispanic students and 41 percent of African-American students. Forty-eight percent of college-qualified, low-income students do not attend a four-year college within two years of graduation, compared with 17 percent of high-income, college-qualified students.

These statistics are staggering. And as our economy continues to shift, our nation needs to ensure that we’re producing young adults capable of taking on the demands of, and succeeding in, a 21st century workplace.

Darden Restaurants, Inc. Foundation's "call to action" is to help address this systemic issue as part of our Recipe for Success™ initiative. Recipe for Success™ is designed to enable and empower youth to pave their own path to success by providing them access to the tools and information necessary to navigate the process of postsecondary education. Recipe for Success™ will support and honor youth working toward their individual goals while inspiring others to follow in their footsteps.
Target Beneficiary
Target Beneficiary is a youth:
  • Between the ages of 14 and 18
  • Who is ethnically, socioeconomically and/or geographically diverse
Who wants to:
  • Pursue a postsecondary education
  • Gain new skills and knowledge
  • Transform his or her life for the better
  • Forge a path to success
Program Priorities
Information Access and Navigation - Programs that provide the tools and information to youth to help them navigate through the postsecondary education process
Academic Readiness - Programs that work directly with youth to prepare them for the academic rigor, environment and expectations of postsecondary education
Financial Support - Break down financial barriers by providing students with scholarships