Skip to content

College access organization to change name next spring

PROVIDENCE, R.I.: The Onward We Learn of Rhode Island, the state’s most comprehensive college readiness program, will change its name and brand identity at the end of the 2021-22 school year and will announce a new name next spring that better aligns with its mission, vision and values.

Over the next several months, the organization will gather feedback and insight from students, alumni, staff and a robust network of supporters whose deep connections to the organization will help inform this new chapter.

The organization, founded in 1989 as the Children’s Crusade for Higher Education, engages students in urban school districts starting in middle school and provides college readiness, career exploration and academic support programming through high school and into college. Advisors work hands-on within schools, inspiring young people to become the first in their families to attend and complete college.

“We have more than 12,000 alumni and 3,500 current students who identify as Crusaders. Our organization has played an important supporting role in their pursuit of higher education and lifelong success over the past 32 years, and we are incredibly proud of that legacy in Rhode Island,” said President and CEO Andrew Bramson. “As we look ahead to a bright future, we want to put the needs and achievements of our first-generation students and families at the center of everything we do, and that should include a name and identity that captures the values by which we live.”

The organization has hired Rhode Island-based firm NAIL as its creative partner, tapping into its extensive experience in helping organizations tell their story.

“The past four years have inspired tremendous learning and growth for our organization, and the pandemic has reinforced with utter clarity that the students we serve are some of the most resilient, gifted and determined young people in our state,” said Meg Geoghegan, chair of the organization’s board of directors. “Our work is about helping students on their journey to college and building their confidence so they can imagine new possibilities for their futures. Our identity should reflect this thoughtful approach that has served so many students and families well over the past three decades.”

Alumni, students and families interested in being involved in this rebranding effort are encouraged to reach out to Kristen Cyr at kcyr@onwardwelearn.org.

“We have a great opportunity to engage our community in this process, simultaneously building awareness and momentum for our mission so that we can continue to do this important work for the next 32 years and beyond,” Bramson said.

The Onward We Learn supports more than 4,000 students in middle school, high school and college each year with one-on-one advising and year-round programs that focus on academic enrichment, social and emotional development, career education, and postsecondary preparation to help them become the first in their families to earn a college degree. Sixth-graders who attend traditional public schools and select public charter schools and independent schools in Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket and West Warwick are eligible to enroll in the Onward We Learn.