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OneGoal Awarded Nicholas Kristof’s 2020 Holiday Impact Prize

CHICAGO, Nov. 21, 2020—OneGoal has been selected as a winner of New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof’s 2020 Holiday Impact Prize, supported by Focusing Philanthropy.

A leading college access and success organization, OneGoal works to ensure every young person has an equitable opportunity to achieve their greatest postsecondary aspirations—not just a select few. Working in partnership with high schools and higher education institutions across the country, OneGoal aims to close the college degree divide in America between students from low-income and high-income communities by integrating comprehensive, intrusive, and culturally relevant postsecondary planning, preparation, and support into the student experience.

OneGoal is honored to be one of the two runners-up, along with Himalayan Cataract Project, which have each been awarded $25,000. The grand prize of $100,000 was awarded to CAMFED, the Campaign for Female Education.

“OneGoal helps American kids in low-income communities get the education they need to transform their lives,” said Kristof. “Particularly in a time of pandemic, young people are at risk of dropping out—but OneGoal guides these students, mostly children of color, through high school and into college. Investing in a fairer America is rarely so inspiring.”

All of the contributions raised through the Holiday Impact Prize will help OneGoal to accelerate innovation, expand the services offered, reach more students, and mitigate the long-term negative social and economic impact of the pandemic on the nation’s most vulnerable young people. Additionally, thanks to a generous challenge grant from the Walter Family, all gifts through this campaign will be matched dollar for dollar up to $500,000 to support OneGoal’s national efforts.

“Across the country, there are 1.4 million 11th graders from low-income communities. Research shows these students receive an average of 38 minutes of college counseling during the school year,” said Melissa Connelly, CEO of OneGoal. “We’re incredibly grateful to be recognized by Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. This award illuminates vast inequities in our education system, underscores the critical impact educators can have, and affirms for our students that the postsecondary aspirations they have for themselves are valid and worthy of our support.”

Since 2009, Kristof has written an annual “holiday gift guide” New York Times column to highlight little-known organizations working to make the world a better place. He began writing the gift guide to bridge a philanthropic gap: readers who wanted to help but didn’t know how, and heroic individuals and organizations who desperately needed resources but were off donors’ radar.

The column has helped raise the profiles of organizations that work on the very issues he covers in his journalism—health, education, human rights and women’s rights, both domestically and abroad. Last year’s grand prize was awarded to Edna Adan University Hospital, a teaching hospital in Somalil and that is saving women’s lives in a country with one of the highest rates of maternal mortality in the world.

Focusing Philanthropy—a 501(c)3 nonprofit that finds and funds high-impact, scalable programs here and around the world—is providing the platform for this initiative by processing readers’ contributions, monitoring and reporting on results, and replenishing credit card transaction costs of donations made on so that 100 cents on the dollar will support the winning organizations. More information about Nicholas Kristof’s Holiday Impact Prize, this year’s winners, and Focusing Philanthropy can be found at

About OneGoal
OneGoal is a leading college access and success organization that works to close the degree divide and create a more equitable future for students. We partner with schools in low-income communities across the country to ensure postsecondary planning, preparation, and support are no longer extracurricular luxuries but integral components of the high school experience. OneGoal is a three-year program that starts as a class in students’ junior and senior years of high school and continues during the critical transitional period through their first year of college or other postsecondary path. 86% of OneGoal high school graduates enroll in a postsecondary institution and 76% of those who enroll persist one year after high school. In the 2020/21 school year, OneGoal is planning to reach some 12,500 students in the Bay Area, Chicago, Houston, Massachusetts, Metro Atlanta, and New York.

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