Ready To Succeed Empowers Underserved Students to Graduate College and Launch Successful Careers

By Giving List Staff   |   November 17, 2023
Ready to Succeed Scholars and alums come together to share their stories and talk about their career dreams

Few foster youth and first-generation college students ever make it to their graduation. The numbers are dismal. As little as 4% of foster youth receive their college diploma, according to a recent College Pathways report. And only 20% of first-generation college-goers put on a cap and gown, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“Making sure these underserved students graduate college and find a job is critically important because they have no safety net and most have no home to go back to,” says Romi Lassally, executive director and co-founder of Ready to Succeed (RTS).

McCabe Service fellows come together to share what they learned from their summer internships

As a first-generation college-goer herself, Lassally’s experience navigating the professional and educational worlds has informed RTS, a nonprofit dedicated to helping underrepresented students graduate college and secure career-track jobs at record rates. The holistic program provides  personalized career coaching, paid internship experiences, mental health and wellness support, and annual scholarship funding that covers basic needs. With the assistance and commitment of RTS, 90% of first-generation and foster youth graduate and 92% have a career-track job within six months of graduation. 

“These kids are strong. They have made it to college. But they are still likely to fail because there are obstacles at every turn,” says RTS Co-Founder Patrick McCabe. “It’s easy to take for granted all the things parents do from giving advice about finances to simply providing confidence. At Ready to Succeed, we are kind of like parents, and we focus our efforts on providing scholars with what they need, when they need it.”

Deborah became an RTS scholar in 2019. She was a bright, motivated student, who had been eagerly accepted into UCLA on scholarship. But at RTS they understand impressing an admissions board is just one of the many challenges at-risk students face on the road to success. 

“Getting into college is one thing, but being able to stay in school is a totally different thing,” says Deborah. “It was very hard without financial or family support.”

Deborah’s mother died in 2006, when she was just five years old. Without parental support to guide her, the odds were stacked against Deborah as they often are stacked against underserved youth. But with help from the team at RTS, Deborah graduated from UCLA this year. Soon she will start her Master of Education, on track to a career with the Los Angeles Unified School District. 

“To receive this support made me happy and overwhelmed with sentimental feelings because I wasn’t used to receiving this level of support,” says Deborah. “Ready to Succeed provided me with access to knowledge and personalized support that I wouldn’t have access to otherwise.”


Ready to Succeed

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(424) 453-2445
Director of Development: Frances Hardy


RTS empowers youth impacted by foster care to graduate college, launch successful careers, and reach their full potential.

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Being a Ready to Succeed scholar is a pivotal opportunity for foster youth. It truly is life changing.
Jarl Mohn
President Emeritus of NPR, RTS Supporter, and Former Foster Youth

Your Generosity Allows Students to Focus on Building their Careers

Even with college scholarships, research shows that underserved students are on average $5,000 short of being able to meet their basic needs including food, rent, and school supplies. To bridge this gap, Ready to Succeed (RTS) is starting a basic needs scholarship.

“Students often have to take on two and three jobs just to make ends meet, often preventing them from graduating college and launching a career,” says Romi Lassally, co-executive director and co-founder of RTS. “We want to give them the opportunity to think about their future, not just survive.”

When you donate today, your generosity can allow students to pay for their basic needs, propelling them one step closer to a successful career and a bright future.

$100 – Pays for one week of basic needs support

$500 – Pays for one month of basic needs support

$1,250 – Pays for three months of basic needs support

$5,000 – Pays for an entire year of basic needs support – most impactful level of support!

Key Supporters

Ric and Suzanne Kayne Foundation
ECMC Foundation
Chuck Lorre Foundation
Edward A & Ai O Shay
Family Foundation
LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl
LA County Supervisor
Holly Mitchell
Angell Foundation
Anthony & Jeanne Pritzker
Family Foundation
Aramont Charitable Foundation
Ralph M Parsons Foundation
Herbert R. and Jeanne C.
Mayer Foundation
Sam Simon Charitable
Dwight Stuart Youth Fund
Mohn Family Foundation
Department of Education
and Congressman Ted Lieu
Wurwand Foundation
The SAM Initiative