Champions in Action

Champions in Action: Steppingstone Scholars

Local nonprofit dedicated to bridging the gap between educational and workforce opportunities and talented, underserved students in Philadelphia recognized for its educational social mobility work.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Steppingstone Scholars, a local Philadelphia nonprofit that creates pathways to educational and workforce opportunities for talented, underserved students in Philadelphia, has been named a 2021 Champion in Action® under the Social Equity & Inclusion category. The award, announced jointly by Citizens, NBC10 and Telemundo62, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, offers $35,000 in unrestricted funding, as well as promotional and volunteer support in recognition of the organization’s outstanding work. 

NBC10 anchor/reporter Stephania Jimenez surprised local nonprofit Steppingstone Scholars live on NBC10 News to let them know they're a Champion in Action.

Steppingstone Scholars actively combats systemic racial and socioeconomic inequality in the City of Philadelphia. The educational social mobility organization offers long-term support for students ages 10-24 years old through its multi-faceted approach. On top of offering continuing academic guidance for each student’s journey, Steppingstone Scholars launched its Scholar Advocacy Program, which enables alumni to mentor current scholars and Steppingstone leadership to work with partner schools to understand problems their scholars may be facing. Furthermore, Steppingstone Scholars implemented an Anti-Institutional Racism Committee to shift the burden of discrimination and create pathways for students’ equality and humanity to be acknowledged and served by the schools and organizations they are involved with. 

“NBC10 and Telemundo62 are pleased to recognize Steppingstone Scholars as a Champion in Action for social equity and inclusion,” said Ric Harris, President and General Manager of NBC10 and Telemundo62. “Through strategic partnerships, the organization is building pipelines from our public schools to jobs in Philadelphia’s growing STEM careers. We are honored to be a part of their journey.”

Champions in Action is part of Citizens Helping Citizens, the bank’s initiative designed to help local communities prosper. It provides support for nonprofit organizations to recognize their contributions to communities throughout the greater Philadelphia region.

“Steppingstone Scholars and their pursuit to elevate underserved youth through education and workforce development makes them a highly deserving Champion in Action,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, President, Citizens, Mid-Atlantic Region. “This funding will help Steppingstone continue their efforts of increasing the college completion rate, lowering the average cost of college, and embedding college and career placement services in more public high schools.” 

“Steppingstones Scholars has big goals, and the Philadelphia Inquirer is proud to help reach them,” said Jenice Armstrong, columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. “They are doing great things for the talented youth of Philadelphia.”

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The Champions in Action program has awarded over $9.9 million in charitable contributions and promotional support to more than 350 nonprofits since 2002. To honor Steppingstone Scholars as a Champion in Action, the nonprofit will receive tailored local promotion, publicity, and volunteer support to further their impact in serving the Philadelphia community. 

"Creating real pathways to overcome systemic racial and socioeconomic inequality would not be possible without the support of organizations like Citizens, NBC10/Telemundo62 and The Philadelphia Inquirer,” said Sean E. Vereen, President of Steppingstone Scholars. “The 2021 Champion in Action® grant will help further our programmatic initiatives, creating pathways to college and the workforce for talented, underserved students in Philadelphia.  There is much work to be done to combat the inequalities that have held all of us as Philadelphians back for decades, and we are working tirelessly to invest in our children who will use their talents to make the city more equitable and prosperous."

For more information about the Champions in Action program, visit www.citizensbank.com/community/champions-in-action.aspx

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