Since opening in 2002, College Track Oakland has been committed to ensuring students can connect their talent, intellectual curiosity, and work ethic to the opportunities that come from completing a four-year college education. Today, we celebrate 475 students and more than 190 alumni on the path to upward social mobility.
While Oakland has emerged in recent years as a beacon of innovation and entrepreneurship, its achievement gap has grown at a faster rate than 80% of major U.S. cities. This disparity in wealth and education hits students of color especially hard. While 70% of Caucasian residents hold a bachelor’s degree, only 34% of African-American and 17% of Latinx residents do.
The Joe K. Gardner Memorial Fund
The Joe K. Gardner Memorial Fund honors the legacy of College Track Site Director, Joe K. Gardner, and the indelible impact on College Track scholars and the people with and for whom he did this work. Contributions will support emergency funds for College Track scholars, which provide vital resources to ensure that our students remain on track to earn their bachelor’s degree, despite unexpected financial hardships. Funds will be used to cover crucial, unforeseen expenses that would otherwise pose significant roadblocks in our scholars’ ability to persist through college, including housing, food, medical, tuition, transportation, and technology.
A View Inside…
Steps from Jack London Square and the Oakland waterfront stands our three-story center, the second to open after College Track’s founding. Over the years, our students have added their own mark to the center to make it their own, most recently by painting a 20 foot mural with the words “United Together” prominently featured. This artwork represents the pride our students feel for Oakland and the value of young people from different backgrounds, neighborhoods, and high schools coming together under one roof to put in the hard work it takes to reach their college and career goals.
Who We Serve
scholars and alumni
from low-income households
matriculate to a two- or four-year college
Scholar Spotlight: Karsten, Oakland Technical High School
The beginning of high school was difficult for me. I actually had a teacher who didn’t seem to care much about me or my classmates. She had an unpleasant attitude and would sometimes lose our homework! Feeling so overlooked really harmed my grades. One day, my African American Male Achievement (AMA) teacher came to me and said, “Hey, I know you really want to go to college, and I know you can.” He told me about College Track and even wrote me a recommendation letter.
College Track was so different than what I had imagined. I was picturing something super strict and formal, but I was immediately comfortable there. I was finally given the attention and confidence to do really great work. The staff is just so amazing, and I call them “The A-Team.” I connect with them as people on such a deep level, and I always know that I’ll get thoughtful and mature advice if I come to them with a problem. I’ve never really had that before.
Right now, I think I’ll go to college in the South or on the East Coast. I’m considering majoring in either contract law or political science, not sure which yet. My family just wants me to follow my dreams. So do I.