Founded in 2020, The School and Beyond Foundation is a 501(C)(3) public charity based on the premise that each individual student has extraordinary potential that needs to be deliberately nurtured. Our educational system, however, has failed to prioritize the deliberate development of each student, especially those in Black communities. Earlier Ed Trust reports state that hundreds of thousands of students of color and students from low-income backgrounds are missing out on advanced coursework opportunities that would challenge and engage them and prepare them for college. What’s more, many of our Black youth are enrolled in schools that specifically limit access to advanced mathematics.
With technology becoming increasingly important in everyday life and STEM and financial education being a path to some of the most lucrative careers, all students should have access to STEM education. Through educational lessons in computer science, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness, combined with mentorship, speaker events, and scholarships, The School and Beyond Foundation aims to change the educational and career trajectories of Black students across the United States and Africa.
Only 7% of STEM bachelor’s degree earners are Black, and
9% of African-Americans work in STEM fields (Pew Research).
In finance, Black individuals account for 13% of all staff and are the sector’s biggest ethnic minority. In the most senior jobs the numbers are staggeringly worse at 2.62% for finance (Financial Times).
What We Do
Our program, SB Scholars Program, currently serves high school juniors and seniors in the United States as well as university students in Ghana. We expose SB Scholars to important academic topics, help them to reflect on their interests and what matters to them, and then provide them with tools and resources such as mentorship and scholarships to help them achieve their aspirations.
Our goal is to run recurring programs across the United States and Africa to help increase the number of Black university graduates and specifically the number of Black students that study and pursue careers in STEM, finance, and entrepreneurship.
Values and Principles
We provide introductory lessons in computer science, financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and health and wellness and further expose SB Scholars to a variety of subjects through our Speaker Series. After participating in these sessions, our scholars complete an assessment designed to help them self-reflect and articulate a life path that is personally and professionally meaningful to them. Based on their interests and goals, our scholars are paired with mentors who provide academic and career guidance. SB Scholars can also apply for School and Beyond Scholarships as well as receive support with applying to external scholarships.
Charles Odei (Harvard MBA ’24, Toigo ’24, MLT MBA Prep ’22, Santa Clara University ’18) is the founder and executive director of The School and Beyond Foundation (S&B). Charles is an investor and entrepreneur and is also dedicated to creating change through education. Charles is a first-generation Ghanaian-American and started S&B to help black students in the United States and Ghana identify and execute their short-term goals and long-term vision. Charles strongly believes that education should focus on holistic student development and has designed S&B to include practical courses, tailored mentorship, speaking engagements, student self-assessments, and scholarships. To best support all of S&B’s students, Charles has led S&B to recruit diverse professionals to be mentors, panelists, and educators, which has contributed to the success of S&B’s holistic offerings. Charles has also personally financed scholarships for students monetary support. Inspired by the values of his parents, Charles created an S&B Scholarship that provides five Ghanaian university students with a monetary award and a US-based mentor. Further motivated by the accomplishments of his two sisters who are in medicine and software engineering, he developed two additional scholarships for African-American women in high school who have demonstrated interest and achievement in STEM fields. His vision for sustainable funding and impact is to partner with institutional donors. Charles has experienced personal value in a similar model created by Mr. Russell Wight by participating as an eighth-grader in his family-funded youth enrichment organization, which changed his educational and life trajectory. Charles sees a big opportunity to have a similar positive impact and views S&B as a means to creating lasting and meaningful educational and societal change.
Inaugural Intern Class