With more than a decade of success, the Act Six initiative best illustrates the powerful results of Degrees of Change program models.

Since 2002, Act Six has selected and trained 712 scholars from seven cities in 105 cadres for 13 partner colleges.  These Act Six scholars have the following characteristics:

  • 37% Hispanic, 25% African American, 12% multiracial, 12% Caucasian, 9% Asian, 3% Pacific Islander, 2% American Indian
  • 59% female
  • 72% first generation college students
  • 71% from low-income families
  • 87% first generation or low-income


National data show that less than a third of all students from low-income families who start college ever graduate.  The data are equally discouraging for students whose parents didn’t attend college and those from most underrepresented ethnic groups.  But the statistics for Act Six scholars tell a much different story.  Among the 712 Act Six scholars who have enrolled in college:

  • 84% have graduated or are still enrolled
  • 80% of eligible scholars have graduated within six years
    (on average 11 points higher than overall grad rates at partner colleges)
  • two-thirds of graduates have returned to work or serve in their home communities
  • 31% of graduates are pursuing or have earned graduate degrees

Along the way, Act Six scholars and alumni are creating a legacy of distinguished leadership, service and academic achievement on campus and in the community:

  • 12 have served as student body presidents for their college
  • two have been named Fulbright scholars by the US State Department
  • two have earned national championships in athletics
  • dozens have served in AmeriCorps, Teach For America or Peace Corps
  • scores have traveled and studied around the world
  • two-thirds have returned to live and serve in their home communities


When you think about moments of significant positive change that have happened in your community, you can usually point to a group of connected people who made it happen. Networks of effective leaders working together get things done. The problem is that those leadership networks don’t always look like or represent the full breadth of a community, and as a result, some groups tend to get left behind. For our communities to thrive in the future, we need diverse networks of homegrown leaders who love their home and are committed to building vibrant communities where everyone thrives.

It is precisely this kind of diverse, committed leadership network that Act Six is producing.  In our second decade of Act Six, with  alumni, we are beginning to see the fruits of this fabric of leadership as alumni grow in their responsibility and deepen their connections in the community.