The RFF Spark Initiative is the Foundation’s biggest and boldest project to date. To date, the RFF Spark Initiative has invested $1 million on bold and promising efforts to ignite civic engagement among community college students.

We believe that, if we want to expand opportunity, grow our economy and strengthen our communities, we cannot afford to ignore the potential of the nation’s nearly eight million community college students as advocates for change.

  • Students at community colleges are America’s future; they are diverse, hopeful and motivated. Today, almost half of America’s undergraduates are studying in community colleges to get the skills they need to achieve their dreams and support themselves and their families.
  • Community college students are young, with a median age of 23. Close to 60% of community college students are women, and nearly half are the first in their families to go to college. They are also more likely to stay in their communities post college.
  • The 1,200 community college systems are the largest and fastest growing part of the nation’s higher education system.
  • More and more Americans, including low-income students and students of color, are entering postsecondary education through community colleges. Of recent 4-year graduates, fully one in two went through a two-year institution.

Engaging community college students is critical to achieving real and lasting progress in our communities—and on issues such as immigration reform, economic growth and education equity. By empowering community college students to solve challenges and change policies that affect their lives, our partner grantees are shaping lifelong leaders who are transforming our communities — and our nation.