Introducing Richmond Young Professional Board Chair, Zack Francis of Capital One

How did you learn about Higher Achievement?

Zack: I first learned about Higher Achievement through the Bonner Scholars Program when I was a student at the University of Richmond. Bonner Scholars volunteer at a local nonprofit organization for all four years of their undergraduate experience, learning the ins and outs of the agency, and committing to active citizenship in Richmond. I did not spend my time with Higher Achievement, but I did learn about the organization through friends and advisors, getting my preliminary exposure to the great work being done in Richmond.

What made you choose to volunteer at Higher Achievement?

Zack: I was a member of the Young Professionals Board for a different nonprofit in Richmond. When the organization closed its doors, I was looking for a similar opportunity to stay engaged. Driven by my passion for mentorship and remembering the conversations I’d had with colleagues, I decided to learn more about Higher Achievement. It quickly became evident that the nature of the program and its people would be a perfect fit.

How long have you been volunteering at Higher Achievement?

Zack: I joined the Young Professionals Board in December 2015. I was instantly struck by the passion fellow board members and staff had for the program, and I decided to begin mentoring at the new Binford Achievement Center for the 2016-2017 academic year.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

Zack: There are two key objectives I look forward to tackling in my new role as YP Board Chair. First, I hope to increase our fundraising and mentor recruitment operations, both by expanding the reach of our annual Field Day RVA event as well as leveraging the network we’ve created through Field Day to plan new events in the community. At the same time, I am committed to aligning the YP Board with the goals of the Richmond affiliate and National office, while identifying our strengths and weaknesses to ensure that we have the skills and types of people we need to position the board for future success.

In another 40 years, I see Higher Achievement____

Zack: Leading the charge; learning every day while growing just as quickly and effectively as the first 40 years.

Imagine a world where every child has a chance to be part of a program like Higher Achievement:

Zack: Not only would the impact on our schools be inspiring, but the lifelong skills and confidence the scholars take with them to their teenage and adult years would lead to a loving, high-performing community.

To learn more about becoming a Higher Achievement mentor, visit: