Summer Search

Linda Mornell, an adolescent counselor in private practice, founded Summer Search in 1990 when she sent fourteen low-income students on summer experiential education programs. Since that summer, the program has evolved to include year-round mentoring, college advising, and post-secondary support.

Summer Search’s comprehensive, long-term approach has helped our students achieve impressive results over the last 20 years: Over ninety-nine percent of Summer Search students have graduated from high school compared to only sixty-one percent of their low-income peers. Ninety-three percent have gone on to college compared to only thirty-three percent of their peers.  Of that group, eighty-nine percent have completed college or remain enrolled and are on track to do so compared to only twenty-one percent of their peers. They are attending schools including UC Berkeley, UCLA, Mount Holyoke, Macalester, San Jose State, Smith, Columbia, Cornell, and Yale.

By investing in students holistically and over the long-term, Summer Search aims to help our students navigate the risks of poverty and become positive leaders and engaged citizens who give back to their communities.

summer search san francisco: founded 1990

Linda Mornell, an adolescent therapist, originally founded Summer Search in 1990 in the San Francisco Bay Area with 14 students. In 1995 Katherine Kennedy joined Linda and began learning the unique mentoring methods based on self-examination and accountability. Together Katherine and Linda grew the program to serve 150 students annually, and in 1999, Katherine assumed the Executive Director position, expanding the program to include college counseling and bring on new talent to increase and diversify the staff. Today, San Francisco is the pilot site for new initiatives at Summer Search such as collaborating strategically with our North Bay and Silicon Valley offices to best serve our students and alumni across the Bay Area.

summer search boston: founded 1996

Jay Jacobs and Fredericka Stevenson, founding board chair, established Summer Search Boston in 1996 as the first replication of the dynamic program founded in 1990 by Linda Mornell in San Francisco. Since 2005, Summer Search Boston has nearly tripled in size to serve 350 students in 2010. Under the leadership of Executive Director Debbie Krause and Board Chair Mark Smith, Summer Search Boston is continuing its growth to serve over 400 students by 2012, while targeting the students throughout the city with the highest level of need. Today Summer Search Boston is the largest of seven local program sites across the country, each growing to maximize its capacity.

summer search north bay: founded 1998

Summer Search North San Francisco Bay was initiated in 1998 under the leadership of Vallejo High School teachers Joan McDonald, Helen Warlaw and Secondo Sarpieri, thanks to a $100,000 grant from the MacDonnell Foundation, who wanted to bring this resource to the expanding yet rural and underserved Latino population. Former Executive Director Jessica Vibberts and current director Kait Schroeder have been instrumental in spearheading innovative programming and initiatives that are adopted by the other sites.

summer search new york city: founded 2003

Summer Search New York City was founded in 2003 by Eden Werring, the former Executive Director of the North San Francisco Bay office and Stacey Thompson, an alumna of the San Francisco office and currently the National Director of Talent and Training. Today, under the leadership of Executive Director, Karina Kirsch the New York City office has undertaken a major program expansion to triple the number of students served throughout New York City.

summer search seattle: founded 2003

Summer Search Seattle opened in September of 2003 under the leadership of former Executive Director, Mia Ellis, and former Board Chair, Cecile Delafield. Today, the Seattle office has a staff of eleven and a local advisory board of twenty-three under Executive Director Deidre McCormack Martin. Students come from the Highline, Renton, Seattle and Tukwila School Districts, and we are in the first year of growth toward serving more than 250 high school students by 2017.

summer search silicon valley: founded 2005

Summer Search Silicon Valley launched in September 2005 under the leadership of founding Executive Director, Kamba Tshionyi, and Board Chair, Ken Olivier with Magdalena Paul from the Barrett Foundation as founding board member. With the continued support of our funding partners and referring schools, we now serve 136 students from 17 East Bay, Peninsula and San Jose schools. Additionally, we support 81 students in several colleges and universities within and outside California. Under the leadership of our Executive Director, Carlin Johnson Politzer, we hope to serve more nearly 400 students annually by 2017.

summer search philadelphia: founded 2008

Summer Search Philadelphia is the newest of seven sites around the country. In 2005, the School District of Philadelphia approached our national office and sought to replicate Summer Search's long-standing national model in Philadelphia. By 2006, Summer Search Philadelphia was established and in operation. In 2009, 100% of the students in that pilot-year cohort graduated high school and are currently enrolled in college.


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