About: Success Stories

Measureable and Meaningful Outcomes

College and Graduate Stats and News

A typical Challenge scholar graduating from high school is awarded 90% of college tuition in scholarships and financial aid — impressive, considering that many colleges cost upwards of $250,000 for four years. Below is some additional information summarizing the recent achievements of Challenge scholars and the experiences of a variety of Challenge Foundation participants.

2016-2017 Snapshot:

  • 124 Challenge Foundation scholars in middle and high school
    • 63 scholars in Denver
    • 39 scholars in El Paso
    • 22 scholars in Phoenix (will grow to 48 scholars when program reaches full capacity)
  • Over 90% scholar retention rate
  • 46 Challenge Foundation scholars attending college
  • 31 college graduates

In the past five years, Challenge Scholars have been accepted to:

American University                  Ave Maria University                       Benedictine University                     Boston College                       Brown University             Creighton University
Cedar Crest College
Coe College
College of St. Benedict
Colorado College
Colorado School of Mines
Colorado State University
Creighton University
DePauw University
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.
Gonzaga University           Guilford College
Hollins University
Howard University
Lake Forest University
Louisiana State University
Loyola University
Loyola Marymount University
Macalester College                   Mills College
Mount Holyoke
Mount St. Mary’s


Notre Dame of Maryland
Providence College                                 Regis University
Russell Sage College
St. Catherine University                             St. Louis University
St. Mary’s College of California
Santa Clara University
Seattle University
Spelman College
Sweet Briar College
University of British Columbia
University of Colorado
University of Denver                         University of Missouri
University of Northern Colorado   University of Notre Dame
University of Pennsylvania
University of Puget Sound
University of San Francisco
University of Southern California   University of Wyoming
Wabash College                                 Whittier College
Willamette University
Wilson University
Xavier University



Where are our graduates today?

Our goal is to create lasting change for our alumni and to break the cycle of poverty by opening doors of opportunity through education. We are incredibly proud of our alumni and their accomplishments, and are thrilled to see them pursuing their dreams. Here are just a few examples of career fields or companies where our graduates are currently employed:

  • Consulting with Deloitte
  • Finishing residency after receiving Doctor of Physical Therapy degree
  • Public Relations with a Denver-based firm
  • Practicing Law, representing underserved populations
  • Working for NBC Universal
  • Pursuing a Master’s degree in Biology while applying to medical school
  • Recruiting students for a college admission office
  • Working in Colorado’s public defender’s office
  • Hotel Management
  • AmeriCorps volunteer and working at CityWild
  • Working for Rocky Mountain PBS
  • Education, teaching at-risk youth

“Attending St. Mary’s has helped me become the person I am today, and I am so thankful to the Challenge Foundation for supporting my growth as a young woman. Being in the Challenge Foundation has provided me with the support, encouragement, and help that I’ve needed throughout middle school and now high school. Thank you so much for caring about my education, and for providing me with the tools and knowledge I need for a successful future.”

–CF St. Mary's Academy student

“The Challenge Foundation provides its students with the opportunity to engage in an environment of culture, giving, and intellect. Thanks to this particular kind of environment, there also exists a two-way road; one that allows its students to both give and receive. The Challenge Foundation has given me the tools to thrive and grow as a student, leader, and individual.”

–CF Colorado Academy Student

“Compare me to a baby bird who doesn’t know how to fly, and then compare the Challenge Foundation to my mom who teaches me to fly. The Challenge Foundation taught me that I have more potential than I thought I had, and is guiding me onto a path that I know I will not regret. Don McFall gave me the opportunity to fly, take new risks, and see the world from a different place. At St. Anne’s I was able to meet new people, learn new things, and appreciate the world more. The Challenge Foundation taught me that to fly I need knowledge, love for the world, and willingness. In 4th grade my teacher told me that I had to take a test and had to try my best on it. I went in and took this test not knowing that it would lead me into a different path than most of my public school friends. Then in 5th grade I received an acceptance letter from the Challenge Foundation informing me that I had been awarded a scholarship to go to a private school. As Robert Frost said in his poem “The Road not Taken”: “Two roads diverge in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” This quote would describe me, a girl that took a different road and is now enjoying the walk.”

–CF St. Anne's student

“I have been involved with the Challenge Foundation for almost ten years as a donor, board member and mentor.  I believe in this foundation because it is the only program of its kind that surrounds the student with the necessary support (a world class education, on site case managers, mentors, a summer program in middle school, tutors, and more) to ensure that the student’s success throughout their elementary, secondary, college education and beyond. The child who is accepted into the Challenge Foundation is changed forever and will give back to not only their own families, but the communities in which they live.  It is a program that breaks the cycle of poverty, one child at a time, and we as a society, reap the benefits.”

–CF Board Member

“I realize that is has been a privilege and an honor to be part of the Challenge Foundation. I remember when I was in the sixth grade, I was a very shy little boy who was afraid to express my feelings and explore my world as a whole. Over time, I have grown into a proud, well-accomplished person with your help.”

–CF Colorado Academy student

“The Challenge Foundation has opened many doors and given me an infinite number of opportunities that today have made me a better individual. My passion for education and helping others has never been greater. It is foundations like this that truly motivate future generations to accomplish their goals and live out their dreams.”

–CF Alumna

“I find mentoring not only rewarding but fun. I am so lucky to be a mentor to a kid who is absolutely brilliant. She is just so smart and capable and a ton of fun to hang out with. She understands what an amazing opportunity she has and she truly appreciates it. I have found the program to be so fulfilling through my relationship with my mentee, but also with the group of people that make The Challenge Foundation possible.”


“I am so grateful to be in my third year of mentoring with the Challenge Foundation.  The positive attitudes, dedicated and consistent drive and compassionate personalities of the CF scholars and staff are remarkable examples of how we should all conduct ourselves.  To be a small part of the integral CF program that will assist these fantastic young people in achieving their potential is a true blessing.”


“At its heart, my mentoring relationship is a way of providing pleasurable enrichment experiences for a young person who would not otherwise be exposed to such things. Through the shared involvement over time, a simple friendship has evolved. We enjoy one another’s company while going to plays and movies, cooking together, taking classes, and visiting museums. I hope to broaden her horizons now, act as a sounding board as she matures, and be a reliable, trusted presence in her life. She helps keep me connected to the younger generation through our conversations and activities. I am forced to scan the Denver cultural scene to unearth activities that we both could enjoy, – things which I ordinarily wouldn’t do. We each benefit from our friendship and our outings.”


“Mentoring takes work, creativity and dedication that teaches you that giving to another is the best gift you can give to yourself.”


“Other than raising my own children, I find mentoring through the Challenge Foundation to be the most rewarding experience of my life.”


“Mentoring Connie over the past 7 years has been a joy.  It has been wonderful watching her grow from a shy little girl to a confident young woman.  Now that my mentoring experience is coming to an end, I can only hope it was as enriching an experience for Connie as it was for me.”


“When I first met my 10-year-old, wide-eyed, spunky mentee at The Tattered Cover over seven years ago, I had no idea how much my life would change and be enriched by her family and her. It seemed like an innocent enough journey to support a talented student through the twisted path of middle and high school. What it has turned into is a deep relationship with a girl and her family that are very different from me. We have trounced in the mountain snow, gone to too many movies to count, dressed up for “Wicked” at the Buell, traveled to New York City for her to accept an award at Carnegie Hall, attended performances at Su Teatro, participated in charity events and gone on annual treks to The Tattered Cover to purchase just the right book for winter break reading. I have attended every parent-teacher conference in the seven years; not because it was my duty but because it was a privilege to celebrate one young woman’s travels through adolescence and learning. We are nearing the end of her high school career. She just submitted all of her applications to colleges and is working on her scholarship requests. At ten years old she turned to me and asked, “How long do you think we’ll know each other?” I responded, naively but optimistically, that I suspected our relationship would be for our lives. I’m so thankful that’s the case.”


“I have volunteered in my community in many capacities through the years and I can honestly say that no volunteer commitment has been as meaningful as mentoring with the Challenge Foundation. It is an opportunity to really impact a life. Through the steady growth of a relationship over seven years, we are truly friends. From a quiet middle schooler, my mentee has blossomed into a confident, smart, capable young lady who makes great choices and balances the considerable demands on her time with ease. Not only is her life changed, but those in her family are so proud of her accomplishments – she has set a new standard that will change the lives of others in her community. Mentoring is a rewarding and fun way to give back.  Our whole family has enjoyed getting to know my mentee, and I feel truly welcome in her home. Mentoring is a great way to expand my world and make friends with people whose paths I might not normally cross, but who make my life much richer.”