Youth & Education
Fostering Media Connections
The Los Angeles-headquartered nonprofit news organization seeks to reform the child welfare system through solution-oriented journalism.
First Star was established in 1999 by media executive Peter Samuelson and attorney Sherry Quirk with a goal of improving the lives of children affected by abuse and neglect. Today, First Star partners with universities and child welfare agencies to build long-term, institutionally backed investments in the lives of foster youth.
First Star operates academies at 11 university campuses — including Arizona State University, the University of Miami, and UCLA (where the First Star Academy Program was piloted) — constituting the United States' most comprehensive long-term college readiness program for high school foster youth. Students participate in immersive summer residential programs and monthly programs on the university campuses, and are supported by a team of both professional staff and former program participants serving as college mentors. The academies currently provide approximately 350 students and their families with holistic, long-term educational case-management to help sustain the progress that youth make in their university immersion sessions. In 2022, 97 percent of students who completed the four-year program have graduated from high school (compared with 50 percent of foster youth nationwide), and 91 percent of First Star students have enrolled in higher education.
General Operating Support