Launch of the school-based program at English High School in 2012

In 1999, a group of first-generation graduates, among them founding Executive Director Sam Acevedo, formed the Boston Higher Education Resource Center out of a Spanish-speaking church (Congregation Lion of Judah) in Roxbury. They had seen too many brilliant young people of color in our community get lost in the high school system, go straight to work in minimum wage jobs after graduation, or go to college but quickly boomerang back before even a year had passed. This founding group—many of whom were first-generation graduates—built the organization that they wished they had as first-generation youth mapping out their futures and trying to understand life after high school.

In 2004, the Boston HERC launched its signature program—Passport to College—as an after school program for high school students to equip students with the mindset and skills needed to stick through, and thrive in, their college journey. And in 2012, the Boston HERC began bringing Passport into the classrooms of under-resourced non-exam Boston Public high schools, to reach a far greater number of students lacking access to the resources and knowledge to achieve a higher education who could not or would not attend an after school program. 

What started as a drop-in college access counseling center in a makeshift office is now a thriving organization equipping over 1,200 low-income high school students and alumni annually in 10 different BPS high schools, our Community-Based after school program, and on college campuses where our Passport Alumni persist, thrive, and succeed.  

Awards and Recognition

Boston HERC has been recognized several times for its impact in our community. The Social Innovation Forum named Boston HERC a 2020 Social Innovator. In 2019, the members of The Philanthropy Connection selected Boston HERC as an awardee. In recognition of his leadership in the community, Executive Director Sam Acevedo was also chosen to serve on the Superintendent Selection Committee in 2019.