If you give a person a fish, you feed him for a day. If you help her learn to fish, you feed her for a lifetime, and her family also. If you enable him to become a fisheries manager, the whole community benefits. And if she acquires the capability to make original contributions to the sustainability of protein sources, future generations benefit.

           – Jim MacGinnitie, Former Chairman of the Reach for Excellence Board of Directors

Jim and Barbara MacGinnitie have been passionate supporters of Reach for Excellence for more than a decade. Their involvement has deepened through the years, and Jim has served as chairman of the Reach for Excellence Board of Directors for more than five years.

The Reach for Excellence mission aligns with Jim and Barbara’s personal values, including “a well-rounded education and the duty to give back to the community that has made one’s success possible.”

Jim and Barbara are inspired by the program’s far-reaching positive effects and emphasis on service. “We have continued (to support Reach for Excellence) because we think it is making a real difference in the lives of the students, increasing their chances for success and accomplishment for the rest of their own lives, and giving them the prospect of having a very positive impact on the lives of others,” said Jim. “And Reach for Excellence emphasizes the duty to give back, as witnessed by the many graduates who return to volunteer.”

When asked what he and Barbara wanted other potential donors to know about Reach for Excellence, Jim replied, “we wish every one of them understood the great impact the program has on students’ lives, the very high success rate, and the amazingly low cost of the program.”


Reach for Excellence Graduate interns and volunteers!

Mary Alemseghed, Cohort 2012 J, Marist ‘2016, and Georgia State University Class of 2020 has been helping Reach for Excellence during the Saturday and summer programs. Mary works with the teachers, helps in the offices, and mentors current Reach scholars. To ensure that scholars enjoy pool time during the summer, Mary has earned her Red Cross Life Guard certificate!

Samrawit Tesfaye, Cohort 2014 L has the distinction of being a member of the first graduating class of Cristo Rey Atlanta Jesuit High School, the Class of 2018! Even with Cristo Rey’s busy schedule, Sam was a regular Saturday volunteer, helping teachers and scholars. As a member of the Class of 2022 at Georgia State University, Sam continues giving back to Reach for Excellence, ready to help on Saturdays.

Melany Mendez, Cohort 2015 M is a senior at Wesleyan School, Class of 2019, set to pursue her goal of earning a nursing degree. Between college applications, SAT prep classes, and her rigorous academic schedule, Melany dedicates time to volunteer on Saturdays at Reach for Excellence.


Brothers Derrick Lewis and Kandon Fears attended Reach for Excellence eight years apart. That experience came full circle on July 29, 2018 when older brother Derrick served as the guest speaker for Kandon and his peers’ graduation from Reach for Excellence. Derrick, Cohort 2010 H, Druid Hills High School ‘2014, a 2018 graduate of Morehouse College, earned a BS degree in Finance and is currently employed by Accenture. Kandon, Cohort 2018 P, has joined the Class of 2022 at DeKalb School of the Arts. Both brothers are “Committed to the Climb”!








 Reach for Excellence graduates from Cohort 2003 A through 2018 P have continued their education at a number of college preparatory institutions, colleges, and universities with a few as far away as China and Mexico!