81% of Our Scholars Graduate Compared to the 4% National Average of Their Peers
At The nsoro Educational Foundation, we believe no young person aging out of the foster care system should have to navigate the world alone. nsoro offers educational opportunities, a community of support, and most importantly, hope to some of this generation’s most impressive young adults.
And that education can, has, and will continue to change the conversation, and alter the “predictable” path, and, in the process, redefine these youth by their resiliency, drive, and most importantly, a future full of possibilities.Sponsor a Scholar Mission in Motion
Rewrote the Narrative
nsoro scholars are responsible, young adults. They have not abused drugs, alcohol, and have not been incarcerated, severing the cyclical outcomes inheren to this vulnerable population.
Compared to the national 4% college graduation rate of former foster youth.
nsoro currently supports 302 scholars across 32 states attending 191 colleges and universities.
Our Mission and Vision
Founded in 2005, The nsoro Educational Foundation believes not one young person aging out of our nation’s foster case system should have to navigate the world alone.
Our mission provides the access to and attainment of post secondary education through a holistic scholarship that shepherds our youth to and through college, optimally positioning our graduates for an equitable transition into adulthood.
Our collegians are able to direct their $12,000 gap funding scholarship toward tuition, housing, books, fees, and food security over their course of their academic journey, at all levels of education – Associate, Bachelor’s, Masters, and Technical degrees, through age 26.
The nsoro Scholarship includes a comprehensive mentor program anchored in three tenets – emotional intelligence, financial literacy, and workforce readiness. The scholar’s certified executive coach remains in place throughout their college career.
Meet the Board
Chairman and FounderDarrell J. Mays is the Chief Executive Officer & Managing Partner of Navigation Capital Partners. He is a highly respected investments and telecommunications executive and, through an expertise developed over more than two decades, has emerged as a leader in investing in the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industry.
Navigation Capital Partners Fund III is a lift-out fund started by Darrell and his long-time colleague, Larry Mock. Fund III focuses exclusively on attractive, profitable middle market companies with high growth propensity and synergy from add-on acquisitions.
Darrell also serves as CEO & Executive Chairman of AVCtechnologies, a company he co-founded. AVC is a leading cloud communications provider that develops innovative and manageable cloud-based UCaaS, Cybersecurity and IT solutions for enterprise customers. Prior to AVC, Darrell founded nsoro, LLC, a provider of turnkey telecommunications infrastructure services. He oversaw rapid growth as CEO, with revenues reaching approximately $70M in under five years. In 2008, nsoro was acquired by MasTec, Inc., with Darrell appointed as President. By 2016, his final year with MasTec, revenues increased to over $2.3B.
In 2005, Darrell founded the nsoro Foundation, which provides resources to young adults aged out of the foster care system to pursue a postsecondary education. To date, nsoro has raised more than $4.4M in scholarships for 346 students. In 2019, the foundation was named Foundation of the Year by Rising in Community Excellence (RICE), a group that honors individuals and organizations that work to improve lives throughout Atlanta.
Darrell holds a BA in Business Administration from Georgia State University.
Dr. Steven D. Smith
Dr. Steven D. Smith
Sports Analyst | NBA TV
Steve attended Pershing High School in Detroit and then Michigan State University from 1987-1991, where he became a First Team All American basketball player, and the Spartans’ all-time leading scorer, with 2,263 points. Steve was selected in the first round of the NBA draft by the Miami Heat 1991 and played for 14 seasons until announcing his retirement in 2005. Steve was a member of the gold medal winning Dream Team II during the 1994 FIBA Word Championships in Toronto, and was honored to represent his country in 2000 playing for the gold medal winning U.S. Olympic Basketball team in Sydney, Australia.
Throughout his career Steve has carried with him a strong commitment to his community, which was instilled in him by his mother and father. In 1997, Steve gave the largest single donation ever made by a professional athlete to an alma mater to construct the Clara Bell Smith Student-Athlete Academic Center, in honor of his late mother who died of cancer during Steve’s rookie NBA season. A portion of the donation also funds The Steve Smith/Pershing High/MSU Scholarship for Academic Achievement which provides high-achieving students from Detroit Pershing High School the opportunity to attend Michigan State University. In 2009, Steve earned the Dick Enberg award, which recognized him for his commitment to promoting the values of education and academics to student-athletes.
During the 1997-1998 NBA season, Steve received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, and was later awarded the Joe Dumars Sportsmanship Award in 2002. His goodwill and compassion for others placed Steve in an elite group of athletes when he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame in 2006. Steve earned the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s humanitarian award in 2015 as a recipient of the Mannie Jackson — Basketball’s Human Spirit Award.
Now a game and studio analyst for NBA TV and the Big Ten Network, Steve serves as a Trustee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as well as serving as a Board Member to the Atlanta Tipoff Club and the Hughes Spalding – Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Community Board. Approximately $1,000,000 has been raised to help support the Steve Smith Charitable Fund, Michigan State University, and local charities in the following Michigan cities: Detroit, Lansing, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, as well as in Atlanta, Georgia.
Juanita Powell Baranco
Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer
Baranco Automotive Group
Juanita Powell Baranco had a successful law career, serving as Assistant Attorney General for Georgia, before turning her attention to the private sector. She is the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Baranco Automotive Group, which she co-founded with her husband, Gregory Baranco, in 1978. It was one of the first African-American-owned car dealerships in metropolitan Atlanta. That effort led the Barancos to own several other car dealerships, including Mercedes-Benz and Acura, with annual sales reaching $100 million.
Her extensive involvement in education has led her to serve as the Chairman of the DeKalb County Education Task Force and as a member of the Georgia State Board of Education from 1985 to 1991. She was appointed by Governor Zell Miller to the Board of Regents and in 1995 became the first African-American woman to chair the board. She served on the Board of Trustees of Clark Atlanta University for twenty years, including ten years as board chair. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Southern Company and previously served on the Board of Directors of Georgia Power Company.
Mrs. Baranco’s business and community activities have allowed her numerous awards, among them are: Entrepreneurial Excellence by the Dow Jones Company; the first Trumpet Award from Turner Broadcasting System for entrepreneurial excellence; Entrepreneur of the Year by the Atlanta Business League; the DECCA award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award; and the Atlanta History Center’s Defining Women in Atlanta Award. Mrs. Baranco's term commences September 1, 2023.
Vista Equity Partners, LLC
Vince Burkett joined Vista Equity Partners in 2011 and is currently a member of Vista Equity Partners Perennial, the firm’s permanent capital investment fund. Mr. Burkett is a member of Vista’s Private Equity Management Committee, the firm’s governing and decision-making body for managing Vista’s private equity platform. Mr. Burkett sits on the Vista Perennial Fund Investment Committee and the Board of Accelya. He was previously on Autotask and Misys (now Finastra) boards and was involved in the firm’s prior investments in Bullhorn and Mitratech. Before joining Vista, Mr. Burkett was the Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ventyx.
Vince and his wife Sally are champions for youth aging out of foster care. In 2019, Vince established the “Burkett Legacy Scholarship” to remove the financial barriers to post-secondary credentials and self-sufficiency for nsoro’s collegians nationwide. Passionate about education, The Burkett’s have bolstered Texas Christian University’s annual “TCU Gives Day” with challenge grants. They are supportive of many Texas-based nonprofits including Child Advocates and Angels of Hope. Mr. Burkett’s term commences on April 1, 2023.
Born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Lindsey is the proud daughter of retired technologists, who encouraged exploration of the arts and sciences. It is through the daily observation of her mother (who holds an undergraduate degree in early childhood education, and a Master of Business Administration degree from a top engineering school), that Lindsey identified a desire to merge what seemed to be disparate interests. In this vein, she created a future vision of herself leading change in the classroom, through the employ of technological advances in a non-disruptive manner.
Lindsey has held sales and leadership positions throughout her career, with Clear Channel Communication, Johnson & Johnson, and IBM. It is from her engagements spanning the public sector at IBM that Lindsey began to study and understand the business of Education; reigniting her childhood dreams of helping students with technology, ensuring their learning styles were honored and skilling progressed.
It was not until her return to the Atlanta area in 2010 that Lindsey was recruited by Microsoft, to lead K12 sales strategy within the State of Georgia. Lindsey quickly moved into the management of strategic alliances for the Eastern Region of the United States, and then to the leadership of Microsoft’s Small and Medium Education Business Unit. It is through these experiences that Lindsey has been able to strengthen her ability to develop large scale strategies for needs abatement- a skill she employs daily in her role as the leader of the Partner and Channel Ecosystem sales strategy for Microsoft’s US Education Practice. With responsibilities for a book of business worth more than $1B, Lindsey guides her team in the development of strategies and sustainable business practices for the largest partners with whom Microsoft teams. Ultimately, her success is defined by Microsoft’s mission to empowering every person on the planet to do more, with a pivot towards a student’s ability in our national education system.
Lindsey holds a Bachelor of Science in Multinational Business degree from The Florida State University. She earned her Master of Business Administration in Management of Technology from The Georgia Institute of Technology, and a Certificate in Global Leadership from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. In her personal time, Lindsey focuses on causes close to her heart, inclusive of the mentoring and tutoring of elementary school aged children to increase literacy within disenfranchised communities (Tutormate), volunteering at local Atlanta animal rescue shelters, traveling, cake decorating, theological study, and spending time with her family.
Townsend & Lockett, LLC
General Counsel, The nsoro Educational Foundation
Chris Gilmore is an experienced corporate attorney practicing with Townsend & Lockett, LLC in midtown Atlanta, where he serves as Partner and Chair of the firm's Private Equity and Venture Capital practice. Mr. Gilmore's practice focuses on corporate and financial transactions across a variety of industries, including debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance, and fund and complex transaction structuring.
Outside of his day job, Mr. Gilmore serves as Managing Director and General Counsel for New Legacy Ventures, LLC, a real estate investment fund. In addition to his passion for helping clients and personal business ventures, Mr. Gilmore has a passion for giving back to his community. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Quest Communities and previously served as Vice Chair of the City of Atlanta's Governing Board of the Office of the Inspector General and as a member of Citizen Trust Bank's Next Generation Advisory Board. Mr. Gilmore is a past President of the Emerging 100 of Atlanta, the young professional auxiliary of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc., and an active member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.
Mr. Gilmore is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and a Minor in Accounting from North Carolina State University and a Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University Law School.
Consumer and Wealth Management
Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC
Carl joined Goldman Sachs in 2005 as a Vice President in the Investment Management Division. Before joining the firm, Carl served as a Vice President of Investment Management at Wachovia Bank, where he was responsible for a portfolio of client relationships. During his time at Wachovia, Carl worked in several capacities in Corporate and Investment Banking as well as Commercial Banking. Carl received a Bachelor of Economics degree from the College of William and Mary in 1988. He worked for four years as a retail branch manager before earning his MBA from The University of Virginia. Carl serves on the Atlanta Advisory Board of The Posse Foundation.