Beyond 12 to Join Former First Lady Michelle Obama, YouTube, to Celebrate Class of 2020

June 5, 2020
Posted in Announcement
June 5, 2020 Beyond 12


Announced as part of Dear Class of 2020 Fund, Beyond 12 will receive over $1 million in funding from, YouTube, and Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative to expand virtual coaching platform

Oakland, CA (June 5, 2020) –– Beyond 12 is honored to join YouTube Originals and former First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrate the class of 2020 on Sunday, June 7th. As in-person commencement events have been cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” is a virtual commencement celebration that will bring together global leaders, celebrities, creators and other voices to honor graduates, families, and their communities.

As part of the celebration, YouTube is partnering with and Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher initiative to create a new fund that provides support to thousands of underrepresented & at risk youth through Beyond 12 and Scholarship America. Course Hero, Box Tops for Education, McDonald’s and Strada Education Network have donated to the “Dear Class of 2020” fund. Beyond 12 will receive a $1 million+ investment from this fund to expand its virtual coaching platform to serve thousands more students to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic does not derail their college and career plans. The fund is still open, and corporations and foundations can reach out to Tides at [email protected] to get involved.

“No college student should be left to navigate these challenging times alone — and thanks to the incredible support of, hundreds of thousands of students won’t have to,” said Alexandra Bernadotte, Founder and CEO of Beyond 12. “As a first-generation college graduate myself, I can’t imagine how I would have stayed the course during a global pandemic that is disproportionately impacting members of my family and my community. That’s why we are thrilled to receive over $1 million in new funding to expand our personalized virtual coaching platform to provide even more students with the support they need – ensuring the coronavirus pandemic does not derail their graduation plans. Our message to the millions of first-generation students from the class of 2020 who are heading to college is, ‘you’ve got this, and we’ve got you.’”

Students on the Beyond 12 platform rely on their college and university for so much more than lectures. For many students, their college campus is their primary source of security; providing food, housing, health care, employment, and safety. To support students during this crisis, Beyond 12 launched the COVID-19 Virtual Coaching Corps to reach 20,000+ additional students. Beyond 12 also created a COVID-19 student relief fund to give micro-grants to students dealing with the unexpected financial challenges associated with the shift to virtual learning and campus closures: flights home; food/groceries; temporary housing; storage for belongings; technology equipment, including laptops and portable wi-fi hotspots.

“This year, graduation season comes at a time of increasing despair and uncertainty in our world,” added Bernadotte. “Our students and families are facing the compounding impact of two pandemics — the coronavirus and systemic oppression. But our students give me so much hope: every time they have faced a challenge, they have knocked it down and courageously taken on the next one — with the support of their village — to make it to graduation day. I wish our students could celebrate the magic of this moment in person — they deserve that and so much more. But I am so proud that Beyond 12 will join former First Lady Michelle Obama, YouTube,, and many others to publicly celebrate their achievements and perseverance.”

“Dear Class of 2020” can be streamed on the YouTube Originals channel and the [email protected] site on Sunday, June 7 at 12pm PT / 3pm ET.

To learn more about how Beyond 12 is supporting the class of 2020, visit

About Beyond 12

Beyond 12 is a high-tech, high-touch coaching platform that helps high schools, college access programs, and colleges provide their students with the academic, social, and emotional support they need to succeed in higher education. Founded by Alexandra Bernadotte in 2009, Beyond 12 works to dramatically increase the number of historically under-represented students who graduate from college. For more information about Beyond 12, visit

About, Google’s philanthropy, supports nonprofits that address humanitarian issues worldwide and apply radical, data-driven innovation to solving the world’s biggest challenges. We accelerate their progress by connecting them with a unique blend of support that includes funding, products, and technical expertise from Google volunteers. We engage with these believers-turned-doers who make a significant impact on the communities they represent, and whose work has the potential to produce meaningful change that can scale. We want a world that works for everyone—and we believe technology and innovation can move the needle in four key areas: education, economic opportunity, inclusion and crisis response.

About Reach Higher

Reach Higher, started by former First Lady Michelle Obama during her time at the White House, works to inspire every student in the U.S. to take charge of their future by completing their education past high school, whether at a professional training program, a community college, a four-year college or university, or in the military. Reach Higher continues to help underrepresented students navigate the college-going process by raising awareness about helpful tools and resources; meeting students where they are and tailoring technical assistance to meet their unique needs; and building the capacity of the school counseling profession. The Reach Higher Initiative now lives at The Common Application, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to access, equity, and integrity in the college admission process. For additional information about Reach Higher and the Common App, visit and

About YouTube Originals

YouTube Originals are award-winning, creative and engaging scripted and unscripted series and film across music, personalities and learning for fans all over the world. Spotlighting both YouTube creators alongside Hollywood’s biggest stars, YouTube Originals provide an experience that only YouTube can offer. By tapping into the platform’s growing global community, fan engagement product capabilities, and innovative content mixed with pioneering live-streamed specials, there is truly something for everybody. Fans experience YouTube Original content through ad-supported YouTube as well as YouTube Premium, a subscription service that offers access to YouTube Original series and movies, a streaming music platform, and an uninterrupted, ad-free experience across all of YouTube. YouTube Originals are available in nearly 80 countries worldwide.