Degrees ofImpact 2023






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Thank you for supporting our scholars, coaches, and more at the 15th Annual Degrees of Impact Gala!

Nearly 500 people came together to celebrate our scholar’s pathways to success and future vendors of OMD. Your belief in the power of our scholars and community college helped raise over $700,000!

Blue Decorative figure of the letter m


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At this year’s gala, we watched OMD Scholar and Kennedy-King College student, Shirley, share her journey of success. Her nod to OMD in how she felt supported on her academic journey was remarkable.

I want to be part of change in systems.

I want to run for something in this city.


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Mayor Brandon Johnson Gives Opening Remarks

Thank you, One Million Degrees, on behalf of our city, for all that you have done to serve the people of Chicago. Your partnership with the City Colleges of Chicago puts tens of thousands of students on a path to success. And that’s good for our entire city.

OMD was honored to have Mayor

Brandon Johnson attend Degrees of Impact to make opening remarks.


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John Atkinson

Our Civic Leader Award recipient this year is John Atkinson of Marsh Chicago. OMD recognizes John for his leadership as a former board member and long-time supporter of OMD. We celebrate the many ways that he has helped to uplift and accelerate our work through coaching, speed networking, the Differencemakers fellowship, and his civic leadership as chair of IBHE.

The Civic Leader Award recipient believes in the mission of OMD but support the mission of OMD, and dedicate their time, energy and resources to drive greater equity in higher education. They understand the overlooked and untapped potential of community college students and work creatively to ensure OMD Scholars, and underrepresented students in general, have opportunities to build their social and professional capital and to advance their careers.


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Big thanks to our sponsors



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Your support for Chicago’s community college students is remarkable. Thank you for being a part of our growing community. If you feel inspired to join us, it’s not too late.

David Scherer

David Scherer

One Million Degrees Co-founder 

David is principal of Origin, co-chairs the Investment Committee, and oversees investment analysis, acquisition and asset management. He has more than 20 years of experience in real estate investing, finance, and asset management. In 2006, he co-founded One Million Degrees, which has raised $20 million to help low-income community college students graduate and successfully enter the workforce. David has served as the organization’s Board Chair for the past 12 years, as the organization has grown from 30 to 1,000 students served per year. He also serves as the President of the Harvard Club of Chicago and is on the Advisory Board of Invest for Kids.  

Rose Lizarraga

Rose Lizarraga

OMD CO-Founder & President & CEO, Lysa LLC

An award-winning documentary filmmaker and freelance writer, Rose’s career also includes 10 years spent developing new product and brand strategies as well as marketing and advertising campaigns at Leo Burnett, Foote, Cone & Belding, M&M/Mars and other small businesses.  More recently, she worked as a writer/editor for Modern Luxury Inc., publishers of magazines such as CS and Angeleno.  Rose graduated from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor with dual degrees in English and Political Science.  She is a founding member of the Daniel M. Kerrane, Jr. Foundation, former Board Vice President of the Fairy Godmother Foundation, and currently serves on the Chicago committee for Human Rights Watch.

Michael B Golden

Michael B. Golden

One Million Degrees Co-Founder 

A former national award-winning broadcast journalist, Michael Golden has also served as a political campaign manager and communications strategist for U.S. Presidential, Senate and Congressional races. Michael is a fellow at the British-American Project and the Open Society Institute. In 1999, Michael’s investigative and public affairs reporting for NBC earned him honors from the Society of Professional Journalists, the AP, and the Edward R. Murrow Awards. In 2011, Michael co-founded Newsbound, Inc., a media and software company based in San Francisco, CA. He is also a co-founder of the Complete the Degree back-to-college initiative in Chicago, Illinois. Michael serves on the board of the ADL and on the governing board of the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, as well as the Illinois Commission to Eliminate Poverty. He received his B.A. from Indiana University, and his M.S. in Public Services Management from DePaul University.