The Cap & Gown Project

The Cap & Gown Project, which is a local non-profit organization led by M&B partner, Doug Martinson II, has been making great strides in providing equal opportunities for underrepresented high school students to achieve academic success and attend college. Since its founding, students involved in the program have gone from just 9 to more than 50, and scholarships earned by these students have increased from $300,000 to about $4.4 million in total.

The organization, which began in 2014 from Johnson (now Jemison) High School, actively strives to help students from underrepresented backgrounds access academic activities that will increase their potential to continue their education after high school, such as improving their ACT scores, visiting college around the Southeast and occasionally across the country, and immersing them into careers and classes in the STEM field.

The Cap & Gown Project has three major programs, which have all seen vast expansions and success in the last year.

The first major program within the organization is the Campus Tours, which takes trips to universities around the Southeast monthly and allows students to tour their campuses. Since the Program’s founding, they have gone on more than 150 college tours, which have encouraged students to pursue a college education and given them the opportunity to discover which university will be the right fit for them in the future.

The organization also runs an ACT preparation program called “Operation 36”. Earning high scores on the ACT is crucial to being accepted into universities, and most students need extensive preparation and tutoring to achieve successful scores on this exam. Students meet weekly for tutoring sessions and prep classes, and the program strives to help students earn a 21 or higher on their composite scores.

Another crucial program within The Cap & Gown Project is the STEM Summer Institute, which is a short two-week program offered during the summers. It provides the students with intensive ACT preparation and the opportunity to immerse themselves within various STEM careers, by participating in daily classes on careers in this field. On average, students in this program increased their ACT score by 2 points, and all have been accepted into college, with more than 75% receiving some sort of scholarship.

The Cap & Gown Project will continue to work towards their mission in giving students from underrepresented backgrounds equal opportunities to attend college and earn scholarships. For more information and ways to get involved, please visit