MAKING FUTURES BLOSSOM
The Orchid Foundation's mission is to mentor underserved high school girls. We choose girls that are excelling in their academic and/or extracurricular pursuits and help fill the resource gap presented by their socioeconomic backgrounds. Our “Orchids” are star athletes, honor students, poets, humanitarians and feminists packed into 14-22 year old powerhouses that deserve the same opportunities as the top ten percent.
The Orchid Foundation Programs
Over the past years, we have held mock college interviews, SAT/ACT boot camps, taken our Orchids on guided art tours and gone on career day field trips; all while building our stock portfolios. This and more is only possible because of the generous 100% tax deductible donations we receive.
We are learning code language and technology through interactive lessons with our partners at Codecademy. We sound fancy right?! Python, Swift, HTML, CSS yep our brilliant Orchids with the help of our Orchid Angels at Codecademy speak that language tooooo. Next we take over the world.
The college application process can be brutal and scary. No fear, The Orchid Foundation is here! We help each of our Orchids individually with everything from college selection to application completion. But wait there’s more… our super donors turn their offices into college admissions headquarters. Each Orchid arrives dressed in her interview bests and gets feedback head to toe on her attire/presentation, and leaves with thorough notes on her college essay, but not before being interviewed by alum from Duke, UPenn, Brown, Harvard and more. Our super donor Coller Capital hosted our inaugural College Bootcamp. If you are jealous and want to join in on the fun send your girl an email at
A great philosopher once said, “It is better to have a $10 purse with $1000 in it, than a $1000 purse with $10 in it.” Oh wait, our founder said that. Our Orchids will spend their senior year becoming financially literate; buying and selling stocks, investing in Roth IRA’s and saving for our blindingly bright futures. Can you say “compound interest”?
GLASS CEILING BREAKERS
Every teenager at some point will be asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?" To help our Orchids make the most informed decision we hold career day field trips several times a year. Professionals host us in their work environments where we get an up close account of the ins and outs of a variety of careers, have the opportunity to ask questions and learn at the feet of experts. Email us at if you'd like to volunteer for career day.
We have a love fest going on here at The Orchid Foundation. We are overflowing with blessings, so every year we plan to pay it forward by supporting teens less fortunate than ourselves. This year The Orchid Foundation is raising money for homeless kids at Covenant House. We set up a crowdfunding page, solicited our community for help, put on bake sales and did some old fashioned begging of parents, friends and really anyone in arms length all for a good cause. Check out our twitter and instagram pages @theorchidfdn and/or subscribe to our newsletter for more information.
Want to spread mass panic through a bunch of teenage girls? Ask them to take a practice SAT during their summer vacation. No we are not meanies, we want our girls to be prepared and well... there is no time like the present. So after receiving a few less than stellar test scores, The Orchid Foundation hired a tutor to take our scores from "ohh nah" to "Yessssss"! We now offer tutoring year round in every subject.
CLASSICALLY TRAINED ORCHIDS
The arts and The Orchid Foundation are like almond butter and Honeycrisp apples #PerfectTogether; so every year we find fun ways to incorporate the classics into our educational repertoire. Whether resident art historian Kent Alessandro is putting us through our Renaissance, Baroque and Pop art paces or Emmy winner Chris Silber creates a film school just for us, or Orchid Angels Ed & Betsy Zimmerman are whisking us off to see The Waitress on Broadway or Grammy Award winner Printz Board scores our Shakespearean play; our Orchids are getting their well rounded on. Check out our fancy on twitter and instagram: @theorchidfdn to follow our progress.
ART YOUR HEART OUT
Life imitates art dah-lings. So each Monday morning, we study art history with Heart of the Art NYC (heartoftheartnyc.com) founder Emily Sachar. During our weekly virtual meetings, we examine one or two works in detail as we consider the socio-economic and political history, as well as the artist biography, that led to its creation. We also take into account other masterworks that inspired the work under study. For example, if we are looking at Picasso's Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, we discuss Matisse's Joy of Life, African masks and El Greco as antecedents. Under Miss Emily's guidance we've learned how to analyze a painting or sculpture using correct art historical terminology. We say things like "provenance" and "grisaille" because well...we fancy :)
We curate once in a lifetime experiences for our Orchids. Whether Academy Award nominee, writer/director of Yellowstone Taylor Sheridan invites us to his ranch courtesy of Paramount or fashion designer to the stars Carmen Marc Valvo is donating gowns for prom or the time we rang the closing bell at Nasdaq, or posed for celebrity photographer Udo Spreitzenbarth & America’s Next Top Model’s lead stylist Ty-Ron Mayes during a self esteem boosting photoshoot... after we study our bums off, we are up to fancy things at The Orchid Foundation! We have a team of Orchid Angels that support and guide us. Blessings on blessings on blessings on blessings.
Orchid Coumba read an article that stated the average millionaire has seven streams of income. We have boss lady dreams at The Orchid Foundation so Seven Streams is where we nurture our entrepreneurial spirit. Everything from Youtube empires to real estate ventures, in Seven Streams we put on our secure the bag hats, brainstorm ideas and make them happen. Support us as we seek our own seven streams of income. We are currently seeking a real estate mentor. Holler at your Orchids!
Sometimes yucky stuff happens. At The Orchid Foundation we don't cry it out, we fight it out. OK sometimes we cry too, but then we hit the gym for some fat busting, soul lifting physical therapy. Our super donor Michael Olajide Jr, (instagram @elcuerpodepapi) creator of Aeorspace donates boxing lessons and the lovely Luz Emma Canas (instagram @boudoirballet) donates capoeira lessons. In addition to moving our bodies, nutritionist Dr. Susan Vanucci is teaching us how to make healthy food choices with personalized wellness counseling. Our Orchids are learning to become lean mean fancy lady like brilliant fighting machines.
We are hands on with our Orchids, curating group events that build sisterhood amongst the girls, as well as one on one activities that cater to each girl’s individual needs. The focus is on building self esteem, character and the can do spirit needed to be successful in today’s world. Sisterhood is the heartbeat of what we do.
We are actively looking for a seat at the table, your table to be exact. Organizations like Givsly, RevCascade, Center for Policing Equity and Paper Faces offer Orchids #paid internships. Jelly? Let us sit with you. We seek to expand our partnership with as many companies as will have us. How else are we going to pay for college while we soak up all your knowledge? Drop us an email at We promise to fit you with an Orchid that aligns with your needs. Looking for a self starting, great work ethic, perfectionist that can take constructive criticism while multitasking and being a people person? Duh that's Orchid Markayla, hire us.
MENTORS R US
I'm sure there is some fancy statistic about the value of having a mentor. I don't need to google it because I already know that Kent changed my life. Every Orchid has a mentor that she has met at one of our many career days. We are better because of those relationships. I encourage our girls to find her own Kent, because I'm not sharing mine. Thank you Emily and Kathleen and Zoe and Lauren and James and Anthony and Savoy and Amyn and Ty-Ron and Josh. Watch how we change the world and give you your much deserved credit.
EACH ONE TEACH ONE
What happens in The Orchid Foundation stays in The Orchid Foundation. Especially when it comes to knowledge. Our 01s hold zoom-inars (yeah I just coined a new phrase) to teach all the good good they have learned to the 02s. The attorneys at Lowenstein Sandler taught us how to write cover letters and resumes, Orchid Coumba taught the 02s. Orchid Alison learned Word, Powerpoint and Excel during a summer internship and taught the 02s. Orchid Markayla's zoom-inar is all about the college application process from FAFSA to transferring. Soon the 02's will be teaching the 03's. We have each other's back, front and both sides. Go Orchids!
MEET OUR ORCHIDS
is your future boss. Enrolled at Emory’s Goizueta Business School on track to receive a Bachelor of Business Administration, with a 3.6 GPA. Thank you very much! Coumba is going to change the world given the proper opportunities. She's well rounded, driven and just...impressive. Some of her extracurricular activities include: President of Emory’s Black Pre-Law Society, Sophomore Representative and Director of Fundraising for the Student Educational Experience Development, Scholarship and Fundraising Committee Chair of Paving Our Futures, Student Senator, International Baccalaureate Ambassador/Panelist, Salutatorian of her high school senior class, she attended Summer programs at 2016 Cornell University, 2017 Brown University, 2017 Franklin & Marshall. 2017 National Honors Society. Coumba worked the same part time job on weekends for 4 years to help her family out with money. She is eyeing careers in criminal justice and medicine. Don’t be surprised if she excels in both field, simultaneously. She's that type of Orchid.
is the super sweet early bird who gets the worm. Alison is currently at College Of the Holy Cross and crushing the game with a 3.4 GPA. Aside from being an excellent student and your dream kid, some of her extra-curricular activities include: College Transition Program Mentor 2020, Treasurer of Black Student Union, Center of Career Development Sophomore Fellow, Social Media Coordinator for @Woke.Lit.Womxn, 2015 Hack-The-Dinos participant at the American Museum of National History where she won 1st place in the Wild Card category, 2015 Certificate of Recognition for Community Service Award, Cheerleader, 2015-2016 Bridgeup: STEM program (App Development Internship at the American Museum of Natural History), 2016 University of Michigan Summer Program. 2016 & 2017 National Honors Society, 2016 Student of the Year, Brown Scholars, Secretary of National Honors Society and a great dancer and singer who is teaching herself how to code. She sounds perfect because she is.
is our Broadway Baby. Markayla loves musical theater, her favorites being Hairspray and Hamilton. She taught us all a lesson in bravery as she took a gap year before starting SUNY Albany to fight stage 4B Hodgkins Lymphoma. Markayla got up swinging and got right back to her hobbies: politics, beauty and fashion, civil rights and all things Korean. She's interned at Central Policing Equity, her knowledge of literature, black history and classical music is impressive. Some of her extracurricular activities include Model UN, Feminism Club and the University of Michigan Summer Program. 2017 National Honors Society inductee. Markayla is our unsung genius, but don't worry we are learning how to sing.
is most likely to succeed. Mariama is attending York College majoring in aviation. She took so many college level courses in high school that she leap frogged freshman year and entered college as a sophomore! If you could bottle and shelve a smile and personality Mariama's would be your best seller. Some of her extracurricular activities include the aviation club, a teachers assistant internship, a three year Geriatric Career Development Program internship, she spent last summer taking college courses at Hostos College in Social Problems and Criminal Justice, she's learning how to box and plays volleyball. Mariama has her eye on a career in law, but we have it on good authority that she wants to heal the world.
is our Go-getter. Don't let those cute dimples fool you Alexa is a beast when it comes to work and play. Salutatorian of her senior class, she's a constant fixture on the high honor roll because the honor roll is for babies, she is Captain of the varsity volleyball, varsity basketball, is on an AAU team (Force), does community service raising money for Covenant House, she is Student Senate Treasurer, graduated from the Bud Program, soon to be tri-lingual, interested in international business & is obsessed with sneakers, dogs and France. You will soon be obsessed with Alexa too.
is our Social Butterfly. She's most likely to get the party started. Michaella works hard and plays hard. She is on the volleyball team, in the RISE program, she organized and created a step team, she does community service raising money for Covenant House, is The Orchid Foundation Social Secretary, graduated from the Bud Program, earned 3 college credits after taking an English course at City College of New York and loves literature and music. Michaella wants to be a lawyer some day.
is our Sleeper. You know the quiet girl at your school who keeps her head in her books and then grows up to own the company you work for? Yeah that's Madison. Some of her extracurricular activities include track, 3 week summer program at The University of Maryland where she earned 3 college credits taking a mock law class, photography, step team, breast cancer walk, graduated from the Bud Program, she's an artist, an excellent writer, who is interested in healing crystals, anything outdoorsy and mechanical engineering. Oh and she does a ton of community service raising money for Covenant House. Madison walks softly but carries a big stick.
is our stealth bomber. She is that under the radar girl who sneaks up on you and earns her spot on the stage. Ranked #3 in her senior class, Francina is on the high honor roll every semester. She is teaching herself Korean and French. She's a poet, a musician and a great friend. The scene stealer who bypassed the Bud program and became a full fledged Orchid by constructing a grassroots fundraising video for Covenant House that was so epic we could not deny her her rightful spot. Francina strives to be the best at everything she touches; be it her art, her school work or loyalty. Francina has your back. But she won't be behind you for long so enjoy the push while you have it. Francina is a big fish in our little pond who will soon find open ocean.
Nichole Galicia is an actress (Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Django Unchained, Defiance) and model who wrote an art book titled Equipo Cronica: the Nichole Kent Collection. She was formerly on the junior committee of the New York Center for Children where she helped raise donations towards the fight against child abuse. In her spare time Nichole is an avid Formula One fan.
Alison Apeku is our secret weapon. Her coding, G Suite and Excel knowledge has been vital to The Orchid Foundation’s success. Alison is an integral part of the foundation's accounting, fundraising, graphics design and social media teams. She is also a very hands on mentor, building sisterhood with all of the girls we serve, acting as an advocate, events planner, teacher, tutor and counselor. In addition, Alison heads the committee on selecting new Orchids, interviewing prospects for our Bud Program and deciding with our founder who stays and who gets Tuliped. Tough job, but Alison is also an Orchid so she does tough in her sleep.
There is a new boss lady in town, meet our new intern, Peaches. She’s a senior at SUNY New Paltz majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Human Services. As well as double minoring in Deaf Studies and Communications, okayyyy. Peaches is no stranger to The Orchid Foundation as she assisted us through past events. Peaches will sign on as a mentor to our 02’s as she aids with the Bud selection. She will take over our Glass Ceiling Breakers and #TheOrchidFoundationCares programs as well as pry the College Bootcamp program out of Nichole’s clenched hands. In additional to all of this Peaches will provide assistance on the backend where all our secrets, tears, surprises and magical good good is kept. Welcome our girl!
THANK YOU TO OUR SUPER DONORS:
These Donors Are Our EVERYTHING
THE PETER MORTON FOUNDATION
JAMES E. MANLEY
ROSEMARIE DI LORENZO
JOHN POWERS MIDDLETON
THANK YOU TO OUR ORCHID ANGELS:
These Donors Provide The Secret Sauce To Our Success