Branch Ashanti Photo

Ashanti Branch

Oakland

Founder and Executive Director, Ever Forward - Siempre Adelante

Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them. Raised in Oakland by a single mother on welfare, Ashanti left the inner city to study civil engineering at Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. A construction project manager in his first career, his life changed after he tutored struggling students and realized his passion for teaching. In 2004, during Ashanti’s first year teaching high school math, he started The Ever Forward Club to provide support for African American and Latino males who were not achieving to their potential. Since then, Ever Forward has helped all of its more than 150 members graduate from high school, and 93% of them have gone on to attend two- or four-year colleges, military or trade school.

In 2007, Ashanti was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach math in India. This experience ignited in him a deeper trust that students held to high expectations, and provided with high support can achieve academic success regardless of the odds they face. Since 2009, Ashanti has worked with several rites of passage organizations to initiate young men along their journey to manhood, and has supported more than 60 young men to complete their Young Men’s Ultimate Weekend.

The Ever Forward Club was featured last year in the documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. After completing a fellowship at the Stanford d.school in 2016, Ashanti, stepped away from working for a school district and began working as the Founding Executive Director for Ever Forward-Siempre Adelante, in an effort to grow the organization to serve thousands of Bay Area students.