Michael Lynch ’14 MPPA, and Michael Casper ’10 (Communication Studies)

Recruiting players to the college game

There’s a new breed of entrepreneur in town. An altruistic type—visionary, determined and equipped with a strong moral compass—is tackling societal shortcomings with business prowess and a punch of passion. 

Alumni Michael Lynch ’14 MPPA, and Michael Casper ’10 (Communication Studies), are stepping in to address problems in their own neighborhoods. The duo founded Improve Your Tomorrow, a mentoring program for middle and high school boys that puts potentially at-risk youth on a path to—and through—college. 

“We didn’t want to be the ones who sat on the sidelines and complained about the issues. We wanted to get in the game and make a difference,” says Casper.

Casper and business partner Lynch know all too well the pitfalls, and potential, facing young men of color. As teenagers raised below the poverty line in single-parent homes, each struggled academically and was suspended. 

“We faced becoming another statistic,” recalls Lynch.

Instead, their paths took a more fortunate turn, including earning degrees from Sac State. But the close call inspired the duo to launch a non-profit college preparatory program for young men facing their own uncertain futures. 

 “Growing up, I saw so many people around me who had so much potential and just didn’t do anything with their lives,” says Lynch, who recently stepped down as an aide in the California State Assembly to focus on the program full time. “We are here to show them how beneficial it is to pursue higher education.”

Improve Your Tomorrow supports underrepresented boys from middle school, through college with tutoring, campus visits and one-on-one monthly mentoring.

To date, 100 percent of program participants graduated high school and 92 percent were accepted to four-year colleges, including 10 who are proud Hornets. 

“It’s an amazing feeling,” says Casper, branch manager at U.S. Bank. “To take these young men on college tours, and see their eyes open a little wider and realize that this could be their future if they just fine-tune some things and apply themselves.”