Serving: Students all over the U.S., and some international students.
Key leader: Founder Sydney Montgomery, who has over a decade of experience in helping students gain access to higher education.
Sydney Montgomery started working with students on their higher educational applications in 2012. As the daughter of military and immigrant parents, she knew how important it was for first-generation students to have guidance on their college and law school applications. She continued to grow the company while practicing law in Maryland; however, she ultimately felt her calling to continue educational access work. She continued to grow the company and eventually formed the nonprofit Barrier Breakers Inc. There are three brands underneath the Barrier Breakers nonprofit: S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting, Break into Law School podcast and YouTube channel, and the Break into Law virtual annual conference that brings together law school applicants, current law school students and young practitioners with pioneers in the legal field, professors, judges and partners at law firms for a two-day transformational event.
Barrier Breakers is dedicated to increasing access to, and success in, higher education for Black, indigenous, persons of color (BIPOC) and other marginalized students.
We are striving to work with greater numbers of students to continue to meet our mission. This year, we are hoping to raise at least $500,000, which will support our clients by providing resources and scholarships.
- Our 501(c)(3) nonprofit provides financial assistance, educational resources and personalized consulting for higher education applicants. Barrier Breakers also provides mentorship and career development fellowships for current law school students and recent graduates.
- Notably, Barrier Breakers created the Barrier Breakers Scholarship Fund. This fund was created for first-generation or minoritized students interested in pursuing higher education. Barrier Breakers also provides admissions consulting underneath the S. Montgomery Admissions Consulting brand. Barrier Breakers’ law school admissions podcast, Break into Law School, has over 40,000 downloads and the organization’s Break into Law conference had over 600 virtual attendees last year.
95% of our students are the first in their family to go to law school, yet 66% of our students have received a half-tuition scholarship to law school and 54% of our students have received acceptance to a Top 14 law school. In collaboration with organizations, universities and institutions such as the Law School Admission Council, Barrier Breakers is thrilled that it has been able to provide admission support to more than 4,000 students. We are deeply grateful that we began working with the Law School Admission Council last year toward a shared goal of increasing access to legal education for diverse and underrepresented applicants. Because of our collaboration with universities and other institutions like the Law School Admission Council, Barrier Breakers will have helped over 7,000 students on their higher education pursuits by the end of 2023.
Most of Barrier Breakers’ fundraising occurs through direct donation. Anyone can visit our donor page and give to support one of our programs at barrier-breakers.org/donors. Additionally, partnerships are vital to our health and growth. We don’t want someone to give once and be done, we want our donors to know the ways in which their gifts impact our clients; therefore, we give updates on our work and the lives that are changed. We have been blessed with generous corporate and firm sponsorships as well, not just for our upcoming conference, but for our podcasts, workshops, fellowship programs and student support.
Barrier Breakers has at its heart the desire to serve underrepresented communities. As such, some of our funding comes from those who have been on the same journey and want to give back so others can join them. We also have support from companies who want to increase diversity within their professions. Barrier Breakers connects with people and entities who want to impact change now and in the future. By providing resources to enable minority and first-generation students greater access to education, those same voices are present within professional spheres. Every dollar given, no matter how great or small, has a generational impact.
Our organization works with both traditional and nontraditional students. We have a growing number of clients who are single mothers seeking to change not only their lives, but the lives of their families, thus breaking cycles of poverty and lack of education. We have also been blessed to have a strong veteran community among the students that we have supported. As our founder is the daughter of Navy parents, it is especially rewarding to help veterans transition to a new career path through higher education.
For more information, please contact Sydney Montgomery, founder and executive director of Barrier Breakers Inc., at email@example.com, or Calvin Burton, director of fundraising and partnerships, at firstname.lastname@example.org.