top of page
< Back

First Star

First Star

First Star works to uplift communities and create change by building strong pathways for high-school-age youth in foster care to post-secondary education and successful adult lives.

First Star was founded in 1999 by media executive Peter Samuelson and lawyer Sherry Quirk as a national 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to improving life for child victims of abuse and neglect. Since 2011 First Star has pioneered support programs to launch foster children into productive lives and careers through higher education. In 2016, the growth and diversity of First Star’s programs required two entities with separately focused governance, and the historical First Star policy work was transferred to First Star Institute. The amicable relationship between the two organizations builds on First Star’s success, and the two “sister” entities share a common lineage.

Core Values


We believe in providing the freedom and tools that support successful progression towards individual and collective goals.


We build relationships to collectively work as a community to support our scholars. We know we cannot do this work alone, and therefore we depend on our partners.


We are committed to achieving educational and early- adulthood success for youth in foster care. This is critical to inspire transformational change for our Network and scholars.


It takes a village to raise a child and to that end, we embrace the backgrounds and perspectives of all the individuals within the First Star Family. We foster a welcoming environment that honors and appreciates their individual experiences, beliefs, and values.

We strive to examine our own biases and privileges and the different voices from our community to focus on diversity, inclusivity, and equity. Every decision made with our stakeholders bears this in mind.


We embrace and integrate accountability into everything we do, individually and collectively, to honor our commitments to all stakeholders serving youth across the country who have experienced the foster care system.

Student Team

bottom of page