about us

Our Story

I Know I Can (IKIC) was founded in 1988 as a result of the foresight, dedication, and generosity of community and civic leaders who believed that no child should be denied a college education simply because they could not afford it. We are grateful for the leadership of our founders: Art Kobacker, Teckie Shackelford, Clifford Tyree, Sr., and Bob Weiler.

I Know I Can is the only college access program in Columbus and one of the largest and most successful in the nation. Since its beginning, I Know I Can has helped tens of thousands of Columbus students pursue their postsecondary dreams.

Helping Students Dream Big

I Know I Can’s programs provide guidance and support for Columbus students from elementary school through college graduation.

Together, our staff and volunteers:

  • Inspire elementary school students to dream big about their futures.
  • Enable middle school students to explore in-demand careers through virtual reality programming.
  • Provide high school students with early exposure to career and college opportunities.
  • Guide seniors through the complex admissions and financial aid processes.
  • Fund grants and scholarships for high school graduates.
  • Support students as they navigate college or workforce training programs for the first time.

Our Plan


To inspire students to make college a part of their future by providing them with knowledge about the benefits of post-secondary education and career opportunities.


To help high school graduates fund their post-secondary opportunities through grants and scholarships, as well as leveraging additional funding sources.


To support graduates once in college with support services to help ensure degree completion and career exploration.

Our Programs

The mission of I Know I Can is apparent every day through our long list of programs. With a team of dedicated staff and advisors, as well as partnerships with Columbus City Schools, Reynoldsburg Schools, South-Western City Schools, and Whitehall City Schools, we offer everything from children’s books to one-on-one counseling and in-depth college and career advising that ensure success for all grade levels.

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