Meet The Team
Chantal Crompton (Blakeney) Co-Founder and CEO
In 2004, I graduated from Francis W. Parker, an elite San Diego private school. I had a 4.2 GPA, a 1420 on my SAT, and a 32 on my ACT. Those scores came from countless testing sessions and gradual improvement. I applied to 9 colleges, and got accepted to 5 of them. I earned a B.S. in Business Administration from USC’s Marshall School of Business, and was runner up for Marketing Student of the Year in 2008. I worked from the time I was 15-years-old, to pay for gas and personal expenses, but my parents spent thousands of dollars to support my path to college. My only job was put in the academic work, polish my essays, and click send.
As a current high school teacher in a low income neighborhood, my students are not starting on that same playing field, and that’s an opportunity gap.
I am currently in my 9th year teaching English at The O’Farrell High School, one of the highest achieving schools in San Diego, in one of the lowest income, highest crime neighborhoods in the county. When I started, there was just a freshman class and we worked to build the high school, brick by brick. I ran the English Department for 6 years, and currently teach an AVID elective. I have previously run student government, yearbook, the school newspaper, literary magazine, international summer trips, and the Varsity cheer squad. In summary, I’ve gotten to know these students and this community at the deepest level. My AP test scores rival national averages every year, and our high school state test scores are competitive with more affluent community schools like La Jolla High and Scripps Ranch.
My vision for this nonprofit came when our first graduating class was applying to colleges. I noticed our top students, 4.0+ GPAs, intending to apply to a small sample size of schools, not nearly matching their academic prowess. After countless conversations, the problem became clear- they had saved enough for, or their families could afford, just a few applications. The sacrifices made to even get that far were daunting. There just wasn’t enough money for students to apply to anything besides schools with large acceptance rates.
These students knew they wanted to go to college, many becoming the first in their family to do so. They weren’t going to risk that dream by only applying to schools with lower acceptance rates, even though they were more than qualified to attend those elite schools.
That didn’t sit right with me.
I set up a Gofundme page, and quickly raised over $5000 dollars, which was matched by an anonymous donor. This money ensured that every student in our first graduating class could apply to at least 7 colleges. More competitive students applied to even more. This fund helped students pay for AP exams, which they passed and earned college credit for. This fund got students into UCLA, UC Berkeley, UCSD, SDSU, Cal State San Marcos, University of Arizona, and beyond.
There is an established need- a proven opportunity gap. Fine Print Funding is here to build bridges to higher education and ensure that bright, hard-working students from all communities are represented on college campuses.
Justin Crompton Co-Founder and CFO, Treasurer and Secretary of the Board
In 2006, I was graduating from an all-boys private high school in Baltimore, Maryland. It was an academically competitive school where normal dress attire included a button down shirt, tie, slacks and sport coat. All I knew was what my parents asked of me: go to school, get good grades, play sports, and go to college. That’s exactly what I did. I was not the top student in my class, but I worked extremely hard to advance my career. I did whatever it took: receiving SAT/ACT tutoring, re-taking tests multiple times to get better scores and applying to as many colleges as possible. Never did I know what type of expenses came with that.
Working hard and never giving up has been my motto all my life as I carried that into my college years as well as into professional life. I received a Bachelors of Science in Business and Marketing, and started working right away. Self-motivation was a key to success in the sales jobs I worked. It didn’t matter the product or service, I found a way to relate and interact with customers in any circumstance that came along. I started from the bottom and worked my way up in every situation, and that humbly taught me to not take anything for granted.
Financially, I was supported by my parents through school as long as I was meeting their expectations, but that is not the case for a large population in this country. It never crossed my mind initially, but when being exposed to kids who come from different backgrounds, and lifestyles, it shifted my perspective. These kids have the same drive as me, but often don’t have the same support to advance their studies to college.
This cause that Fine Print Funding supports is for a better purpose than any product or service I’ve sold. There needs to be a better understanding in this country of this opportunity gap in education. Fine Print’s goal is to enable each and every student, regardless of race/religion/background, to have the same opportunity to reach their dreams and aspirations.
Lauren Ramers Vice President of the Board
I suppose one could argue that I was meant to be an educator from my first days in kindergarten. I would miss recess to help a developmentally delayed family friend on his homework. Later in high school, I volunteered in special education classes working with students with down’s syndrome. However, it wasn’t until I was in college and volunteering in a school designed for students who had been kicked out of their homes that I realized I wanted to spend my career teaching high school English. Since that time I have worked as a teacher, coach, AVID coordinator, department chair, academy team leader, school redesign committee team member, academic coach, and administrative intern in a variety of schools and communities. I’ve also served as an educational consultant in Australia, California, Washington, and various states on the east coast.
Within the non-profit world, I have coordinated a family homelessness shelter, served as a board member for Semillas de Amor--a Guatemalan children’s home, volunteered at various committees at McKinley Elementary and Roosevelt Middle School, and served as the Director of Professional Learning at the AVID Center. My life’s work is dedicated to and revolves around ensuring that the least served among us have the opportunity to thrive and prosper through education. My parents raised me to believe that “to those whom much is given, much is expected,” which is why I did not hesitate to join Chantal, Jay, my fellow board members, and donors to support Fine Print Funding in a way that will use my knowledge, skills, and talents to support the college-going efforts of our most deserving and worthy students. I strongly believe that we can narrow the opportunity gap by providing students with funding that will help them reach their educational goals.
Currently, I am a doctoral student at the University of San Diego in Leadership Studies. I am also an adjunct professor of education in USD’s Department of Learning and Teaching working with pre-service teachers. My research areas include teacher education, critical theory, anti-racist education, and dismantling deficit ideologies. I hope through my research, teaching, and volunteer work to inspire others to support and advocate for a more socially just education system.
Laura Dinanno Board Member
My name is Laura Dinanno and I am a passionate educator, enthusiastic motivator, and unwavering advocate for students. I was born and raised in Southeast San Diego to parents that may not have had the world, but knew the value of education. All of my childhood I had heard that no one could take my schooling and knowledge away from me, that education would be my freedom. With the support and encouragement of my family, I graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Literature and Cultural Studies and later earned my Masters of Education in Teaching, graduating in the top 1% of my class.
Over the past decade working in education, I have served as an AVID Coordinator and UCSD Educational Liaison Coordinator, as well as mentored new teachers and taught high school English and AVID, a college and career preparatory course. In addition, I have guest lectured at the University of California, San Diego about best teaching practices and AVID methodologies, served as a teacher speaker panelist at the AVID National Conference, and coordinated community outreach efforts for the Make a Wish Foundation and St. Jude Children’s Hospital, even forming a partnership with the San Diego Padres’ Latino Outreach Department.
Currently, I am the department lead for an online high school that provides at-promise students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and continue their educational journeys with the love, care, and support they need to be successful. Through my background in the court and community schools and continued work in underserved communities, I have cultivated a special passion for working with students who despite their circumstances show such resilience and drive. They all inspire me each day.
My belief is that all of our students, no matter where they come from, have the right to an education that leaves them motivated, prepared, and empowered. Each day, I want our kids to know that they are making a positive choice for their future when they decide to pursue their education. My sincere hope is that all of our students should leave school knowing that they can truly make a difference in the world and that they have the power and ability to achieve greatness. But first, they need the access to those opportunities. And Fine Print Funding can make real differences for students who need and deserve it most. Remember young scholars: you are worthy, you are valued, and you can do this.
Sarah Norton Board Member
I am an educational leader committed to closing the opportunity gap and preparing all students to be college and career ready. This opportunity gap, not achievement gap, is created by systemic and historic barriers that make accessing higher education nearly impossible for our low-income students.
I did not experience these barriers. I graduated from Scripps Ranch High School having completed numerous hours of expensive SAT prep, a private college-essay summer writing course, multiple AP credits from the exams my parents paid for, and the freedom to apply to as many colleges as I wanted. I chose to attend Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a privilege I was afforded by being able to cast my net so widely. I lived on campus, commuted home when I wanted, and had a budget to buy books and food without the need to have a job. I didn’t apply for financial aid, I had never even heard of FAFSA. I graduated from Cal Poly with a degree in Microbiology (late, I might add, from switching my major - another opportunity I didn’t think twice of) and my Teaching Credential. I moved on to higher education opportunities, earning my Masters in Education from San Diego State University along with my Administrative Services credential.
It wasn’t until I began working at The O’Farrell Charter School that I realized the opportunities that I had to access higher education are not a “given” for our low-income students like they were for me. When a student has to choose whether to pay for one more SAT sitting or buy food for their family, or when a student asks for AP exam fee coverage for their birthday, you begin to see how unfair this system is.
I believe that it is wrong for equally qualified students to have different post-high school paths simply based on their ability to afford a $70 college application fee or a $100 housing deposit. These post-high school paths affect trajectories of entire families and serve to contribute to the income disparities that we see so clearly in our country. For these reasons, I am proud to be serving on the Fine Print Funding Board of Directors.
As an educational leader and as a Board of Directors Member for Fine Print Funding, I work hard to ensure that every student has an equal opportunity at accessing higher education and creating a great and productive life for themselves and their families.
McKenzie Taylor Board Member
I have loved school for as long as I can remember. When I was in high school, I decided that I wanted (needed!) to share my passion and love for reading and literature and writing with as many people as possible. The only logical decision was to become a teacher. I followed through with that plan, and in 2011 I started my teaching career at a high school in Los Angeles. My career choice was the same one that both of my grandparents chose, and a strong educational background has always been present in my life. Having grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, and cousins who had attended and graduated from college made my path to achieving the same goal significantly easier than it would have been if I had been the first to try.
During my teaching career, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting students who are intelligent, creative, and yes, sometimes challenging. Some of the students have plenty of support from home and have families who are familiar enough with the education system to help their kids navigate it. However, many students do not have this kind of support, and their lack of familial resources is a significant obstacle to them reaching the goal of attending and graduating from college. Sometimes, even after students and their families have worked through enormous barriers and are almost at the end of their high school career, they reach another unforeseen barrier: the cost of the college application process.
Chantal and Justin started Fine Print Funding because they know that secondary education costs like AP and SAT testing, college application fees, and deposits keep well-qualified, high-achieving students from earning a post-secondary degree. The same desire to change that reality that motivated them also motivated me to become a supporter and board member of Fine Print Funding. This organization is fulfilling an overlooked but critical element of the college application process and is designed to help ease the already fraught transition from high school to college. Fine Print Funding is designed to alleviate a significant burden that low-income students and families face and it serves students in a practical, meaningful way.
I believe that every student, regardless of how much their families can pay, deserves a real chance at finding the best college fit for them so that they can be in the best position possible to learn, grow, graduate, and improve life outcomes for themselves, their families, and their communities. Fine Print Funding aligns with those beliefs, and I am excited to work within this organization to help it serve students as well as it possibly can.
Kathryn Leenerts Board Member
I have been an educator for over ten years - as a middle school teacher, high school teacher, history department chair, teacher mentor, AVID Coordinator, and now a vice principal at the O’Farrell Charter School. Although I have held various roles and responsibilities, the core of my work as an educational leader is to be empathetic, helpful, and create a community of support for others to reach their highest potential. In my work at the O’Farrell, one of the highest performing high schools in San Diego in one of the lowest income communities, I have seen the challenges faced by so many brilliant and skilled students who try to reach for the upper levels of education, but are often limited by systemic or financial limitations, far outside of their control.
I grew up in an upper-middle class household in San Diego with college educated parents (a lawyer and a copy editor), and attended one of the best public schools in the city. Patrick Henry High. From the time I was very young, I knew that I would always be able to go to college if I wanted to, and my parents were able to provide all that I needed to make sure I never had to make a choice about completing school. While I paid for many of my college related expenses, attending community college, completing my bachelor’s degree at UC San Diego, and eventually earning my teaching credential from San Diego State University, I always knew I had a safety net to fall back on. Money was never a consideration for me when I made decisions about my educational future.
The education system, as it stands, is skewed towards privilege and perpetuates systemic inequity. What is true, though, and what I believe, is that education can be the great equalizer in our society, and the work done by Fine Print Funding provides that crucial bridge toward equity. By disrupting the opportunity gap for gifted and enthusiastic youth with limited financial flexibility, Fine Print Funding provides that support to highly talented kids to have choice in their future, a closer grasp to their dreams, and a true opportunity to change their lives and the lives of their families for the better.
I am deeply enthusiastic about the mission of Fine Print Funding and excited to be a part of this dynamic team and to really ensure that education at the university level is attainable for all, regardless of their circumstances.