Below is a roundup of some of the great work our grantees and Foundation staff accomplished in February 2019.

Nurse-Family Partnership

AM New York ran a profile of Nurse-Family Partnership’s (NFP) impact and work in New York City. The program helps low-income, high-risk women who are in the early stages of their first pregnancy by providing one-on-one nursing services up until the child turns two.

Amanda Packman, originally a mom served by NFP and now an outreach worker for the organization, had the following to say about her nurse, Abby: “She was a major part of our lives. She went through the whole journey with me . . . through good times and bad times.”


Itzel Gutierrez, a Girlstart program coordinator, is highlighted in the National AfterSchool Association’s list of rising stars. Gutierrez is part of the Girlstart team that develops and implements programs that promote girls’ engagement and academic success in STEM. Girlstart currently serves 2,000-plus girls in 91 afterschool programs in Texas, California, and Massachusetts.


Vocabulary is critical to literacy development in early childhood, yet large disparities in vocabulary knowledge persist between children from high-income and low-income backgrounds. In a randomized evaluation, J-PAL researchers evaluated Big Word Club, a classroom-based digital learning program designed to increase the vocabulary of young children. They found that the participation in Big Word Club increased students’ knowledge and the retention of words included in the program.

Centering Healthcare Institute

Centering Pregnancy was profiled by the Richmond, VA NBC affiliate. The piece focused on the benefits that Centering’s group visit model offered pregnant women.

“Our mothers in this program form strong bonds that last long after childbirth,” said Kathryn Beaton, CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife, Bon Secours Richmond OB Midwives at St. Francis Medical Center. “They stay connected so that they can give each other advice and encouragement as their children grow. It’s very empowering for women to gain confidence and to take such an active role in health care for themselves and their babies.”


In their 2019 Annual Letter, philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates cite Zearn Math as one of the curricula at the forefront of transforming how students learn and how teachers teach. Zearn is a coherent and rigorous K-5 curriculum delivered in a personalized rotational model. Zearn provides students multiple ways of acquiring knowledge, showing understanding, and engaging in learning. In Fall 2017, Zearn Math received a top rating from

Opportunity Insights

The New York Times looked at the importance of neighborhoods and local jurisdictions in determining economic mobility, concluding that the biggest economic divides are local rather than regional. Using Opportunity Insights data, the article explored some of the benefits of living in smaller metro areas when it comes to families accessing opportunities for upward mobility.

Brookings used data from Opportunity Insights to highlight the differences in economic mobility among black and white children in the U.S. The authors suggest that it is “virtually impossible” to improve economic mobility in the U.S. without dramatic changes in the trajectory of black children.

Stanford Social Innovation Review profiled big philanthropic bets on pressing problems, which included the $39 million funding of Opportunity Insights, a research and policy institute aimed at using data to improve upward mobility. Overdeck Family Foundation provided initial funding for the Institute, alongside Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), and Bloomberg Philanthropies.

SSIR writes: “This collaborative grant suggests how funders with a shared interest in economic opportunity can come together to pursue this common goal.”

Teaching Lab

Sarah Johnson, CEO of Teaching Lab, wrote an op-ed for the74 arguing that recent teacher strikes signal a need to listen to teachers and give them leadership and agency prior to implementing policies.

Johnson wrote: “Too many teachers feel robbed of professional agency. In schools and districts across the country, many educators feel they are not treated as professionals with a clear, well-respected voice on issues that pertain to their daily work, like instructional materials or how they develop their practice over time.”

Po-Shen Loh

Po-Shen Loh showcases the math in cheerleading in his latest media collaboration with Robert Scianna, a two-time cheerleading world champion. The video has received over 23,000 organic views and overwhelmingly positive responses from viewers.

Fast Company named DonorsChoose a Top 10 Innovative Non-Profit, highlighting its unique ability to quickly direct funds to teachers in communities affected by natural disasters.