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

Bright By Three

An example of a Bright By Text text message.

Bright By Three’s Bright By Text program has expanded to 24 more PBS stations with support from Ready to Learn. The organization sends parents and caregivers text messages with research-based content on child development and timely information on local events. 

Bright By Text subscribers receive between two and four texts per week. Click-through rates average around 15%, compared to an industry average of 6% or less.

Bright By Text’s collaboration with the Behavioral Insights and Parenting Lab at the University of Chicago (work funded by Overdeck Family Foundation as a result of the 2018 Early Impact grantee convening) is also mentioned.

Bright By Three and BIP Lab are grantees in the Early Impact portfolio.

Khan Academy

Khan Academy and NWEA announced the MAP Accelerator tool, which pairs findings from a student’s performance on the NWEA‘s MAP Growth Assessments with Khan Academy resources to address the specific skills a student needs to master in his or her learning progression.

Chris Minnich, the CEO of NWEA, shared the following on how the tool came to be: “We talked about how tests really aren’t going to move the needle for kids; tests themselves don’t teach kids anything,” said Minnich. “We’ve got to make connections.”

Khan Academy is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.


UPSTART continued to generate news for its expansion across the country. Lawmakers in North Carolina are looking to introduce a pilot program of UPSTART to low-income families whose children are missing out on a pre-K education. The free program has already launched in Salt Lake City, where it is actively recruiting families for the coming school year.

UPSTART is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

Students 2 Science

Gary Sarkis, director of operations at S2S Newark Technology Center, and Alejandra Ceja, executive director at Panasonic Foundation, at an ISAAC session at the S2S Newark Technology Center.

Students 2 Science expanded to the Newark Technology Center, with support from the Newark Board of Education and Superintendent Leon.

The organization’s goal is to introduce students in underserved areas to STEM careers. It does this through an on-site laboratory program, run by volunteer scientists and mentors from the surrounding area. It also has a Virtual Laboratory program, which features veteran biochemists and other scientists broadcasting experiments to classrooms throughout New Jersey. 

Students 2 Science is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Jobs for the Future

The Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative, a startup initiative incubated by Jobs for the Future, announced its transition to KnowledgeWorks, a leading national K-12 organization. The Research Collaborative will join the new Impact and Improvement Division focused on building evidence for the practices, supports, and services that provide the most equitable and highest quality personalized education for all students.

In less than three years, the Research Collaborative has supported eight studies that investigate the impact of student-centered learning approaches and the extent to which such practices can be used to advance equity in public education.

The Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.

ST Math

ST Math accepts their CODiE Awards.

ST Math was named Best Mathematics Instructional Solution for Grades PreK-8 and Best Overall Education Technology Solution of 2019 as part of the annual SIIA CODiE (Software and Information Industry Association) Awards. SIAA is the only peer-recognized program in the business and education technology industries, so each CODiE Award win serves as strong market validation for a product’s innovation, vision, and overall industry impact.

ST Math is a PreK-8 visual instructional program that leverages the brain’s innate spatial-temporal reasoning ability to solve mathematical problems. It was created by MIND Research Institute. 

ST Math is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.

Centering Healthcare Institute

Palo Alto Medical Foundation was profiled by the Santa Cruz Sentinel as the first facility in Santa Cruz County to adopt Centering Parenting’s group model.  Under the model, well-child checkups are held in a group setting versus one-on-one and take up to two hours. Each visit begins with individual health assessments, developmental screenings, and immunizations. In the second portion of the visit, families have a group discussion about their children’s wellness, as well as the health of the mother.

Centering Healthcare Institute is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

STEM Learning Ecosystems

Left to right: New Jersey STEM Pathway Leaders including Dr. Martha Osei-Yaw, Principal at Jersey City’s Alexander D. Sullivan School; Kim Case, Executive Director of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey; and Erica DeMichele, K-12 Supervisor for Delran Township Public Schools. Photo courtesy of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey.

Kim Case, Executive Director of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey, joined other Delran ecosystem leaders to present at the Zhejiang–New Jersey STEM Innovation Education Forum to 400 Chinese officials and Kean University staff. Their presentation focused on the innovative STEM education practices that have arisen as a result of the STEM Ecosystems within New Jersey. 

The STEM Learning Ecosystem initiative is spearheaded by the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Opportunity Insights

An overview of philanthropy-funded data efforts highlighted Overdeck Family Foundation’s funding of Opportunity Insights, the Harvard research institute that uses census data to illustrate differences in prosperity across the country with groundbreaking granularity. The project is funded alongside Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Gates Foundation, and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. 

Opportunity Insights is a grantee in the Data for Action portfolio.

Foundation News

Marc Chun, Program Officer for Exceptional Educators, hosted a storytelling workshop led by Jessica Blank. Seven grantees and two funders attended the full-day learning session, which focused on learning how to design strategic stories that appealed to each organization’s target audience.

Overdeck Family Foundation was mentioned in an article celebrating David Siegel and trustee John Overdeck receiving the Institutional Investor Lifetime Achievement Award for their creation and management of Two Sigma. The foundation is described as “…focusing on early childhood, educators, out-of-school STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities, and the use of data.”

Interested in joining our team? We have several open roles, including a Program Officer for the Inspired Minds portfolio, a Program Analyst for the Exceptional Educators portfolio, and an Operations Analyst for the foundation. Please share with your networks.

We also want to wish Dr. Brian Carter, Program Officer for Inspired Minds, the best of luck as he returns to the teaching profession in his home state of Georgia. Brian’s future students are lucky to have him!