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

Centering Healthcare Institute

Reporter Jenny Gold and her husband. Image courtesy of NPR.

Reporter Jenny Gold provides NPR a firsthand narrative of her experience with CenteringPregnancy while pregnant with her first child. She writes, “I ended up finding a community where I least expected it: at a medical office.”

CenteringPregnancy offers group prenatal care at more than 600 practices across the United States. Rather than the standard 15-minute individual visits in an exam room, women who are due around the same time and their partners meet as a group for two hours with a clinician, usually a midwife.

Gold mentions that years of studies — many focusing on teen and low-income moms — have found that babies born to women who participated in CenteringPregnancy groups were less likely to be premature, underweight or spend time in the intensive care unit.

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


Image courtesy of Chalkbeat.

Chalkbeat wrote about Newark’s plans to spend $10M to adopt new English, mathematics, social studies, and science textbooks for the coming school year.

The chosen math curricula–HMH Into Mathematics, from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, for elementary and middle schools and Envision, from Pearson, for high school subjects–all receive high scores for their content and ease of use from EdReports, a nonprofit organization that reviews curricula. The English curricula are so new that EdReports has not yet finished reviewing them.

EdReports is a grantee in the Exceptional Educators portfolio.

Vision To Learn and Helen Keller International

The LA School Report reprinted Ann Hollister and Meghan Lynch’s op-ed on the importance of vision care for school success.

Hollister and Lynch write: “Access to vision care should not be a privilege afforded to the few. Ensuring that all children can see the blackboard is key to helping them fulfill their potential in school and in life.”

Overdeck Family Foundation is mentioned as a key funder of the in-school work in New Jersey for both Vision To Learn and Helen Keller InternationalVision to Learn and Helen Keller International are grantees in the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Urban Institute

On May 15, Urban Institute’s Center on Education Data and Policy soft-launched the Education Data Explorer, a project funded by Overdeck Family Foundation. The launch event was part of a larger celebration of Urban Institute’s 50th Anniversary. It included a panel on the use of data in education, which was moderated by the New York Times’s David Leonhardt and included former Secretaries of Education John King, Arne Duncan, and Rod Paige.

Graph courtesy of the New York Times.

Using data from Urban Institute’s Education Data Portal, David Leonhardt and Sahil Chinoy of the New York Times created several interactive visualizations to take a closer look at expected and actual graduation rates for 368 colleges and universities.

The article highlights several strategies schools have used to reduce dropouts and improve college graduation rates, including providing greater direction and structure for students, increasing campus connections that encourage persistence, and offering additional financial and advising services.

Urban Institute is a grantee in the Data for Action portfolio.

PERTS Engagement Project

PERTS Engagement Project was one of 11 winners selected for NewSchools Venture Fund’s Expanded Definitions of Success EdTech Challenge. Chosen from 198 applications, the winners represent the most promising technology-enabled learning experiences, instructional content, and diagnostic tools that are enhancing academic and social-emotional learning and supporting the development of nurturing school and classroom environments.

The Engagement Project empowers educators with data-driven tools that help build an engaging and inclusive learning climate proven to foster students’ academic motivation and achievement.

PERTS is a grantee in the Innovative Schools portfolio.


MoMathlon first place winners.

Middle school teams from local “MoMathlons” competed in the New York statewide MoMath championship in mid-May.

A group of Bayside middle-schoolers won first place in the 2019 “Tournament of Champions” on Wednesday, May 15, held at the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath).

The competition was the final installment in a statewide series of MoMathlon math tournaments. 

MoMath is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.


UPSTART, a free, at-home kindergarten-readiness program for preschoolers, continued its expansion with a launch in Clark County School District (Las Vegas, NV).

North Carolina also proposed a three-year pilot of UPSTART for at-risk children, promoting debate about the benefits and drawbacks of virtual preschool.

And Tammy Williams, the director of curriculum at Greensburg Community Schools, advocated for use of UPSTART to help fill the early education gap for rural families.

UPSTART is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

Research & Development Council of New Jersey

STEM Scholar Anna Prilutsky networks with Kevin Campos, an associate VP at Merck, at the STEM Scholars Industry Conference in February at NJIT. Image courtesy of the Research & Development Council of New Jersey.

NJ Monthly profiled the Governor’s STEM Scholars program, which aims to make future grads aware of New Jersey’s diverse job opportunities in an effort to help New Jersey cultivate and keep its top STEM students.

The 5-year-old program is focused on inspiring students in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—and helping them recognize the opportunities for talented and innovative STEM graduates in New Jersey.

A public-private partnership among the Office of the Governor, the Department of Education, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey and private industries, the program identifies top STEM talent and introduces them to the state’s STEM economy.

The R&D Council of New Jersey is a grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio.

Sesame Street in Communities

Image courtesy of Sesame Workshop

Sesame Workshop introduced a new character named Karli, a young muppet in foster care, and her “for-now” parents, Dalia and Clem, as part of the Sesame Street in Communities initiative. Karli was featured on Good Morning America; her introduction is part of a new initiative that Sesame Street in Communities has undertaken to support foster children, foster parents, and providers who serve foster families.

Sesame Workshop also celebrated its 50th anniversary, with guests that included former First Lady Michelle Obama, John Legend, John Oliver, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Hoda Kotb as host.

Sesame Street in Communities is a grantee in the Early Impact portfolio.

Foundation News

Image courtesy of Stevens Institute of Technology.

Laura Overdeck was Stevens Institute of Technology’s 2019 undergraduate Commencement speaker, as well as the recipient of the honorary Stevens Doctor of Engineering degree.

Laura offered the graduates the following advice: “You’re engineers, mathematicians, scientists. That will make you indispensable in your career, but it does not guarantee that you will be an influencer. To do that you have to get out and change minds and hearts.”