In Q1 of 2021, our foundation awarded 32 grants totaling $12.27 million. Of these, 14 grants were new, while 16 were renewals. Below we highlight just some of the many organizations we’re proud to support.
We’re excited to welcome Tools of the Mind to the Early Impact portfolio with a one-year pilot grant of $250,000. Tools of the Mind is a research-based early childhood classroom model combining teacher professional development, curriculum, and tools to help young children build executive function skills, resulting in academic and social- emotional improvements. The organization is planning to use the funding to improve its sales and marketing capabilities and grow its reach to 33,000 children, an increase of 32% Y/Y.
New to the Inspired Minds portfolio is Brilliant, which received a pilot year grant of $250,000. Brilliant, which builds digital science, math, and engineering interactives to challenge and inspire learning in 11-18 year olds, will use the funding to reach at least 10,000 middle and high school students in Title I schools or low-income communities and offer them free usage of its program to create a culture of learning around inquiry, curiosity, and openness to failure.
Building on our long-term work in the family math movement, we provided a $250,000 grant to the National Association for Family, School, Community Engagement (NAFSCE), a national organization that advances policies and practices for family, school, and community engagement to promote child development and improve student achievement. NAFSCE will use the grant to assume leadership of the family math movement and create a strategic plan for a National Center on Family Math.
We awarded a $6 million grant to UPSTART to be distributed over four years with $3 million in year one and $1 million disbursements in subsequent years. UPSTART is an in-home, 15-minute-a-day online school readiness program for four-year-olds that incorporates parent coaching to support children’s foundational academic and cognitive skills. To respond to COVID-driven need, UPSTART created a three-month version of its 10-month model called UPSTART Summer Learning Path (or SLP); the program exceeded expectations for learning outcomes, with 86% of children reaching an average grade equivalence of what is expected at the beginning of Kindergarten. Our funding in 2021 will be used to scale UPSTART’s summer program to more states, helping with Kindergarten-readiness and learning loss recovery for children entering kindergarten next school year. UPSTART expects to reach over 216,000 families over the next four years.
A $4.5 million grant to Zearn over three years to expand and strengthen the quality and implementation of their digital K-8 math curriculum while increasing their impact at scale. Zearn’s high-quality digital math curriculum has demonstrated effectiveness across a variety of school and district settings, specifically for English Language Learners and students who have deep unfinished learnings from prior grade levels. Over the next three years, Zearn’s goal is to reach nearly 50% of the addressable K-5 market with 55%+ of high-fidelity users coming from Title-1 eligible schools.
We extended our partnership with Mind Research Institute/ST Math through a three-year grant of $3.75 million to improve and expand their K-8 supplemental offerings to more than 3 million students while also working on developing a core K-5 curriculum. ST Math is a personalized, research-based, supplemental digital K-8 math platform with the mission of ensuring that all students receive engaging, effective math education that empowers them for success in high school and beyond. Research shows that students who use ST Math gain an average of 3 months of additional math learning.
Based on TalkingPoints’ success as a pilot year grantee in the Early Impact portfolio, we provided them a $1.95 million grant over three years to expand their research capacity and better understand their impact while scaling to 9+ million families nationwide. TalkingPoints is a multilingual two-way communication platform for families and teachers that has shown an ability to improve teacher and families’ knowledge, capacity, and confidence in supporting student learning.
After a successful pilot grant period, we awarded Family Engagement Lab’s FASTalk with a two-year grant of $650,000. The funding will allow FASTalk, which offers parents and teachers two-way messaging with preloaded messages aligned to high-quality ELA curricula, to scale their platform to 180,000 students over the next two years. In past implementations, use of FASTalk resulted in two to three months of accelerated report card growth for English Language Learners and increased achievement for Kindergarten to 2nd grade students.
We’re extending our five-year partnership with Nurse-Family Partnership with a three-year grant of $2.2 million. The funds will be used to increase the number of low-income mothers receiving individualized support from NFP and Child First home visitors, leading to 139,000 families receiving services over the next three years. Nurse-Family Partnership implements two evidence-based home visiting models across the country: Nurse-Family Partnership, which reduces preterm birth and positively impacts healthy birth outcomes, and Child First, which reduces children’s mental health problems and language delays.
Based on Learn Fresh’s success as a pilot grantee in the Inspired Minds portfolio, we’ve provided them a two-year grant of $1.5 million for scaling NBA Math Hoops, a 12-week program of accuracy-based mini-games modeled after sports. 2019 data showed that NBA Math Hoops participants gained 33% in math fluency and 18% on a NAEP-aligned math assessment, and that participants were 30% more likely than a control group to report growth in key attributes like leadership, grit, and resilience. Learn Fresh will use the grant to expand access to the NBA Math Hoops program and digital game to reach 400,000 students through the core program and 150,000 through families. It will also work to validate the impact of the digital-only version of the program.
We gave Liberty Science Center a $100,000 one-year grant to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers and excite learners of all ages about the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology. LSC’s team of STEM educators provide tailored science programs to students and teachers onsite, offsite, and online, reaching over 500,000 learners annually.
A grant of $400,000 to Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth will support scholarships for almost 200 New Jersey students to attend CTY programs, subsidize Talent Search fees for 500 students, and initiate a three-year partnership with Newark Public Schools to design and deliver a professional development series for teachers, administrators, and parents on how to identify high-achieving students and provide differentiated instruction in and out of the classroom.
A one-year grant of $300,000 to Relay Graduate School of Education to reach over 1,000 school leaders through Relay’s school leadership supports. Relay offers many types of leadership programming, including fellowships, professional development experiences, and targeted coaching and support for sitting school and system leaders and teacher coaches at all points in their careers.
A grant of $100,000 to the Center for Public Research and Leadership to support research on schools and districts that align professional learning programs with the use of high-quality instructional materials to help students, families, and teachers advance learning through the pandemic. The goal of the project is to create at least four case studies that advance the field’s collective knowledge of promising practices in supporting children’s academic engagement and learning across modalities (remote, hybrid, in-person) through connections among family engagement, high-quality curriculum, and high-impact professional learning.
For the final year of a three-year investment, we provided $380,000 to RAND for the American Instructional Resources Surveys (AIRS) to enable the 2021 administration of the American Teacher Panel (over 10,000 teachers over 20+ states) and American School Leader Panel (nearly 5,000 leaders over 20+ states). These surveys have yielded compelling findings on how teachers and leaders use instructional materials, experience professional learning, and have adapted instruction during the pandemic.