In Q2 2022, our foundation awarded 30 grants totaling over $12.5 million dollars. Of these, 13 grants were new and 17 were renewals.
Our second quarter grantmaking aligns with our updated funding model, which focuses our work on identifying and fueling the scale of cost-effective programs and solutions that accelerate improvement in key academic and socioemotional outcomes for all children. Inspired by venture philanthropy, the model puts an emphasis on grantmaking and strategic support that unlock innovation, evidence, and growth.
Below we highlight just some of the many direct impact and ecosystem organizations we’re proud to support in the second quarter.
Unlocking Innovation and Growth (Direct Impact Grantees)
We’re thrilled to welcome the Next Education Workforce initiative at Arizona State University’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College to the Exceptional Educators portfolio with a one-year pilot grant of $300,000. The initiative challenges the notion of the one-teacher, one-classroom staffing model by building teams of educators with distributed expertise, and empowering educators through new opportunities to specialize and advance in the profession. Next Education Workforce will use our funding to codify their models, and demonstrate evidence of impact to support scaling and replicability, increasing reach by 48 percent to 40 schools by the end of FY 2023.
Also in the Exceptional Educators portfolio, CenterPoint Education Solutions received a one-year pilot grant of $250,000 to improve data capacity to better understand impact as the organization scales. CenterPoint offers rigorous assessments for grades K-11 aligned to high-quality instructional materials, in addition to professional learning that increases assessment literacy. With this grant, CenterPoint will grow to reach 400,000 students and 22,000 teachers in the coming year, resulting in increased teacher use of formative and interim assessment data to inform their instruction.
Additionally, new to the Exceptional Educators portfolio with a one-year pilot grant of $175,000, is Substantial, which offers practical solutions—SubSchool and SubPlans—that improve the overall substitute teaching experience. Substantial will use this grant to validate their tools and develop new prototypes, ultimately expanding their reach by 52 percent to more than 900,000 students through 1,885 substitute teachers.
In our Innovative Schools portfolio, we welcomed UPchieve with a pilot grant of $300,000 over one year. This on-demand, free, 1:1 virtual tutoring platform focuses on serving all low-income high school students in the U.S. in grades 8-12. We expect that by summer 2023, this funding will help UPchieve expand their capacity to serve middle school students by launching tutoring subjects in 8th grade math, and increasing their internal capacity to collect and measure student data. We anticipate that this increased data collection capacity will prepare UPchieve to launch a research study in the 2023-24 school year.
We awarded a one-year pilot grant of $200,000 to FluentSeeds within the Early Impact grantmaking portfolio. FluentSeeds is an evidence-based professional development organization that combines training and materials, coaching, and parent education, emphasizing quality interactions and kindergarten-readiness. Randomized controlled trials and quasi-experimental studies conducted 2017-21 revealed that children participating in SEEDS acquired gains of up to eight months of additional learning. We anticipate this funding will help FluentSeeds improve their sales and marketing capabilities to grow their reach by 30 percent year over year to 27,300 children.
MULTI-YEAR GRANTEES (NEW GRANTS AND ONGOING PLEDGES)
$1.5 million over one year to Zearn (year two of a three-year pledge), a high-quality digital math curriculum that has demonstrated effectiveness across a variety of schools/district settings, specifically for English Language Learners and students who have deep unfinished learnings from prior grade levels. We expect our funding to support the growth, improvement, and external evaluation of Zearn’s K-5 curriculum, completion of their middle school curriculum, and internal capacity building to increase scale, reach, and earned revenue, while maintaining high impact for students. Overdeck Family Foundation made an additional contribution for Zearn to work with EdSolutions to build market knowledge and support strategic planning.
$1.25 million over one year to ST Math (year two of a three-year pledge), 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. Our funding will support ST Math to continue to increase the effectiveness and usability of their supplemental offerings, and position ST Math for the successful development of a core K-5 curriculum.
A $1 million grant to BellXcel (year two of a two-year pledge) to continue supporting the organization in delivering their summer and afterschool program to an increasingly diverse partner portfolio serving 75,000 students. BellXcel will also use the funding to continue to increase earned revenue and expand their evidence base on youth and educator outcomes. In summer 2021, BellXcel rapidly grew their reach by 53,000 students during summer 2021 and maintained a high level of impact, with 81-84 percent of participating families reported their child’s growth in key socioemotional domains. Students who pre-tested below 40th and 10th percentiles gained two and 2.5 months of math skills, respectively.
$1.3 million over two years to Tools of the Mind, a grantee since 2021 that provides high-quality teacher professional development and aligned curriculum to support the development of executive function skills for Pre-K and kindergarten children. Tools of the Mind will use our funding to improve their capabilities for sales, marketing, and impact measurement. After seeing a 36 percent increase in reach during the pilot year, we expect the organization to reach 80,000 kids over the next two years, while reducing the average cost per child and improving the executive function skills of Tools’ children.
$550,000 over one year to the National Inventors Hall of Fame’s Camp InventionⓇ (year two of a three-year pledge) to continue to support the organization in reaching 130,000 students in summer and afterschool programming through scholarships and deeper family engagement. Each year, Camp Invention develops and tests a new hands-on camp program aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and invention-based learning to get campers thinking, moving, exploring and creating. Research shows that one week of Camp Invention translates to gains on the MAP math assessment and increased school attendance for students who were previously at risk.
A grant of $351,350 over five months to the New Jersey Tutoring Corps to continue to address academic learning gaps by offering small-group, high-dosage math and literacy tutoring in grades K-5 across the state of New Jersey. The Tutoring Corps was launched during the summer of 2021 by Overdeck Family Foundation in partnership with the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund, The College of New Jersey, the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey, and the Y Alliance of New Jersey. In its pilot, the program effectively increased participants’ math proficiency and excitement for math, as well as grew tutors’ knowledge and understanding of math instruction and teaching practice.
Unlocking Evidence: RESEARCH and FIELD BUILDING
Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.
We have been funding the Robin Hood FUND FOR EARLY LEARNING (FUEL) since 2016, and are looking forward to continuing our support with a grant of $5 million over five years to expand the reach of FUEL’s partnerships with public systems and evidence-based programs. In the first phase of this outcomes-driven initiative, FUEL reached over 67,000 children three-and-under living below the poverty line in New York City, and by 2025, we expect these programs will reach 120,000 children. FUEL was first launched in 2016 with a mandate to help transform New York City into an “early learning metropolis,” and has since partnered with local agencies that support young children, advanced new research, and committed $50 million in investments to partner organizations.
A grant of $500,000 to EdReports (year two of a two-year pledge), a national leader in identifying and supporting the selection of quality, standards-aligned instructional materials. Our grant will continue to support the expansion of EdReports’s impact by helping to improve programs and increase educator usage by 32 percent to 2.9 million unique users. Additionally, the organization will use these funds to build on existing services and audiences by expanding the definition of “quality materials,” and will continue to provide needed support to states and districts as they navigate curriculum priorities, increasing the number of state partnerships in the largest 200 school districts.
A grant of $350,000 to Chiefs for Change (year two of a two-year pledge) to support current and future education chiefs to adopt high-quality curriculum materials and aligned professional learning, and to advocate for the spread of innovative practices that are working. Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit, bipartisan network of state and district education chiefs focused on advocacy, leadership development, and member supports. This funding will help to cultivate the next generation of innovative education chiefs, impacting 7 million students, 454,000 teachers, and 14,000 schools nationwide.
A one-year grant of $250,000 to Teach Plus, an organization that elevates excellent teachers, helping them to share their voice, and supporting them to become confident advocating for changes for teachers in policymaking forums. With this grant, Teach Plus will train and support 50 teacher leaders to give public testimony to increase public awareness around differentiated staffing models and the need for more creative teacher staffing practices.
A three-year grant of $750,000 to The Research Partnership for Professional Learning (RPPL), a research-practice partnership committed to advancing the collective understanding of how to support teacher professional learning that leads to equitable student outcomes for historically marginalized students. This grant will support the creation and execution of a randomized controlled trial designed to understand if curriculum-based professional learning can improve teacher practice and student achievement, and which approaches are the most effective. We expect this research to be shared widely across the RPPL community and improve professional learning practices in at least 50 affiliate partner organizations.
A one-year grant of $210,000 to the research organization RAND Corporation to survey principals and superintendents, and to conduct interviews with survey respondents, to learn about their priorities and decision-making around partnerships with out-of-school STEM organizations. We expect that these findings will help out-of-school STEM organizations more effectively partner with schools and districts, increase the number and quality of district partnerships, and attract additional funding for these organizations.
A two-year grant of $400,000 to Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University. Annenberg Institute, which strives to equalize and improve educational opportunities, will use this funding to conduct a randomized controlled trial that validates the effectiveness of OnYourMark’s high-impact virtual tutoring in elementary schools, and determines the conditions for virtual tutoring success, ensuring that timely research is available for district leaders and policymakers.
A one-year grant of $200,000 to Results for America (RFA), a recognized leader in the movement to promote evidence-based policies and solutions in government. RFA and Annenberg Institute launched EdResearch for Recovery to generate accessible evidence syntheses addressing pressing questions faced by education policymakers and practitioners as they responded to COVID-19. Our grant will support the next phase of the EdResearch for Recovery initiative, including the production of new research briefs as well as complementary resources and partnerships that support districts and states to actionize findings.
A 10-month grant of $125,000 to Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit focused on improving education and life outcomes for underserved children, to support the generation of evidence focused on creative and differentiated staffing. Bellwether Education Partners will use this grant to develop a toolkit for school leaders, empowering them with the resources and knowledge to creatively address staffing and talent gaps in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.