In Q2 2021, our foundation awarded 29 grants totaling over 12 million dollars. Of these, 9 grants were new, while 20 were renewals. 

Our Q2 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.

Unlocking Innovation and Growth: New Grantees

New to the Early Impact portfolio is Reach Out and Read, which received a pilot grant of $250,000 to expand and improve infrastructure for measuring impact and fidelity across its network of 6,098 sites. Reach Out and Read, which integrates early relational health and literacy best practices into standard pediatric visits, expects to reach 4.6 million children in the next year and will be using the funding to ensure high quality and fidelity across its network of pediatric sites.

We’re excited to welcome Science Action Club to the Inspired Minds portfolio with a one-year pilot grant of $200,000 to support them in reaching 2,250 students, refining their revenue model, and developing a national ambassador network. Science Action Club supports STEM interest and STEM identity gains for students in grades 3-8 through a train-the-trainer model for afterschool and summer citizen science camps throughout the U.S. Participating in Science Action Club led to a 20% increase in youth that agreed with the statement “I am good at science” (53% to 73%) and an 8% increase (81% to 89%) in those who agreed that anyone can be good at science. 

Also new to the Inspired Minds portfolio is Imagine Science, which is receiving a $200,000 pilot grant to scale from 11 to 16 sites and reach ~4700 students in 13 cities. Imagine Science facilitates a council of the CEOs of YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, 4-H, and Girls Inc. to encourage their local sites to provide 15+ hours of STEM programming to build student STEM engagement, interest, and identity. This grant will also support the continuation of a research-practice partnership on STEM mindsets across sites.

The Inspired Minds portfolio also awarded the Association of Science & Technology Centers an eight month pilot grant of $100,000 to help STEM museums expand and improve their digital strategies. This information gathering and “listening” grant aims to assess the possibility of helping museums create sustainable digital strategies aligned with their education, public access, and equity goals.

Unlocking Innovation and Growth: Renewals

To expand on their successful work in family math, we’re excited to award a three-year grant of $1,950,000 to PBS SoCal at the Public Media Group of Southern California to expand Family Math programming in Southern California (Year 1), statewide (Year 2), and nationally by Year 3. PBS SoCal Family Math programming supports parents in introducing early math concepts into everyday activities with their children through free access to an array of bilingual multimedia tools and resources. This three-year grant will help PBS SoCal build and scale their digital and broadcast family math resources to reach two million children annually and deeply engage thousands of families in building math confidence and skills.

After an initial pilot grant period, we’re awarding a grant of $1,650,000 over three years to Camp Invention and Club Invention to support the organization in reaching 122,000 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 participating in just one week of Camp Invention programming results in statistically significant improvements in creativity, STEM interest, and the ability to use and apply problem-solving techniques.

As a follow-on to a 2020 pilot year grant, we’re supporting BellXcel with a two-year $2,000,000 grant to help them deliver their summer and afterschool program to an increasingly diverse partner portfolio serving 41,000 students. BellXcel will also use the funding to expand their evidence base on youth and educator outcomes and continue on a path to sustainability by increasing earned revenue. Students who participate in BellXcel’s academic recovery program have shown substantial gains in learning and self-confidence, including an average of two and a half months of math learning gains. BellXcel summer teachers were more likely than teachers nationally to report that their summer professional learning experiences helped them improve their use of student-centered practices during the school year.

A three-year grant of $1,500,000 to EiE, the curricula division of the Museum of Science Boston which our foundation has funded since 2018, will enable over 500,000 children to experience free, hands-on, research-based engineering activities with their families. These activities are expected to build children’s confidence, collaborative problem-solving skills, and understanding of engineering and computer science. The grant also supports a Strategic Data Project Fellow and impact evaluation through a randomized controlled trial.

As the second installment of our two-year investment, we’re providing $600,000 to PowerMyLearning to enable the team to conduct user research and prototype lighter touch family engagement tools as onramps to Family Playlists, use small randomized controlled trial data to demonstrate impact, and refine their marketing and sales approach. The funding includes support for a Strategic Data Project Fellow to validate hypotheses about user segmentation and needs. PowerMyLearning’s work with teachers and families has proven impact on student mastery and social-emotional learning skills; partner schools using Family Playlists have shown four additional months of learning.

A $434,500 grant to Urban Teachers to expand support of novice teachers through content- and grade-specific professional learning, which we expect to continue to increase educator retention. Of their most recent eligible class of first-year teachers, 78% of Urban Teachers entered their fifth year of teaching or school-based instructional leadership in SY20-21, which is two times the rate of local systems and significantly higher than teachers retained into their fifth year nationally. The grant will also fund a Strategic Data Project Fellow to work on strengthening the data on what early career teachers need most for effective teaching practice. 

A grant of $268,000 will support the National Museum of Mathematics, a long-time grantee, in continuing to reach a broad public audience and assess options for in-person versus online participation and visitation in a post-pandemic world.

Unlocking Evidence: Research Grantees

$3,000,000 over three years to the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington will support and disseminate groundbreaking research on early childhood brain development. I-LABS will use this funding to study the role of fathers’ speech in children’s language development, the extent to which parent participation in coaching leads to greater gains in children’s reading readiness, and the extent to which participation in music activities change infants’ brains, language, and executive function skills, among other topics. We expect this research to inform evidence-based parenting practices that reach an estimated one million families over three years. 

A combined grant of $678,288 to Barnard College and the University of Chicago will support the development, implementation, and evaluation of MathMatch, a second grade math tutoring intervention that will pair 80 college student tutors with 240 local students. By the end of this grant, we expect to learn whether college students can be trained to be effective out-of-school tutors, whether this tutoring is more effective in-person or virtually, and whether Pirate Math is an impactful tutoring math curriculum in this context.

Strengthening the Ecosystem

Due to their success at improving decision-making and curricula through reviews of K-12 instructional materials, we’re excited to provide a new grant of $1,000,000 over two years to EdReports to increase uptake to 2.9 million users, 19+ states, and 97 of largest 200 districts. Our grant will allow EdReports to build on existing services and audiences by expanding the definition of “quality materials” to provide more information to educators, inclusive of multilingual learners and student engagement. We expect at least five publishers to improve their products as a result of this grant, as well as several states and districts to improve their materials selection practices.

A two-year grant of $700,000 to Chiefs for Change, which we’ve funded since 2017, to continue supporting current and future state education chiefs in advocating for the adoption of high-quality instructional materials in their schools. The grant will allow Chiefs for Change to provide coaching and professional learning aligned to fidelity of implementation of high-quality instructional materials and alignment of assessments across state and district education systems that include more than seven million students, 454,000 teachers, and 14,000 schools. 

A two-year grant of $700,000 to support Ed Trust’s research and advocacy work, which we’ve funded since 2017. We expect this grant to influence federal and state policy related to improving equity in education by addressing unfinished learning; early childhood education; educator diversity; and student access to safe, equitable, and positive learning environments.