In Q3 2022, our foundation awarded 23 grants totaling over $13 million dollars. Of these, six grants were new, 11 were renewals, and six were disbursements for ongoing pledges.
Our third 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 this quarter.
Unlocking Innovation and Growth (Direct Impact Grantees)
New to the Inspired Minds portfolio is Science Buddies, a nonprofit that provides nearly five million students free online guides and resources for hands-on science projects. Science Buddies, which received a pilot year grant of $150,000, provides hundreds of guides for high-quality science experiments and a Bayesian recommender selection wizard to help students find the projects that reflect their interests. The organization will use the pilot year funding to develop systems that better capture data to understand student impact, diversify their funding streams, and grow their reach to 5.7 million students.
MULTI-YEAR GRANTEES (NEW GRANTS AND ONGOING PLEDGES)
A three-year grant of $4,605,000 in general operating support to LENA to further their work at using coaching to improve the key outcome of early language development. LENA uses its “talk pedometer” technology and strengths-based coaching programs for families and early educators to improve young children’s early language development. Our funding will support LENA to continue increasing impact, reach, and evidence of efficacy, while decreasing cost. By 2025, we expect that LENA programs for parents, caregivers, and early educators will reach 85,000 children per year and accelerate children’s language development by an average of 20 percentile points. Early language development is a key predictor of kindergarten readiness and impacts social-emotional development, executive function, and literacy in the early years.
A grant of $3,000,000 over three years to Reach Out and Read, a pilot grantee in 2021. Reach Out and Read, which integrates early relational health and literacy best practices into standard pediatric visits, was able to reach over four million children over its pilot year, with 77 percent of well-child visits incorporating books and literacy practices. Over the next three years, the organization will aim to bring its program to 27 million well-child visits, growing to serve almost 4.7 million children by adding affiliate and regional offices and implementing quality measures across sites.
A three-year grant of $3,000,000 to Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture initiative, which restructures Pre-K–12 schools to extend the reach of excellent teachers and principals to more students. Overdeck Family Foundation has funded Opportunity Culture since 2016, helping the initiative reach over 15,000 teachers and resulting in an average of an additional half a year of student learning per year. This new grant will support Public Impact in innovating its Opportunity Culture model to offer two lower cost and less intensive models, which should reduce the district implementation cost and bring differentiated staffing to over 2,700 schools and 10,000 teachers, increasing annual student learning by an additional half a year for 265,000 students.
Year two of a three-year grant ($2,000,000) to Saga Education, a national leader in high-impact, in-school tutoring that helps students gain up to a 2.5x growth in math skills in one academic year. Saga, which we’ve funded since 2017, will use this grant to continue their blended-learning validation study, optimize their low-cost tutoring model, and share best practices with policymakers and administrators to rapidly scale tutoring nationwide. By 2024, we expect our grant to help Saga directly serve 40,000 middle school and high school students with high-dosage math tutoring, and reach over 100,000 through field building and district partnerships, leading to at least a 2x growth in math skills.
A two-year grant of $2,087,500 to ParentCorps, an enhancement to traditional Pre-K that supports social-emotional learning by strengthening educators’ capacity to engage with families in historically disinvested neighborhoods. This general operating support grant, distributed via NYU Langone Health, will support ParentCorps to continue expanding to new geographies, growing from three to 10 cities and reaching 17,000 Pre-K students through its programs for students, parents, and teachers. ParentCorps will also continue validating unbundled components of its full model as it aims to codify its approach to growth. Since Overdeck Family Foundation began funding ParentCorps in 2015, the organization has achieved 70x growth in terms of reach and secured $25 million from the NYC Department of Education.
$1,035,000 over two years to Centering Healthcare Institute, an organization that trains, accredits, and supports medical practices in using innovative group-based prenatal and pediatric care practices. Centering will use the funding to deepen and grow its impact in the evolving healthcare environment, build data and policy capacity going forward, and prioritize retention for sites that saw Covid-induced pausing of services. We expect our funding to help the organization provide services to 90,000 families and positively impact outcomes directly linked to school readiness, including healthier birth outcomes, increased developmental and postpartum screening, and on-time immunizations.
Year two of a three-year grant ($695,500) to PBS SoCal at the Public Media Group of Southern California to expand on their successful work in family math. 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. In the first year of the grant, PBS SoCal expanded the reach and effectiveness of their family math offerings, reaching over 2.7 million children and increasing parental math confidence by 11 percent through family workshops and 21 percent through Digital Academy participants.
Year two of a three-year grant ($535,000) to EiE, the curricula division of the Museum of Science Boston, will enable over 500,000 children ages four to 11 to experience free, hands-on, research-based engineering activities with their families. In addition to growing EiE’s reach, the funding will support a Strategic Data Project Fellow and impact evaluation through a randomized controlled trial. The goal is to help EiE measure the impact of its activities on children’s and families’ excitement about STEM, sense that they can engineer, and knowledge of engineering.
Year two of a three-year grant ($321,000) to Education Resource Strategies (ERS), to build and refine tools that support district, state, and school leaders in investing in strategic resources that address the immediate teaching shortages while improving the teaching profession for the long-term, thereby improving educational experiences and outcomes for students. The grant also supports the dissemination of these resources to district leaders nationwide, influencing decision-making in 150 districts representing 700,000 teachers and 12 million students.
$250,000 over six months to the Museum of Mathematics, the only museum in North America to focus exclusively on the beauty and wonder of mathematics, to support building administrative, technical, and instructional capacity, secure new exhibit space, and continue physical and digital programs to reach 8,000 students.
A grant of $143,000 to support the second year of a three-year grant to Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) to provide professional development to teachers in Newark Public Schools. Through this grant, CTY aims to increase teachers’ baseline knowledge about gifted education and students with advanced talent and build teacher capacity to differentiate instruction for equity and optimal challenge.
Unlocking Evidence: RESEARCH and FIELD BUILDING
Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.
A $1,000,000 grant over two years to Imagine Science to follow up on a successful pilot year and help the organization scale from 11 to 16 communities, reach over 10,000 students, and transition three sites into self-sustaining operation. 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 for students in grades four through eight. We expect that 60-65 percent of participants at Imagine Science sites will increase STEM career interest and 70 percent will increase STEM engagement.
Year two of a three-year grant ($1,128,850 disbursement) to the Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington to support and disseminate groundbreaking research on early childhood brain development. I-LABS is using 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 music activities, social interaction, and touch affects infants’ brains, language, and executive function skills. Preliminary findings to-date include:
- positive signs that Pre-K children can develop key reading skills in a virtual classroom, and
- the importance of paternal (father) parentese in children’s linguistic development.
We expect this research to inform evidence-based parenting practices that reach an estimated 250,000 families over the three-year grant cycle.
A grant of $250,000 to the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to support a sub-prize for the middle school science Learning Acceleration Challenge. We expect this grant to incentivize out-of-school STEM programs to participate in the competition and spur new thinking about how to improve middle school student performance in science. The winning program is selected on the basis of a combined score on efficacy, usability, and cost-effectiveness.
A grant of $230,000 to the Research and Development Council of New Jersey to support the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (NJSPN) and their work with the six existing STEM ecosystems in New Jersey. NJSPN will work to build ecosystem capacity and grow the network through the addition of three new ecosystems.
A renewal grant of $165,000 over two years to Dr. Abbie Raikes at the University of Nebraska to support the validation and infrastructure needed to house and grow a new population-level measure of child development from birth to age five (B-5). This project was launched and is supported by Overdeck Family Foundation, Buffett Early Childhood Fund, Imaginable Futures, Pritzker Foundation, and Valhalla Foundation. By the end of the grant, we hope to see increased awareness and use of the B-5 scale among early childhood stakeholders, with the ultimate goal of increasing data-driven decision-making for young children.