In Q3 2023, our foundation awarded 46 grants totaling over $19 million. Of these, two were to organizations new to our foundation, eight were renewals, 16 were disbursements for ongoing pledges, and 20 covered additional grantee supports, membership fees, and convenings.
Our third quarter grantmaking focuses on identifying and fueling the scale of cost-effective programs and solutions that accelerate improvement in key academic and socioemotional outcomes for all children. As always, we place an emphasis on grantmaking and strategic support that unlock innovation, evidence, and growth for our grantees.
Below, we highlight just some of the direct impact and ecosystem organizations we’re proud to support this quarter.
Unlocking Innovation and Growth (Direct Impact Grantees)
A one-year pilot grant of $300,000 to Raising a Reader, an organization that supports families of children ages zero to eight in developing reading routines through borrowed books. New to the Early Impact portfolio, Raising a Reader will use this pilot year funding to scale its program to 160,000 families, while amplifying its impact by improving support for its affiliate sites. As a result of participating in Raising a Reader programs, we expect children to have greater access to books, families to engage in more and higher-quality shared reading behaviors, and children to demonstrate greater literacy skills.
MULTI-YEAR GRANTEES (NEW GRANTS AND ONGOING PLEDGES)
$6,000,000 over three years to Khan Academy, which offers a comprehensive online library of standards-aligned content from preschool through college. Khan will use the funding to increase the usage of its platform, thereby scaling its impact, and to generate evidence of Khanmigo, its generative AI tutor and teaching aide. By the end of this grant, we expect millions of K-12 students to engage in more than 30 minutes of Khan Academy per week, accelerating their math learning and leading to gains in math outcomes.
$3,000,000 (year two of a three-year grant) to Springboard Collaborative, a family engagement program that helps teachers and families work together to help children read on grade level. Springboard will use this funding to continue scaling its Flagship and hybrid Springboard Learning Accelerator (SLA) models to over 110,000 students by 2025, delivering between 2.3-3.1 months of reading growth during the five-week program.
$1,500,000 (year three of a three-year grant) 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 will use the funding to continue optimizing its model through technology, grow its technical assistance program to 20 districts, and share best practices with the field to effectively scale high-impact tutoring nationwide. This year’s grant will help Saga directly reach 4,700 students and indirectly reach tens of thousands of students in SY 2023-24.
$1,500,000 (year two of a three-year grant) to LENA to further its work in promoting adult-child interactions and improving children’s early language development through “talk pedometer” technology and coaching programs for families and early educators. Our funding will support LENA in growing its direct professional development programs while maintaining impact, and using its data and research on early language development to advocate for systemic change. By 2025, we expect that LENA programs for parents, caregivers, and early educators will reach 85,000 children and accelerate children’s language development by an average of 20 percentile points.
$1,000,000 (year two of a three-year grant) to Public Impact’s Opportunity Culture, which restructures Pre-K–12 schools to extend the reach of excellent teachers and their teams to more students, for more pay, within existing budgets. By 2025, we expect Public Impact to support over 2,700 schools in implementing innovative staffing models that reach over 10,000 educators and 265,000 students, and to use its new online platform to provide low-cost design services that states can make available to all schools. Previous research has shown that Opportunity Culture teachers moved from producing 50th percentile student learning growth to 77th percentile, on average, equating to an extra half year of learning for students each year in reading and math.
$1,000,000 (year two of a three-year grant) to Reach Out and Read, which integrates early relational health and literacy best practices into standard pediatric visits. Reach Out and Read will use this funding to increase its scale while deepening impact, reaching an estimated 13.5 million children over three years. A new study based on parent surveys from 2014 to 2019 in North and South Carolina found that caregivers who were exposed to Reach Out and Read were 27 percent more likely to report reading or looking at books every day with their child, and 26 to 71 percent more likely to say they performed commonly recommended reading activities than caregivers who were not exposed to the program.
$750,000 over three years to FIRST®, an organization that runs robotics programs and competitions paired with adult mentoring to help students build critical thinking, coding, and design skills. A grantee since 2017, FIRST will use the funding to continue scaling its programs while making improvements to its digital infrastructure, ultimately allowing it to grow faster and more efficiently. By 2026, we expect FIRST to engage over 500,000 students, increasing STEM interest, likelihood of declaring a STEM-related major, and participation in a STEM career.
$750,000 (year two of a two-year grant) to ParentCorps, an enhancement to traditional Pre-K in historically disinvested neighborhoods that helps educators develop strong, authentic relationships with families so that all children can thrive in school and beyond. Distributed via NYU Langone Health, this grant will support ParentCorps’ continued growth beyond New York City, including codifying its business model and implementing its program in two to five new locations.
$650,000 (year three of a three-year grant) to PBS SoCal at the Public Media Group of Southern California to support the continued growth of family math content and workshops. By building new partnerships and continuing to co-design content with families, over the next year PMG SoCal expects to reach two million children and deeply engage thousands of families with workshops and events that increase math confidence and skills. The organization will also seek to evaluate the impact of family math resources and expand its field leadership in family math. Since beginning its partnership with Overdeck Family Foundation, PMG SoCal has grown its reach exponentially, reaching 1.8 million families and 2.9 million children in 2022, versus 13,000 and 106,000 in 2020 respectively. It has also increased the effectiveness of its family math workshops, increasing math confidence by nine percent and math positivity by seven percent.
$500,000 (year three of a three-year grant) to EiE, the curricula division of the Museum of Science, Boston, to enable over 500,000 children ages four to 11 to experience free, hands-on, research-based engineering activities with their families. This funding will support EiE’s continued scale and research of its family resources, which are designed to build children’s confidence, collaborative problem-solving skills, and understanding of STEM disciplines. Over the past year, EiE has taken measurable steps to improve program effectiveness, create new content, and grow its reach, while exceeding goals for program quality. Internal evaluations show that 90 percent of families and educators said EiE activities supported families’ understanding of engineering, 96 percent said they supported families’ understanding of computer science, and 90 percent reported growing awareness of career opportunities in STEM.
$500,000 (year two of a two-year grant) to Centering Healthcare Institute, an organization that trains, accredits, and supports medical practices in using group-based prenatal and pediatric care strategies that are shown to improve childhood birth outcomes and increase developmental and postpartum screening. Centering will use the funding to provide services to 90,000 families while improving their data collection and policy capacities.
$350,000 over six months to the National Museum of Mathematics (MoMath), a long-time grantee, to support the museum in continuing its innovative math-centric programming and fundraising for ongoing operations and expansion.
$300,000 to DiscoverE (year two of a two-year grant) to help scale its engineering-based competition, Future City, to 70,000 students. Students who participate in Future City report positive impact, with 80 percent saying they increased their understanding of engineering and 77 percent saying they were exposed to new STEM content. DiscoverE, which served 67,000 students in SY 2022-23 (nearly 1.5x its goal), will use the funding to plan for a validation study, develop a more sustainable revenue model, and pilot a high school version of Future City.
$300,000 (year two of a two-year grant) to Project for Education Research that Scales (PERTS) to support the scaling and implementation of its Elevate Platform, which is designed to help teachers solicit real-time feedback on student engagement through indicators that predict student academic outcomes. PERTS will use this grant to expand the reach of the Elevate Platform to 160,000 students and 3,200 teachers by 2024, resulting in 80 percent of teachers meaningfully improving practices that are leading indicators of student academic success and engagement. By the end of the grant, we hope to understand which learning conditions educators should prioritize to maximize student outcomes, and what practices and structures enable individual educators and teams of educators to make significant progress in establishing those conditions.
$143,000 to Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth (CTY) to complete a three-year pilot in Newark, New Jersey. The organization will use the funding to continue providing high-quality professional development to teachers in Newark Public Schools and to build a sustainable gifted education program in the district. Additionally, CTY will provide services to increase educators’ knowledge on how to differentiate instruction for students with advanced talent.
Unlocking Evidence: RESEARCH and FIELD BUILDING
Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.
$1,500,000 over two years to EdReports, a national leader in identifying and supporting the selection of quality, standards-aligned instructional materials. EdReports will use the funding to continue increasing the adoption of high-quality instructional materials and grow its state and district technical assistance contracts, reaching 4.7 million users. The organization will also build infrastructure to expand its reviews to include Pre-K curricula. Since the launch of its first reviews in 2015, EdReports has impacted nearly 16 million students in more than 1,400 districts, and influenced more than 40 publishers to improve their materials.
$1,055,000 (year three of a three-year grant) to the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington to support and disseminate groundbreaking research on early childhood brain development. I-LABS has published several findings during the course of this grant, including:
- Dual-MEG Interbrain Synchronization During Turn-Taking Verbal Interactions Between Mothers and Children
- Language Experience During Infancy Predicts White Matter Myelination at Age Two
- Language Input in Late Infancy Scaffolds Emergent Literacy Skills and Predicts Reading-Related White Matter Development
$1,000,000 (year two of a five-year grant) to the Robin Hood Fund for Early Learning (FUEL) to support early language and social-emotional development for zero- to three-year-olds living in poverty in New York City by building public-private partnerships that improve core city services. By 2027, we expect programs funded by FUEL to reach 120,000 children, resulting in children who are better served by public systems, better supported at home and in other childcare settings, better prepared for kindergarten, and better poised for economic mobility from poverty.
$600,000 to Afterschool Alliance and $175,000 to STEM Education Coalition Policy Forum to support technical assistance and grants for seven Statewide Afterschool Networks. This funding will help Statewide Afterschool Networks build, grow, or develop state funding streams and policy agendas that advance out-of-school STEM learning in their state. Over the past two years, the Afterschool Alliance and the STEM Education Coalition Policy Forum supported 13 Statewide Afterschool Networks in their efforts to improve quality and access for out-of-school STEM initiatives and elevate the importance of out-of-school STEM in statewide and national conversations. Their efforts contributed to the allocation of millions of dollars of new funding for afterschool and summer STEM programs in nine of the states and the development of new STEM programs in the other four.
$400,000 (year two of a two-year grant) to Imagine Science to support the organization in reaching 21 communities where it will help local chapters of the YMCA, Boys & Girls Club, 4-H, and Girls Inc. collaborate to deliver high-quality STEM learning experiences to over 7,000 kids. Imagine Science will also extend its reach through 15 additional partnerships, sharing best practices in out-of-school time STEM with the wider field. The organization is on track to be in 36 communities by the end of the grant term, a three-fold increase from the 2022 baseline of 12 communities. We expect 70 percent of participants at Imagine Science sites to increase their STEM engagement.
A one-year pilot grant of $300,000 to the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), a nonpartisan research and policy group that focuses on issues of teacher quality. NCTQ will use the funding to craft data-driven policy recommendations and develop field resources that highlight opportunities and strategies to advance differentiated staffing models in order to attract and retain great teachers.
$84,140 (year two of a two-year grant) to support Dr. Abbie Raikes at the University of Nebraska in validating and building the infrastructure for scaling the Birth-to-5 (B-5) scale, a new population-level measure of child development from birth to age five. 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.