In Q4 2022, our foundation awarded 24 grants totaling over $9.56 million dollars. Of these, five grants were new, 10 were renewals, and nine were disbursements for ongoing pledges.
Our fourth 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 as we conclude our 2022 grantmaking.
Unlocking Innovation and Growth: Direct Impact Grantees
MULTI-YEAR GRANTEES (NEW GRANTS AND ONGOING PLEDGES)
A grant of $7,000,000 over three years to Springboard Collaborative to scale a family engagement program that helps teachers and parents work together to ensure kids read on grade level. Overdeck Family Foundation began funding Springboard Collaborative in 2018, and has helped the organization grow their reach by over 300 percent, innovate to create a lower-cost hybrid model of their traditional program, complete a quasi-experimental study proving impact of their two offerings, and attract public and private funding. We expect this grant to help Springboard Collaborative reach over 110,000 students, and deliver an average of 3.1 months of reading growth in five weeks for students participating in the Flagship model and 2.3 months of reading growth in five weeks for students in the hybrid Springboard Learning Accelerator (SLA) model. Additionally, Springboard Collaborative will use the funding to continue improving and strengthening the evidence base for SLA.
A disbursement of $1,666,667 for year two of a three-year grant to the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund to support efforts to scale three to five evidence-based tech-enabled models to 19 million students by 2025. The Learning + Technology Fund has seen several wins over the past few years, including attracting nearly $42 million in follow-on funding to their investments and reaching all 800,000 New York City kindergarten through eighth graders with tech-enabled learning models. This grant will allow the Fund to continue generating evidence for and funding the most impactful models, as well as improving enabling conditions for those models to scale nationally.
Year two of a three-year grant ($1,070,000 disbursement) to Teaching Lab, an organization that leverages technology to provide research-based professional learning aligned with high-quality instructional materials. Teaching Lab will use the funding to scale its program to 15,000 teachers and over one million students by 2023-24, while building internal capacity to deliver high-quality professional learning services at scale. Over the past year, Teaching Lab has exceeded their reach goals by close to 15 percent, reaching 7,600 educators through partnerships with over 50 school systems that serve over 460,000 students. Their impact continues to be strong: in the 2020-21 school year, classrooms run by Teaching Lab-educated teachers saw 48 percent of ELA students and 62 percent of math students demonstrate mastery on grade-level assignments, versus the national benchmark of 17 percent.
Year two of a three-year grant ($749,000 disbursement) to Leading Educators, which works with school systems to design research-based and curriculum-aligned cycles of professional learning that are embedded into the school year. Leading Educators will use this funding to scale their professional learning model from 14 to 26 school systems by the 2023-24 school year, reaching over 4,500 educators and 210,000 students, with significant improvements in student learning. In year one of the grant, Leading Educators reached 178,000 students through their coaching and direct service work. A new long-term study of four school systems across a four-year period found that Leading Educators’ support for teachers and school leaders significantly improved students’ math and ELA proficiency by 28 and 17 percent, respectively.
A $600,000 grant over two years to DiscoverE, a pilot grantee in 2021. DiscoverE leads Future City, a four-month long STEM afterschool program for grades six through eight in which students develop a model of a city addressing global challenges like access to drinking water, clean energy, and food scarcity in innovative ways. Future City will use this funding to grow student reach to 99,000 students cumulatively over two years, increase earned revenue, and measure their impact on student STEM mindsets and self-efficacy. During their pilot year, Future City was able to make key investments in their marketing capacity, leading to higher demand and registrations than expected. Ninety-two percent of educators said Future City helped their students improve problem-solving skills and 84 percent said students gained familiarity with STEM concepts to which they are not normally exposed.
A one-year renewal of $250,000 to the New Jersey Tutoring Corps to support the 2022-23 school-year and 2023 summer high-dosage tutoring programs, which will reach 4,500 students with math and ELA tutoring. In both summers of programming and the 2021-22 school year program, the Tutoring Corps showed an increase from pre- to post-assessment across all grades and units, ranging from 13 percentage points to 69 percentage points (depending on grade and program). New Jersey Tutoring Corps will use the funding to continue developing and improving their model as they move to an independent organization.
A one-year renewal of $250,000 to Students 2 Science to support the expansion and evaluation of the synchronous remote learning (V-Lab) program in New Jersey. This funding will support Students 2 Science in reaching more than 60,000 students through 3,000 V-Labs, while also measuring the impact of these programs on student’s STEM interests and skills. Over the past several years, Students 2 Science has quickly expanded their V-Lab program, filling a need for instruction and materials in schools without robust science programming.
$250,000 over one year to FIRST® an organization that delivers robotics programs paired with adult mentoring to help children build critical thinking, coding, and design skills. We expect this grant to support FIRST LEGO® League and FIRST Tech Challenge to grow student reach by 35 percent, as well as prepare FIRST for a digital transformation, which would increase accessibility of their STEM programs. A 96-month follow-up of a longitudinal study showed FIRST participants continue to hold more STEM-related interests and attitudes eight years later when compared to a matched comparison group from their math/science classes.
Unlocking Evidence: Research and Field Building
Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.
As follow-on to a pilot grant, a two-year grant of $1,000,000 to the EdTech Evidence Exchange project at InnovateEDU, which aims to improve district purchasing of edtech by synthesizing and contextualizing educator feedback on edtech usage and implementation. During their pilot year, the Exchange exceeded expectations for educator engagement and report generation, turning feedback from 1,250 educators into reports for 34 edtech products. Seventy-five percent of the educators on the platform said they believed it would be useful for decision making. Over the next two years, the Exchange will crowd-source quantitative, context-specific implementation insights on K-8 edtech tools from 4,000 additional educators, with at least 70 percent of participants identifying the data as useful for decision-making.
A disbursement of $700,000 for year two of a three-year grant to Transcend to support 100 schools in developing learning environments that integrate high-quality edtech solutions. In year one, Transcend partnered with 69 schools to implement blended learning practices and developed strategic partnerships within the education ecosystem to help develop favorable conditions that allow for successful integration of technology into school design. Over the course of this grant, we expect Transcend’s work to reach over 75,000 students and build infrastructure to disseminate evidence on the impact of high-quality edtech solutions on student outcomes.
A disbursement of $535,000 for year two of a two-year grant to Afterschool Alliance, which uses communications and advocacy strategies to increase public and private investment in afterschool programs. Over the past year, advocates in afterschool networks saw an additional $27 million of funding across four states, expanding access to high-quality afterschool STEM programs for an estimated 25,000 students. By the end of this grant, Afterschool Alliance aims to support advocates in securing up to $40 million in federal and state funding toward STEM learning outside of the school day, creating access for up to 50,000 students and doubling the number of states that have sustained funding streams for out-of-school STEM to 10. As part of this initiative, an additional disbursement of $175,000 for year two of a two-year grant went to the STEM Education Coalition Policy Forum to collaborate with Afterschool Alliance on the above project and promote opportunities to improve science education.
A $250,000 disbursement for year three of a three-year grant to Brown University in support of the American Opportunity Study, an initiative to digitize and link 70 years of Census Bureau data to enable new research on social and economic mobility. To date, the project team has completed 50 percent of the scanning and begun data linkage. In the coming year, the team will complete scans of the 1960 and 1980 census reels and launch a public-facing website to share information about the project and results from the work.
A one-year grant of $200,000 to National PTA, an advocacy association for family engagement, will help them better understand district demand for evidence-based family engagement programs, which will feed into the development of a Family Engagement Program Clearinghouse. By the end of the grant, we hope to learn which factors are most important to districts when identifying family engagement programs and to have a working prototype of the Clearinghouse to pilot in 2023. Ultimately, the Clearinghouse should help districts more efficiently allocate funds earmarked for family engagement to organizations that have a proven impact on student outcomes.
$133,500 for year two of a two-year grant to Transcend to support the efforts of The Canopy Project in advancing fieldwide knowledge and adoption of innovative student-centered learning environments. The Canopy team will use this funding to expand its dataset to 700 schools and disseminate research findings from the data to funders, state and district agencies, and local school communities via reports, webinars, and policy briefs, improving district decision-making when it comes to selecting and implementing innovative school practices.
A one-year renewal grant of $50,000 to support the New Jersey STEM Innovation Fellowship for 30 elementary school teachers, who will reach approximately 1,125 children. This funding will allow Fellows to participate in professional development opportunities that help them develop deeper mathematical thinking and refined pedagogical approaches, improving their teaching practices in mathematics.