In Q4 2023, our foundation awarded 20 grants totaling over nine million dollars. Of these, four were to organizations new to our foundation, nine were renewals, five were disbursements for ongoing pledges, and two covered additional grantee supports, membership fees, and convenings.
Our fourth 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 as we conclude our 2023 grantmaking.
Unlocking Innovation and Growth (Direct Impact Grantees)
A one-year pilot grant of $200,000 to Illuminate Literacy, a new supplemental literacy program focused on comprehensive and research-based digital reading products. Illuminate, which is new to the Innovative Schools portfolio, will use the funding to develop and pilot a tech-enabled tool to build foundational literacy skills in kindergarteners.
MULTI-YEAR GRANTEES (NEW GRANTS AND ONGOING PLEDGES)
$1,700,000 to Teaching Lab, which includes year three of a three-year grant as well as a $500,000 supplement for its partnership with NYC Reads. Teaching Lab, which leverages technology to provide research-based professional learning aligned with high-quality instructional materials, will use the funding to continue to deliver high-quality curriculum-based professional learning to educators across the country, as well as support NYC Reads, a citywide initiative to bring the science of reading to all public school students in New York City. Over the past year, Teaching Lab has supported more than 11,000 teachers and 730,000 students while continuing to generate evidence of impact on teacher practice and student learning: increasing teacher content knowledge 13 percent across partnerships; improving teacher practice 30 percent across partnerships; and increasing student learning 13 percent across partnerships. Teaching Lab will use this year’s funding to reach 15,000 teachers and one million students nationally, as well as partner with over 50 New York City schools on ELA instruction, and an additional 50 on secondary math.
$1,666,667 (year three of a three-year grant) grant to Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund to support efforts to scale three to five evidence-based tech-enabled models to 19 million students by 2025. Over the next year, the Fund will continue generating evidence of the impact of blended literacy models, increase the reach of the models that work, and build awareness and support for blended literacy across the education sector. To date, the Fund has invested $31.2 million directly reaching 33 community partners, 287 schools, 4,000 educators, 174,000 New York City students, and 8.8 million students nationwide.
$1,100,000 to Leading Educators, which includes year three of a three-year grant as well as a $400,000 supplement to support its new partnership with NYC Reads. Over the past year, Leading Educators, which works with school systems to design evidence-based, curriculum-aligned cycles of professional learning, expanded its reach to 13,000 teachers serving nearly 200,000 students in districts across the country, including Los Angeles and the District of Columbia. This grant will allow the organization to continue its work nationally while expanding into New York City, where it expects to reach 180 teachers and 3,600 students across 15 schools.
$700,000 over two years to Teach Plus, a nonprofit focused on developing teachers as leaders and empowering them to influence key policy and practice issues related to education. Teach Plus will use this funding to build public understanding of differentiated staffing strategies by supporting 40 teachers in advocating for state and local conditions that allow for differentiated staffing to scale.
$700,000 (year three of a three-year grant) to Transcend to support 100 schools collectively reaching 75,000 students in designing learning environments that effectively integrate edtech solutions to positively impact student outcomes. Over the course of this grant, Transcend will provide technical assistance to schools, share best practices with the field on integrating edtech in a way that benefits student outcomes, and build the infrastructure needed to disseminate open-source tools and research to decision-makers.
After a successful pilot year, $600,000 over two years to Science Buddies, which provides K-12 students and educators free online guides and resources to support hands-on science projects. Science fairs are a seminal academic experience for an estimated 10 million U.S. students a year, but the experience can be dampened by low student agency and limited teacher support. Science Buddies capitalizes on the existing format of science fairs but elevates both the rigor and joy of these experiences by recommending science projects based on student interest along with accompanying educator resources. Science Buddies, which offers more than 1,200 project ideas, reached over six million students last year and will use this funding to continue growing its reach while strengthening evidence of impact.
A one-year renewal of $350,000 to the New Jersey Tutoring Corps (NJTC) to support the 2023-24 school-year and 2024 summer high-dosage tutoring programs, which will reach more than 5,000 students across the state. Participating in NJTC during the 2022-23 school year led to measurable improvement for New Jersey students: students on grade level in math grew from 16 percent prior to tutoring to 40 percent after; in literacy grade-level performance moved from 23 percent to 40 percent. Student survey data also showed that tutoring supported student confidence and joy in learning.
A one-year renewal of $300,000 to Students 2 Science, which provides in-person and virtual hands-on STEM experiences to students in grades five through 12. Students 2 Science will use the funding to support its work in New Jersey, including expanding its lab-based (ISAAC) and synchronous remote learning (V-Labs) programs to 50,000 students. Additionally, it will conduct ongoing evaluation of all programs and explore the development of a new offering that will reach a younger audience.
Unlocking Evidence: RESEARCH and FIELD BUILDING
Ecosystem grants are designed to clear the path to scale for our direct impact grantees and strategies.
$4,000,000 over three years to Opportunity Insights, a research and policy institute focused on improving economic opportunity. Opportunity Insights will use the funding to deepen its groundbreaking research studies and enhance data platforms (Opportunity Atlas, social capital, college admissions) to surface insights and advance policies that promote upward mobility.
$300,000 (year three of a three-year grant) to Education Resource Strategies (ERS), a national nonprofit that partners with district, school, and state leaders to transform how they use resources to improve educational outcomes for students. ERS will use the funding to build and refine tools to improve the teaching profession long-term, reaching 150 districts, 200 district leaders, 700,000 teachers, and 12 million students.
A one-year renewal of $230,000 to the Research & Development Council of New Jersey to support the New Jersey STEM Pathways Network (NJSPN) as it provides targeted technical assistance to seven STEM ecosystems across the state to increase their impact on student learning. Over the course of the grant, NJSPN expects to add two new ecosystems to the network, bringing the total to nine, ultimately increasing student interest in STEM education and careers and strengthening the private-public STEM partnership across the state.
A one-year grant of $200,000 to Attendance Works, a nonprofit that collaborates with schools, districts, states, communities, and organizations to raise awareness of the challenges and solutions available for chronic absenteeism. Attendance Works will use the funding to reduce chronic absenteeism by diversifying its current technical assistance offerings and continuing its work with districts and states. We expect this grant will support 100 schools in improving satisfactory attendance (missing five percent of the school year or less), and 100 schools in decreasing chronic absence (missing 10 percent of the school year or more).
$100,000 over one year to EXPLR to support a digital campaign featuring 50 profiles of STEM champions from the inaugural National STEM Festival. These profiles, which will be disseminated through a variety of digital and social channels, will engage at least two million students, increasing national visibility of exceptional youth and joyful and rigorous STEM.
$100,000 over one year to Plural Connections Group, a research lab at Northeastern University applying data science and design tools to improve education quality. Plural Connections Group will use the funding to generate research and enhance data tools that inform attendance boundary decisions to promote socioeconomic integration.