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August 10, 2010 > Local funders assist school enrichment programs

Local funders assist school enrichment programs

Submitted By Molly Tafoya

Out-of-school time enrichment programs like after school and summer programs improve student performance, skills, and motivation among lower income students. However, at a time of increased need, these programs face decreased funding. Recently, the Sand Hill Foundation, SV2-the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund, and The David and Lucile Packard Foundation announced a three-year partnership with nine local organizations to build on current successes of these "out-of-school time" enrichment programs for at-risk middle and high school students in Silicon Valley.

In our area, the group selected to receive funds is the Bay Area After-School All Stars in Milpitas.

The three Bay Area funders have teamed up with nine innovative organizations that emphasize academic success and college readiness for nearly 6,000 local students. This year, each organization will receive a grant of $45,000 with an opportunity to receive additional funding during each of the next two years to further the capacity of these organizations to serve students.

In addition to grants, organizations will be able to participate in a learning community created to encourage partnerships and foster the sharing of best practices which will benefit academic programming and out-of-school services. "This out-of-school time collaborative goes way beyond the traditional one of a responsive grant making model," says Ash McNeely, Executive Director of the Sand Hill Foundation. "By funding an entire cohort of out-of-school time organizations and bringing them together in an ongoing professional learning community, we believe we will be able to significantly amplify the impact of each individual grant."

The nine organizations are:

ACE Charter School in San Jose serves 5th through 8th graders who score below or far below basic on the California STAR test, and aims to propel them towards proficiency in English language arts and math by the end of 8th grade.

Bay Area After-School All Stars in Milpitas focuses their academic program on teaching and strengthening basic skills in math, literacy, and ELL fluency, in addition to homework completion.

Boys and Girls Club of the Peninsula's Center for a New Generation and College Bound program focuses on assisting youth to graduate from high school with a plan.

Breakthrough Silicon Valley prepares their students academically for acceptance into four-year universities.

Citizen Schools of Redwood City focuses on grade gains in math, English language arts, and science.

College Track in East Palo Alto is an afterschool program working to increase high school graduation, college eligibility, and enrollment and college graduation rates among low-income, under-resourced high school students.

East Palo Alto Tennis & Tutoring (EPATT)'s provides middle school students with much of what they need to thrive: a positive peer environment, high expectations for behavior and achievement, challenging and engaging experiences, participation in a competitive sport, and a supportive, family-like atmosphere.

Peninsula Bridge prepares 8th grade students for enrollment in Algebra I in 8th grade and college preparatory language arts classes in 9th grade. These courses are considered the gateway classes to being on the college track.

Silicon Valley Children's Fund's High School Roadmap to Independence program is designed to improve the educational outcomes of foster youth in high school through a comprehensive network of programs and intensive one-on-one case management.

"We have found that learning communities consistently help our grantees take their work to the next level," said Chris DeCardy, Vice President of Programs with the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. "Every member of the out-of-school time cohort will be able to build off one another's strengths, and collectively, the group can move the entire field of out-of-school time enrichment forward."

The nine programs share common goals for improving student achievement but many take complementary approaches. According to the Harvard Family Research Project, structured and varied out-of-school programs have the greatest impact and most positive benefit socially, emotionally, and academically for those who are the most at-risk. This effort is designed to define, share, and implement best practices among these important peer groups.

The current economic climate has hit education funding especially hard and enrichment programs that were funded through Proposition 49-legislation that substantially increased funding for out-of-school time programs in 2005-are projected to lose funding over the coming years. Through collaboration, these local nonprofits can greatly benefit from sharing resources, information, and best practices in anticipation of these fiscal changes.

"We hope to realize significant advances in the quality and scale of Silicon Valley out-of-school time programs," says Lindsay Austin Louie, Executive Director of SV2. "We believe this cohort will allow both funders and grantees to create a regional model for out-of-school time effectiveness that can potentially be shared and replicated throughout the country."

The Sand Hill Foundation:
The Sand Hill Foundation provides funding for promising and proven nonprofit organizations working to strengthen families and preserve the natural environment, with a primary focus in San Mateo and northern Santa Clara counties. www.sandhillfoundation.org.

SV2-Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund:
SV2 (Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund) is a partnership for giving. Our donors pool annual contributions of $5,000 each to make a bigger, more meaningful impact than any of us could make on our own.www.sv2.org.

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation:
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation is a private family foundation created in 1964 by the late David Packard co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and the late Lucile Salter Packard. The Foundation provides grants to non-profit organizations in the following program areas: Conservation and Science; Population and Reproductive Health; and Children, Families, and Communities. The Foundation expects grant making awards of up to $236 million in 2010. www.packard.org.

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