Imagine if all children, regardless of their family income or where they live, had access to life-changing learning all year-round. Imagine if afterschool and summer were periods of time when academic skills are actually accelerated, and not diminished.
Now, imagine a solution that makes it easier than ever for school districts and community partners to provide highest-need students with evidence-based afterschool and summer experiences at no cost to their families. Imagine a solution that empowers schools to customize programs that combine academics, enrichment, social-emotional learning, and community engagement, in a powerful way. A solution that empowers educators to become change agents by building their skills, which transcend back into the classroom, creating a year-long cycle of learning.
Imagine a sustainable and scalable solution to reach exponentially more children, from all walks of life, and from every corner of our nation, from rural farmlands to urban metropolises. Imagine the infinite ripple as more life trajectories are changed, more educators are empowered, more districts are supported, and more communities are revitalized.
The New York Life Foundation Strengthens BellXcel's Middle-School Impact
Since the 6th grade, Neaveha and Joseph have thrived at BellXcel-powered afterschool and summer programs in West Baltimore. Joseph has improved his academics, while BellXcel enrichment activities have helped Neaveha develop stronger social-emotional-learning skills. “They’re both developing social and education skills. They’re getting balance,” says their mother Danielle Brown.
Thanks to a generous $3 million, three-year grant from The New York Life Foundation, 12,000 more at-risk middle-schoolers across the U.S., like Neaveha and Joseph, will gain access to BellXcel’s evidence-based summer and afterschool learning. This grant supports “middle school transitions,” the New York Life Foundation’s focus area in education.
Students who begin high school well prepared are four times as likely to graduate and achieve post-secondary success. Yet, currently, only a small percentage middle-school students have access to high-quality OST programs, leaving many without a safe, productive, and enriching place to learn.
This grant will help BellXcel develop new solutions to support its national network of program partners, which aim to strengthen the academic and social-emotional skills of middle school students. "The New York Life Foundation has been a strong supporter of BellXcel since 2007 because its proven success in the out-of-school time space aligns with our efforts to ensure that youth in middle school have year-round holistic learning experiences that develop important academic and social emotional skills, so they can succeed in school and in life,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, New York Life Foundation.
Ballmer Group: A Long-Term Investment to Improve Economic Mobility
Steve and Connie Ballmer took big steps to create paths to opportunity for more children and families that are disproportionately likely to remain in poverty. Steve, Connie and their team at Ballmer Group made several flexible investments, with an eye on results-oriented programs and organizations that have potential to scale nationwide.
BellXcel was chosen to receive a Ballmer Group investment: a 10-year, $30 million commitment made in 2017. Ballmer Group’s generous support is helping us increase our impact across the country, with greater efficiency and attention to the needs of scholars, their families and their teachers.
“We hope to demonstrate the value of long-term unrestricted grants; they provide the flexibility to think, strategize and reach that’s so important to making a lasting difference,” explains Connie Ballmer. “We want to help BELL to meets its goals, reach more people, achieve greater outcomes and strengthen organizational health,” she says of the pledge.
Ballmer Group’s support of BellXcel is the largest gift in our 25-year history. We are thrilled to count the Ballmers among our biggest champions. Their investment will prove transformational and catalytic as we aim to scale our results for more scholars over the next many years.
“We want to help BellXcel to meets its goals, reach more people, achieve greater outcomes and strengthen organizational health.”
Scholars come from rural farmlands to large metropolises. Yet, they share two things in common: similar socio-economic challenges that have brought them to this critical point in their educational development, and an eagerness to thrive!