The Engine for Youth Programming

A 30-year-old “startup,” BellXcel is a nationally-recognized leader in developing innovative solutions, services and resources for youth program providers to scale and create meaningful impact across a variety of settings and communities. 

BellXcel has been grounded in equity from our founding more than 30 years ago; it is embedded in how we support our partners, hire and engage our employees, structure our operations and design our products and services. 

Our Impact

Education is in Our DNA

Our team of educators, researchers, and innovators is led by an expert in youth development and education.

Lauren Sanchez Gilbert, Ed.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Lauren’s education roots run deep. With extensive experience across the sector, Lauren is uniquely qualified to lead BellXcel’s innovations in proven educational solutions. In addition to the BellXcel leadership roles she’s held during her 10-year tenure, Lauren draws upon a range of past roles from YMCA director of youth programming to special education teacher in her native New Mexico to assistant superintendent for a large school district in Massachusetts. 

Lauren knows what keeps youth leaders, educators, and school administrators up at night because she has walked in their shoes. Her deeply held belief to reach more young people where they are, through the adults they know, with strategies that work fuels BellXcel’s partnership with leaders serving children, families, and communities nationwide. 

Her commitment to build the sector’s capacity by turning evidence into action inspired BellXcel’s independent affiliate, the Sperling Center for Research and Innovation (SCRI). SCRI bridges the research to practice to policy gap, continuously bringing new research and practical insights to elevate the quality and impact of youth organizations and schools.

Lauren holds a Doctorate in Education from Boston College and a Bachelor Degree in Special Education from the University of New Mexico. She attended the highly-selective nonprofit leadership program at Harvard University and is a Results for America Nonprofit Fellow.

Her Board service includes the Bridgespan Group’s Knowledge Advisory Board focused on accelerating impact in the social sector, as well as, Roca’s Board of Directors focused on engaging young adults to create systemic change in urban environments.


Guided by Prominent Leaders

BellXcel’s Board of Directors guide the organization to achieve its strategic objectives. This prominent group of leaders brings valuable expertise in business, education, technology, and more.

Executive Director, Samberg Family Foundation
Managing Director, Goldman Sachs & Co
Chief Investment Officer, Spencer Foundation
Managing Director, Crosspoint Capital Partners
Partner, Forensic & Integrity Services, Ernst & Young LLP (EY)
Owner, AK Consulting
Office Managing Partner, Ernst & Young LLP (EY) - Retired
Francis Keppel Professor, Harvard Graduate School of Education
Deputy Chancellor, University of Massachusetts, Boston
General Partner, Norwest Venture Partners

Rooted in Social Justice

Our legacy of social justice through education is built upon pioneers in education. Leaders like Derrick Bell, the first tenured African-American Professor at Harvard Law School; Charles Ogletree, founder of The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice and Chair Emeritus at Harvard Law School; and Dr. Robert Peterkin, Professor Emeritus at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Director of the Urban Superintendents Program.

Validated by Research and Evidence

BellXcel works with expert research partners to measure and validate the impact of our solutions.

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Our research affiliate independently analyzes the efficacy of BellXcel’s solutions – compiling powerful scientific evidence from our partners’ programs. Additionally, SCRI’s range of consulting services delivers on our goal to build capacity across the sector.

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Commitment to Innovation and Transformation

In many ways, BellXcel considers itself a 30-year start-up. As crazy as that sounds, every day we are breaking traditions and challenging assumptions to ensure that our partners have the most innovative solutions at their fingertips. We are curious, brave, and fueled by an all children to excel mission.

Innovation Story