BELL Awarded Social Innovation Fund Investment to Expand Summer Learning Programs For Disadvantaged Youth
BOSTON - April 1, 2011 - BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life), a leading provider of summer and after school learning programs, has been awarded a three-year investment of up to $5M, with a first-year award of $2M, from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) and the Social Innovation Fund (SIF) to serve more young people in its summer learning program, increase its evidence base, and strengthen its capacity to sustain growth.
BELL is currently serving more than 14,000 students - whom BELL recognizes as "scholars" - in public schools throughout Augusta, GA, Baltimore, Boston, Detroit, New York City, and Springfield, MA. Its mission is to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced, urban communities.
"SIF will help us do more of what works for kids," says BELL CEO Tiffany Cooper Gueye. "High-quality summer learning programs - ones that run all day and combine academics with enrichment and exercise and service - help kids learn, be healthy, and succeed in school. This SIF grant will expand access to summer learning programs for the kids who need them most." SIF funds will enable BELL to expand its summer learning programs by up to 17% over the next three years and reach a total of 18,500 -21,500 scholars.
BELL will also be an inaugural member of a new fund established by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation called The True North Fund. This fund is the launch vehicle for an innovative public/private partnership of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, the Social Innovation Fund, and institutional and individual philanthropic co-investors. It brings together the capital that exceptional nonprofits require to make an impact on the lives of more young people and build a stronger body of evidence about "what works" to help youth succeed in life. For BELL, the focus of its work as part of The True North Fund is to expand its summer learning program, the only large-scale program with strong empirical proof that it helps raise the academic achievement of low-income, under-performing youth during the summer months, when they are especially prone to summer learning loss.
BELLwas chosen in an open, national competition that drew 225 applications from leading nonprofits across the country. In selecting nine organizations for awards totaling up to $42 million over three years, EMCF relied on a rigorous, in-depth due diligence process to identify a mix of programs with great potential to help larger numbers of economically disadvantaged youth, ages 9-24.
The Social Innovation Fund, established by Congress in 2010 through the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, is a public-private partnership that uses private intermediaries to support the expansion of innovative, transformative social programs proven to promote economic opportunity, healthy lives and youth development. In establishing The True North Fund, EMCF is leveraging its role as a SIF intermediary by combining federal funding with the private resources of the Foundation and other philanthropic co-investors. EMCF and its co-investors seek to draw greater philanthropic support for BELL and demonstrate how public and private dollars can be aggregated to help effective organizations attain greater impact and scale.
"This grant will be transformative," explains Gueye. "We will be able to reach more scholars, partner with more schools and school districts, and transform the role of summer learning in more communities throughout the country."
About the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation seeks to advance opportunities for low-income youth by supporting organizations that help young people, ages 9-24, become independent, productive adults. EMCF concentrates on the most vulnerable and disconnected youth living in impoverished communities. EMCF believes large, long-term investments in nonprofits whose programs have been proven to produce positive outcomes and that have the potential for growth are an effective and efficient way to overcome the obstacles confronting low-income young Americans today. Its goal is to help develop a growing pool of organizations that serve thousands more youth each year with proven programs. For more information, visit www.emcf.org.
About the Social Innovation Fund
The Social Innovation Fund, administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), is a new federal program that addresses major challenges confronting communities by expanding high-impact nonprofit organizations delivering proven solutions. It brings together millions in public-private funds to expand effective community solutions across three issue areas: economic opportunity, healthy futures, and youth development and school support. This work will directly impact thousands of low-income families and create a catalog of proven approaches that can be replicated in communities across the country. For more information on the Social Innovation Fund, visit www.NationalService.gov/Innovation.