Our Fall 2013 Grant Initiatives focus on both ends of the youth spectrum: Early Learning (from birth to Grade 4) and Hands-On Career Exploration (ages 16-24). We’re looking to fund capacity building projects that will strengthen organizations supporting these youth development issues.
Concept papers are due August 15; proposals on September 24. Proposal review will be in mid-December. Additional details are here.
Here’s a look at what we’re looking for:
Investing in early learning pays off. Experts tell us that early language and literacy development begins in the first three years of life and that when young children are exposed to literary-rich environments – books, stories, language, crayons and paper – in their homes, day care, schools, out-of-school programs and camps, they begin their academic career and life journey on a solid path. Research also indicates that the majority of children who are not reading proficiently by the end of third grade will struggle throughout school. They often never catch up.
Track 1 / Early Learning Counts
For this track we are seeking capacity building proposals from non-profit educational and community-based organizations working to educate and empower families, schools and the community to expand and enhance early learning opportunities for children from birth through Grade 4. We are particularly interested in programs serving children and their families who lack access to proven early learning opportunities.
Potential applicants are organizations that:
- Provide programs that directly educate and engage families and caregivers in understanding the value of early learning and help them become their child’s first and best teacher.
- Encourage and engage community stakeholders – libraries, physicians, faith-based communities, after-school and summer programs, and other community groups – to promote and support early learning skills and activities.
- Are interested in working collaboratively to align disconnected programs (Pre-K, Head Start, Early Head Start, child care, home visiting, early intervention, etc.) and to share resources and expertise.
- Offer professional development opportunities for program administrators and staff – including site leaders, teachers, family child care providers, community health professionals, and others — to build their capacity to assess and support children’s language and reading development.
- Offer out-of-school enrichment programs with a strong language and literacy component. (We will consider in-school programs that operate outside the standard curriculum.)
The job market for teens and young adults has never been more difficult to enter. According to a study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, young people age 16-24 are encountering greater competition from older workers for increasingly scarce entry-level jobs. Many lack the higher skill set required for the few well-paying jobs that are available. Others are contending with hurdles beyond their control, from growing up in poverty to having few working adults as role models.
Track 2 / Hands-On Career Exploration & Training
For this track we are seeking capacity building proposals from organizations/programs that encourage young people to explore career paths and motivate them to pursue their field of interest, ideally through job training, internships or apprenticeships. Programs may also focus on the development of healthy life skills, job readiness (soft) skills, industry specific (hard) skills and financial literacy skills. We are particularly interested in programs focused on underserved teens and young adults.
Photo courtesy of Boys & Girls Clubs of MetroWest