By Kathleen McCarthy
Announcing our fourth round of grants in our Building Opportunities in Out-of-School Time initiative
Kids need committed and caring adults to help them navigate life. Out-of-school time programs are a great avenue to build those relationships and help them realize their full potential. Yet an increasing number of low-income students are on the sidelines, and older youth in particular (those in middle and high school) often face the most complex barriers to participation.
Our BOOST initiative focuses on reaching these older youth. Our goal is to engage and retain them in comprehensive out-of-school time programs that promote enduring life skills. Recognizing there are many ways to do this, our strategy is all about relationships.
In our research and conversations with field experts, we learned a growing body of evidence suggests that a consistent relationship with a caring adult is the single most important ingredient to increasing the likelihood that a young person will flourish and become a productive adult.
Through our BOOST initiative, we would like to see organizations demonstrate significant depth, duration, and reach of informal and formal mentoring relationships between older youth and caring adults. With those measures, research says in the long-term these youth will experience improved educational outcomes and labor market success, improved decision-making capabilities, and beneficial effects on a number of other well-being variables – all of which point to our founders’ deep-seated value of education, opportunity, and hard work.
This year we are pleased to announce our fourth round of BOOST initiative funding.
BOOST Award Round IV:
- Sisters Circle: $169,000 grant over two years ($79,000/year one; $90,000/year two) to support the general operations of this organization, which offers long-term mentoring relationships for at-risk girls in Baltimore, empowering them to define success for themselves, make intentional decisions about their futures, and become self-sufficient young women
BOOST is a 5-year, $1 million initiative. Participation in our BOOST initiative is by invitation only. We look forward to sharing what we learn from this initiative over time.