Foundation: Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

Staff Contact: Jean McKeown, Vice President, Community Impact


The Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo supports a number of cradle to career initiatives. These include programs to increase child literacy, home visiting, K-12 education, and others. Highlighted below are three of these initiatives.

Read to Succeed: Established through a collaboration of Buffalo foundations including the Community Foundation, Read to Succeed Buffalo (RTSB) is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing early childhood literacy and third grade reading scores. RTSB works to prepare children from birth through age eight for Kindergarten and the early grades through improved exposure to developmentally appropriate, literacy-rich environments. Since 2010, the Community Foundation has provided RTSB with over $500,000 in grant support.

Buffalo Green and Healthy Homes Initiative: According to the US Census, Buffalo has the oldest housing stock in the United States. In turn, young children from Buffalo’s inner city are testing positive for lead poisoning at more than triple the state average. As a result, hundreds of children enter Buffalo schools every year dealing with the impacts of lead poisoning, which can include lowered IQ and behavioral problems. The Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is a model to redefine home-based health and safety funding and programs so that they are at once more effective in terms of health outcomes, including lead poisoning, and more efficient in terms of cost savings. GHHI is a public-private partnership between the federal government, national and local philanthropy, the National Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning and local partners. Since 2010, the Community Foundation has supported GHHI with over $1,082,000 in grants and other resources and has leveraged an additional $3,400,000 in funding from national, state, and local sources.

Say Yes Buffalo: Say Yes Buffalo is a landmark partnership that brings the Buffalo Public School District, parents, the Buffalo Teachers Federation, the Buffalo Association of Administrators and Supervisors, higher education, the City of Buffalo, Erie County, Say Yes to Education, Inc., and a diverse group of Buffalo area corporate, non-profit, and philanthropic organizations together to provide holistic, year-round support to Buffalo Public School District students throughout their K-12 years and beyond. This education-based initiative aims to provide a powerful engine for long-term economic development through radically improving the life course of public school students in the City of Buffalo. Since 2010, the Community Foundation has supported Say Yes with over $1.5 million in time and other resources.

Foundation: Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

Staff Contact: Lesley Grady, Senior Vice President, Community


The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has launched a number of programs in two-generation family literacy, public education, and college access, among others. Highlighted below are three of these initiatives. Information on all of them can be found at

Learn4Life: Learn4Life is the Metro Atlanta Regional Education Partnership, a collective impact effort that brings together school systems, local communities, business and non-profits to improve education outcomes based on common goals and shared benchmarks. Our overall goal is to improve workforce readiness and student achievement using a data-driven, collective impact approach. The Foundation has committed hours of in-kind support through the involvement of its senior staff. Beginning 2017, the Foundation will be the “backbone” organization for Learn4Life by supporting program and staff management. The Foundation’s estimated contribution is $75,000 annually.

Leaders United for Students (PLUS): Parent Leaders United for Students (PLUS) is an innovative pilot dedicated to building the leadership capacity of Atlanta Public School parents and community leaders. PLUS seeks to empower parents to become involved in their community and schools. The Community Foundation is managing PLUS with co investment from six local funders. The Foundation has committed $65,000 in addition to in-kind leadership.

Literacy for All: Literacy for All is the Foundation’s family literacy effort. Family Literacy is a term and method of education is used to describe parents and children or, more broadly, adults and children, learning together. The rationale underlying this approach is that parents (and adults in communities) are children’s first teachers and a significant amount of learning occurs both in and beyond traditional school settings. The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta is raising awareness of low literacy by developing and implementing a family literacy initiative through a committee-advised fund model. The Fund will invest $1.2M over three years provided by donors and the Foundation will co-invest approximately $60,000.

Foundation: The Oregon Community Foundation

Staff Contact: Belle Cantor, Program Officer for Education


K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time: The K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time initiative is focused on bolstering student attendance and academic success among Oregon’s middle school students of color, rural and low-income students. Research has shown that high quality out-of-school time programs can support positive youth development and increase engagement with school, thus improving attendance, boosting academic performance and increasing the likelihood of high school graduation and post-secondary attainment. The initiative provides funding to 21 community-based programs that offer best practice after-school and summer academic support, positive adult role models and parent engagement programming. OCF, and partner Ford Family Foundation, will invest more than $10 million over 7 years.

K-12 Student Success Initiative background information and logic model:

Institute for Youth Success at Education Northwest (local intermediary):

ASPIRE (Access to Student Assistance Programs In Reach of Everyone): ASPIRE is a mentoring program that was begun through a partnership with OCF and OSAC (the Oregon Student Access and Completion office) and administered by OSAC. It trains volunteers to work with high school students who need encouragement, information and technical assistance to reach their post-high school goals. ASPIRE mentors work one-on-one with students throughout the year, providing them with information about college options, admissions and financial aid. Starting with just four pilot schools in 1998, ASPIRE today involves more than 145 schools, engages more than 1,000 volunteers, and reaches more than 11,000 students from all walks of life. OCF has invested more than $800,000 in pilots, early operations, evaluation technical assistance and model-building of the program. The State of Oregon now funds the core programming.


Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative: The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative is a multiyear grant program that supports the delivery of high quality parenting education to give parents skills that boost their confidence and lower the stress of being a parent. Nothing influences a child’s growth and development more than reliable, responsible and sensitive parenting. The Collaborative supports delivery of high-quality parenting education programs, coordinated efforts to strengthen regional parenting education systems and the development and strengthening of collaborative regional parenting education hubs. The initiative was launched in May 2010. Programming includes evidence-based class series, workshops, home visits and family events. The Collaborative is a partnership among four of Oregon’s largest foundations (OCF, The Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust and The Collins Foundation) and Oregon State University. Since 2010, the foundations have invested over $11m in the Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative.

Links to the initiative and its components. or

Foundation: The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Staff Contact: Shiloh Turner, Vice President for Community Investment


Creating a More Prosperous Greater Cincinnati Region: Faced with being ranked in the lowest bracket of upward mobility in the nation, coupled with the second highest childhood poverty rate, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) is employing a comprehensive cradle to career strategy to address our region’s significant opportunity gap. We recognize that addressing the gap is complex and requires partnership and commitment at the local as well as regional level, while consequently working closely with nonprofit, funder, business, public sector, and educational institutions to implement this approach. Annually, GCF invests $2 million in collective impact and program/organization investments to support the educational and workforce success of individuals in our region.

Collective Impact Investments:

Collective Impact:

Success by 6:

The Strive Partnership:

Partners for a Competitive Workforce:

Community Investments:

Educational Success:

Educational Success Impact Report:

Economic Opportunity:

Economic Opportunity Impact Report:

Foundation Name: Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation

Staff Contact Name and Title: Holly C. Sampson, President

Staff Contact Email:

Opportunity Gap Initiative: The Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation has been granted $1.5 million dollars from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation to establish the Opportunity Gap Initiative (OGI). A blue ribbon OGI Convening Committee has established an interview protocol, conducted listening sessions with non-profit leaders and with community members who are living in poverty. The Committee has prioritized unmet needs and opportunities in parenting, education and community and established grant making guidelines. The Fund has a particular preference for projects that focus on early childhood intervention to build ladders of opportunities, increase opportunities to participate in community and/or school programs, and directly involve and engage low-income children, youth and families, especially people of color and Native Americans.

Foundation: Hartford Foundation for Public Giving

Staff Contact: Elysa Gordon, Senior Advisor to the President


Addressing the youth opportunity gap fully aligns with the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s priority areas of working collaboratively to ensure that children, youth and families have the opportunity to live in and contribute to strong, safe and vibrant communities; are ready to learn when they enter kindergarten and prepared to succeed when they graduate from high school; and have access to pathways to employment and career advancement. Significant disparities exist in our region for residents of different races, ethnicities and incomes: metro Hartford has the largest increase in poverty in the state; one-third of the children in our region live in very low opportunity neighborhoods and more than half of people of color in our region live in very low opportunity neighborhoods.

Family-School-Community Partnerships: The Foundation is working with seven of the region’s highest need school districts to deepen their partnerships with families and community resources through planning and implementation grants, technical assistance and learning opportunities. The Hartford Foundation has awarded over $5 million in the last six years to summer programs in the region, relating directly to our strategic focus on improving education success for the region’s students by working to prevent summer learning loss and enhancing year-round literacy efforts.

Career Pathways Initiative: Our Career Pathways Initiative will support programs among nine collaboratives that include adult literacy, community college, workforce development, and others. The Initiative also includes developing a comprehensive career pathway for young adults, ages 18-29 that will support capacity building for ten organizations in Hartford. This collaboration earned the support of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which awarded a $100,000 one-year planning grant and up to $800,000 in implementation funding to coordinate and scale this work, with Hartford as one of four communities nationally to be selected for this opportunity.

Our Approach (strategic plan overview):

Family-School-Community Partnerships:

Career Pathways Initiative:

Foundation Name: Southwest Initiative Foundation

Staff Contact Name and Title: Jodi Maertens- Program Officer; Nancy Fasching- Community Impact Director

Staff Contact Email:;

Early Childhood Initiative: Supporting high-quality early childhood care and education is one of the most pivotal and lasting investments that our communities, state, and nation can make. That’s why the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations (MIFs) launched the Minnesota Early Childhood Initiative in 2003: to strengthen early care and education for young children and their families, especially in rural Minnesota communities. The primary goal of the Early Childhood Initiative is to ensure more young children are ready for lifelong success. Each of the six Minnesota Initiative Foundations is working with counties and communities throughout Greater Minnesota to develop coalitions, as well as build connections with funders, researchers, practitioners, child care providers, educators and other advocates on the regional and statewide levels to help achieve this goal. To date, the Initiative has developed 90 early childhood coalitions encompassing more than 300 communities within 65 of the 80 Greater Minnesota counties. These teams of local citizens and organizations have more than 4,000 members representing diverse sectors, from early care and education providers and K-12 educators to business and civic leaders. A coordinator for each coalition guides the process of identifying, planning and implementing strategies to help communities to better meet the needs of young children and their families. Not only have these coalitions facilitated change in their own communities, but they have also formed vibrant regional and statewide networks to share new ideas, learn about emerging research and best practices, and advocate to policy makers on behalf of our youngest citizens.

Foundation Name: The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia

Staff Contact Name and Title:  Sari Raskin, Director of Grants and Community Leadership

Staff Contact Email:

Name of the program/initiative: Community Investment Funds

The Community Investment Funds are the signature discretionary grant cycle managed by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia in which funds are invested in organizations serving the Northern Virginia community in critical areas of need, including child and youth development, education, health, mental health and aging, military personnel and their families, and poverty relief.  In the past ten years, the Community Foundation has grown its discretionary grantmaking capabilities from $12,000 annually in 2006 to $592,637 in 2016.  In addition to this grant cycle, the Community Foundation supports and participates in SCYPT, a collective impact program of Fairfax County, Virginia that works across government, nonprofit and for-profit sectors to address better outcomes for students in the local schools.  It also publishes research reports to provide thoughtful insight into how critical needs are addressed in Northern Virginia, and how philanthropic efforts can be targeted to better serve the underserved in our community.

The Community Foundation for Northern Virginia also manages a number of giving circles and annual grant cycles that have focused on supporting youth programs and initiatives as follows:

The Innovation Fund – This fund is a source of venture philanthropy in Northern Virginia investing in programs and organizations that demonstrate inventiveness, creativity and new design.  Amongst other programs, it has helped launch cyber security programs in local schools, the Nova Mini Maker Faire, and the Mason Innovation Lab at George Mason University.

The Future Fund – This giving circle for young professionals votes on a focus area to support each year, most recently supporting academic summer programs for disadvantaged youth.

The Business Women’s Giving Circle – This giving circle for women who live and/or work in Northern Virginia supports programs and organizations that promote innovation, entrepreneurship, leadership and inventive opportunities for girls and young women.

The Loudoun Impact Fund – This giving circle of engaged Loudoun County donors invests strategically to promote education, the arts and the environment, and to support the needs of Loudoun families, children and youth.

Healthy Kids Grants – In collaboration with the Chin Family Charitable Fund and the J.O.Y. Charitable Fund, donor advised funds with the Community Foundation, grants are made each year to individual public schools in Northern Virginia that implement a program or strategy to encourage better nutrition or more activity among their student body during the school year.

Foundation Name:  Seattle Foundation

Staff Contact:  Michael Brown, VP of Community Programs;

The Road Map Project: The Road Map Project is a community-wide effort aimed at improving education to drive dramatic improvement in student achievement from cradle to college and career in South King County and South Seattle.  The Road Map Project goal is to double the number of students in South King County and South Seattle who are on track to graduate from college or earn a career credential by 2020. Road Map and its partners are committed to closing the unacceptable opportunity and achievement gaps for low-income students and children of color, and increasing achievement for all students from cradle to college and career. Work is underway in the four areas of the action plan:  improving supply, coordination, quality and access. Seattle Foundation has catalyzed over $300,000 from other funders to date for the Road Map Project, specifically for the Opportunity Youth Fund. Click here to view the action plan. Links:

SkillUp Washington: SkillUp Washington, a workforce funders collaborative, connects low-income individuals with living-wage jobs in high-demand fields in Washington state. Through collaborative partnerships, innovative funding programs and catalytic opportunities, SkillUp Washington creates pathways and opportunities for thousands of low-income individuals.  In 2015, Opportunity Index estimated there to be more than 25,000 youth not in school nor working (ages 16-24) in King County. These are the initiatives reaching young adults under the SkillIUp umbrella:

Generation Work:  Thanks to a $100,000 Generation Work planning grant from the Annie E Casey Foundation, SkillUp will develop a strategic plan with key partners to build on-ramps for young adults 18-29 to demand-driven employment and training opportunities, with a particular focus on those without a secondary credential.

Youth Industry Partnership Initiative:  In 2014, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions awarded SkillUp Washington a grant to support on-ramp to manufacturing programs for young adults (18-24) at South Seattle College’s Georgetown campus. This program, called Youth Industry Partnership Initiative (YIPI), features five-weeks of instruction where students can earn up to six industry-recognized credentials and thirteen college credits, followed by a four week paid internship at a local manufacturing employer. Seattle Foundation has invested over $500,000 in SkillUp Washington, in addition to other funders. Seattle Foundation is also the fiscal sponsor for this funders collaborative.

Foundation: Greater Milwaukee Foundation

Staff Contact: Dave Celata, Deputy Director


Program/Initiative: Milwaukee Succeeds

Summary: The Greater Milwaukee Foundation (GMF) recognizes the plethora of challenges facing Milwaukee children including high rates of poverty, racial disparities, and economic segregation. These factors combine to create a lack of economic mobility and overall wellbeing. In 2011, GMF established Milwaukee Succeeds: a community-wide partnership, grounded in collective impact, which seeks success for every child, in every Milwaukee school, cradle to career. This partnership is comprised of representatives from over 300 local organizations, working at the grassroots level to identify, align, and scale promising strategies to move the needle on educational outcomes. At the same time, Milwaukee Succeeds works with major community institutions to improve policy, align resources, and engage community leaders. GMF serves as the backbone organization for Milwaukee Succeeds—lending its facilities, services, financial resources, and community leadership to this work.

Milwaukee Succeeds Whiteboard:

2015 Milestone Report:

Milwaukee Succeeds Leadership:

Funders Collaborative:

Foundation Name: The Boston Foundation

Staff Contact Name and Title: Elizabeth Pauley, Senior Director, Education to Career

Staff Contact Email:

Name of the program/initiative: Success Boston

Success Boston, Boston’s city-wide college completion initiative, addresses the issue of youth opportunity in postsecondary access and success through a robust data-driven, cross-sector partnership. In response to a Northeastern University longitudinal study that showed only 35% of those who had enrolled in college ever earned a postsecondary credential by the time they turned 25, the city of Boston, the Boston Public Schools (BPS), local nonprofits, 37 area institutions of higher education and the city’s business community have been working together through Success Boston to double the city’s college completion rate. The initiative’s strategic framework includes efforts and activities in four strategic areas: Getting Ready, Getting In, Getting Through, and Getting Connected. The majority of the Boston Foundation’s resources are allocated to Success Boston’s signature intervention model, Transition Coaching, through which nine community-based nonprofits provide intensive one-on-one support to students beginning in their senior year of high school through their first two years of college. These nonprofits now coach about 1,000 students from each class of Boston Public Schools high school graduates—nearly half of all BPS graduates who begin college each fall.  Overall, thanks to $10M that the Boston Foundation has provided to date, as well as $6M federal commitment from the Social Innovation Fund, over 4,000 students, most of whom are low-income and first-generation, have participated in Success Boston Transition Coaching since the launch of the initiative.

Foundation: The Dayton Foundation

Staff Contact: Barbra Stonerock, VP Community Engagement


Learn to Earn Dayton: Learn to Earn Dayton and partners work to ensure that every young person in the Dayton region is ready to learn by kindergarten and ready to earn upon graduation from college or after earning a post-high school certificate. Our community’s vitality and its attractiveness to employers depend on having educated citizens and a knowledgeable and skilled workforce. Six goals include: Children must come to kindergarten “ready to learn;” they must be reading on grade-level at the end of 3rd grade; they must be proficient in 4th-grade math; they must graduate high school; they must continue their education beyond high school, earning either a college degree or a certificate attesting to their skill; and they must graduate from college within 6 years. The Dayton Foundation has awarded two $300,000 grants, provides office space, and backroom and staff support for the initiative.

Foundation: New Hampshire Charitable Foundation

Staff Contact: Yulya Spantchak, Community Knowledge and Impact Officer


New Hampshire Tomorrow: Unequal access to opportunity, combined with an aging population and slower population growth, threaten New Hampshire’s long-term economic and social well-being. Child poverty in NH nearly doubled in the last decade. NH’s young people have some of the highest rates of substance use, and our students have the nation’s second-highest debt load. To increase youth opportunities from cradle to career, the Foundation is investing in four high-impact areas: early childhood development, family and youth supports, substance use prevention and treatment, and higher education and career readiness. We are collaborating with partners in the public sector, nonprofits, education and business. The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation is committing $10 million per year for the next 10 years to a comprehensive agenda including strategic grantmaking, coalition building, and public policy reforms.

New Hampshire Tomorrow:

Early Childhood Development Pillar:

Family and Youths Supports:

Substance Use Prevention and Treatment:

Higher Education and Career Readiness:

Foundation: Lincoln Community Foundation

Staff Contact:Barbara Bartle, President,

Prosper Lincoln

In 2014, a group of community leaders began talking about Lincoln’s vital signs, from its low unemployment and low crime rates to the high number of children in poverty – one in five. Then the forward thinking question of, “How can we make our city even better?” arose. From this discussion, the group agreed that we needed to create a shared agenda for the community and an action plan that would guide our efforts to become an even more vibrant and equitable city. Launched in February 2016,  Prosper Lincoln’s shared community agenda will create an environment of positive change and success for everyone, including our youth, through focused efforts in three priority areas: early childhood; employment skills; and innovation. By year 2020, Prosper Lincoln will:

  • Nurture every child on the path to success – Access to quality early childhood development, including good nutrition, health care and strong family structure, enables all children – regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic background – to go to school, ready to learn and develop into successful community citizens.
  • Develop employment skills –  The demand for increased knowledge and capabilities is at an all time high. Developing employment skills helps make sure careers with advancement opportunities, higher wages and good benefits are possible. We need to provide opportunities for everyone to realize career aspirations, including our youngest community members.
  • Create a vibrant culture of innovation – Keeping youth, scholars, inventors and pioneers in Lincoln is challenging. Building a culture of innovation that feeds the soul of the next generation of creative thinkers, and striving to be the most connected city, helps ensure our community will thrive.

Lincoln Community Foundation’s commitment to this work is $1M to-date.

Prosper Lincoln 


Facebook: @ProsperLincolnNE

Twitter: @Prosper_Lincoln

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan

Staff Contact: Katie G. Brisson, Vice President, Program


Initiative: Head Start Innovation Fund

Summary: In 2013, a group of eight national and regional funders formed a $4.9 million fund at the Community Foundation to improve the quality of Head Start programs in Detroit.  At the time, Detroit had just been selected as one of five cities nationally to pilot “birth-to-5” Head Start services. The fund was launched to support innovative programs and partnerships of these new providers.  In 2016, nine funders contributed an additional $6.2 million for a second phase of the effort.  This second phase will last through 2019, and will expand the reach of the Head Start Innovation Fund to the full tri-county area of Wayne, Oakland and Macomb. Grants from the fund are supporting enhanced professional development and resources for teachers; evidence-based assessment of teaching and learning; effective integration of technology into curriculum and assessment; and innovative outreach and communications strategies to attract and retain qualified parents and children.

IFF Study Commissioned by Community Foundation to Look at Gaps in Early Childhood Education:

Innovation Fund Project Webpage:

Initiative:  YOUth Voice for Social Justice

Summary: The YOUth Voice for Social Justice project was created to help local youth address the social justice issues they face every day. Over a three-year period, young people received the training, funding and support necessary to create and manage youth-led solutions to community needs. The foundation partnered with the University of Michigan School of Social Work and the Johnson Center for Philanthropy to promote youth voice in community social justice issues.  The project had several components:

  • providing high-quality training and one-on-one coaching to 60 youth-serving organizations in the region
  • facilitating a youth-led survey by the Metropolitan Detroit Youth Fellows of more than 1,100 youth in the region
  • hosting a youth summit where teens from across the region learned from each other about pressing community needs
  • requesting grant applications for youth-led solutions to community needs
  • funding 18 youth-led projects totaling $150,000.

In addition, through workshops and convenings, many nonprofit organizations gained important skills and experience integrating youth voice in their work. Here is a video on the impact of the program.

The final activity of the YOUth Voice for Social Justice program was a conversation between four youth leaders and four community members that was broadcast on Detroit Public Television on January 18, 2006. Watch the program here.

As follow up, the Metropolitan Youth Fellows created a toolkit for engaging youth in civic life.

Check out these tips, which were compiled by our youth leaders.

Tips for Youth: Ideas for setting community engagement goals and getting things done

Tips for Adult Allies: How to be a resource for youth leaders in your community

Tips for Community Leaders: How to meaningfully engage young people in your work

This project concluded in 2016.  An article was published in the Foundation Review about the lessons learned.  It is available for free download at this link:

Maine Community Foundation

 Staff Contact: Becky Hayes Boober, Vice President of Community Impact


Strong Start and Access to Education Strategic Initiatives: Recognizing that robust support for positive development of young children is best achieved by also enhancing opportunities for parents, two of Maine Community Foundation’s new strategic goal initiatives emphasize early childhood development and higher rates of adult degree and certificate completion. According to the 2016 Kids Count data, Maine dropped five spots in one year to an overall child well-being ranking of 17th in the nation. Even though almost a quarter of Maine children age five and under live in poverty, public policies have created significant drops in the number of children receiving TANF, SNAP or health insurance. Because early learning opportunities influence brain development, it is noteworthy that over half of Maine preschoolers are not in school settings. Maine people and the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF) are working together to change this and to create environments where all children have positive early childhood experiences.

Strong Start recognizes that if Maine is to thrive, its youngest children must receive a healthy start and arrive at kindergarten fully prepared to succeed. The initiative emphasizes quality local programming, coalition building, shared learning, and public policies that improve opportunities for all children to grow up in a safe, stable, and stimulating environment with caring adults and free from chronic stress. MaineCF partners with other funders, business, nonprofits, and child advocacy agencies to support a statewide vision and plan of improving support for all Maine children and families. More details of the Strong Start initiative will be shared at a November 14, 2017, Invest in Maine Summit: Early Childhood.

Strong Start is closely linked with MaineCF’s Access to Education initiative which expands opportunities for adult learners. Around 200,000 Mainers started higher education pursuits but did not complete a degree or certificate program. MaineCF has been an active member and supporter of the statewide Adult Degree Attainment Partnership and the Workforce and Education Coalition, which established a goal in December 2016 to have 60% of adults in Maine have a completed degree or certificate to enhance their participation in meeting the emerging workforce needs. MaineCF also supports Educate Maine and the Next Step Maine Employers’ Initiative to give employees continuing education opportunities. In addition, MaineCF actively works to expand scholarship access for adults, including parents.

MaineCF sees and values the connections among strong adults, strong children, and strong communities.

Foundation Name:  Foundation For The Carolinas (FFTC)

  • Staff Contact Name and Title: Brian Collier, Executive Vice President
  • Staff Contact Email: bcollier@fftc.or

Leading on Opportunity

In March 2017, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Opportunity Task Force released its Leading on Opportunity Report to the community, the culmination of over 18 months of work by this diverse group of 20 people.  Foundation For The Carolinas coordinated the work of the Task Force that first convened in May 2015 in response to the surprising research headline that Charlotte ranked dead last (50th out of 50) in the 2013 Equality of Opportunity study released by Roz Chetty and fellow researchers at Harvard and UC Berkeley.  News of this negative headline spurred city and county government, Foundation For the Carolinas and several other area foundations to coalesce, initiate and support the work of the task force.  As part of its discovery phase, the Task Force gained insights and ideas from over 50 local and national experts on key factors that may be contributing to lack of opportunity/mobility for our lowest socioeconomic children and  youth.  Among those who came to Charlotte were Richard Reeves, Bruce Katz and Ron Haskins from Brookings, Erin Currier from PEW Charitable Trust, Robert Putnam from Harvard, john powell from the Haas Institute, and Mark Edwards from Upstream.  In addition, over a thousand community members participated in numerous community listening sessions.  In September 2016, the heat was turned up on the initiative when a Charlotte police officer shot and killed an African American man resulting in protests throughout the community.  This event and subsequent uprising drew even greater attention to the tremendous impacts that racialization and segregation have had, and continue to have, on the lack of opportunity and mobility in our community. The Task Force was responsive and honest as it concluded its work.  The group’s final report, which has been met with a groundswell of support for action, narrowed in on three key determinants—early education and development, college and career readiness and child and family stability—as well as two factors that cut across everything—the impacts of segregation and social capital on opportunity.  The report includes 21 strategies, 96 recommendations and over 100 tactics.  The majority of strategies focus on effecting systems and structural changes to get at underlying issues and bottlenecks to opportunity.  We also adopted the concept of “targeted universalism” as a lens through which we will do this work moving forward.  Implementation is next.  To this end, a high-level Leading on Opportunity Council, co –led by the Chief Administrative Officer of Bank of America and a well-known grassroots education advocate, is forming to help drive implementation and ensure accountability for results.  A Leading on Opportunity implementation entity will be established as a supporting organization of Foundation For The Carolinas to drive and coordinate implementation in the years ahead.  We view Leading on Opportunity as more than an initiative.  It is a movement for change that will take many years, considerable resources and much collaboration across all sectors in our community to bring about real and lasing change.  Countless organizations, businesses, institutions, and individuals are eager to engage and be part of our Leading on Opportunity movement. Charlotte-Mecklenburg hopes to serve as an example of how a local community can come together to positively influence the future of all children and youth.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Foundation Grants Programs

The Charlotte Mecklenburg Community Foundation (CMCF) is an affiliate of Foundation For The Carolinas. Managed by FFTC, this foundation oversees a permanent endowment created to benefit a broad range of charitable purposes.  Children and Youth is one of CMCF’s priority focus areas for its annual grantmaking.  In 2016, CMCF granted $550,000 to 24 organizations serving children and youth in our county.  Grants typically range from $10K-$50K.  In 2017, we have begun the process of better aligning our grants with the Leading on Opportunity strategies and recommendations.  We anticipate fully transitioning to this focus within the next several years.  We are also standing up a brand new Child and Family Stability Grants Program that will focus on providing grants that will help lift up the families in which children live.  We are in the process of designing the program and will be ready to launch the first grant cycle in fall 2017.

For a copy of the report and more information, please go to our website: