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$750K awarded to middle school out-of-school time programs

By Ursula Helminski

On June 20, the New York Life Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance announced $750,000 in grant awards to 18 middle school out-of-school time (OST) programs serving disadvantaged youth in communities across the nation. The grants mark the first awards made under the Foundation’s new $1.95M “Aim High” initiative, aimed at supporting organizations doing outstanding work to help underserved middle school students reach ninth grade on time.

The selection of grantees was highly competitive, with more than 475 applications submitted. Recipients are all afterschool, summer and expanded learning programs, and include a broad range of approaches and communities served, from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Tacoma, Washington; San Antonio, Texas to San Francisco, California; and Burns, Oregon to Brooklyn, New York.

Four organizations were awarded a $100,000 two-year grant:

  • After-School All-Stars DC (Washington, D.C.)
  • Genesee Area Focus Fund (Flint, Mich.)
  • Harlem RBI, Inc. (New York, N.Y.)
  • Latin American Youth Center (Washington, D.C.)

Four organizations were awarded a $50,000 two-year grant:

  • Communities in Schools of Tacoma (Tacoma, Wash.)
  • ICAN: Positive Programs for Youth (Chandler, Ariz.)
  • Simpson Street Free Press (Monona, Wis.)
  • TOUCH (Tulsa, Okla.)

Ten organizations were awarded a one-year $15,000 grant:

  • America SCORES Chicago (Chicago, Ill.)
  • America SCORES Cleveland (Cleveland, Ohio)
  • Arab-American Family Support Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
  • Communities in Schools - San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)
  • Greater Seattle Techbridge (Seattle, Wash.)
  • Kids Club of Harney County (Burns, Ore.)
  • Mission Graduates (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • Seven Tepees Youth Program (San Francisco, Calif.)
  • South Asian Youth Action (SAYA) (Elmhurst, N.Y.)
  • YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids (Grand Rapids, Mich.)

Research has shown that for disadvantaged students, more learning time in the form of high-quality afterschool, expanded-day and summer programs leads to greater academic achievement, better school attendance and more engaged students.

The grant recipients may use funds for capacity building, to enhance direct service activities, and/or for program expansion. The recipients of two-year grants were chosen on the strength of their support for youth in the transition to the ninth grade, specifically around such indicators of success as on-time promotion; school attendance rates; improved behavior, grades and test scores; and/or the development of social and emotional skills.

Since 2013, the New York Life Foundation has invested more than $24 million in national middle school OST efforts, supporting organizations that provide nearly 500,000 middle school youth with afterschool and summer programming. Foundation grants have supported an additional 6 million hours of OST programming.

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