MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards


The Afterschool Alliance and MetLife Foundation are pleased to present the sixth round of MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners for their work helping middle school students succeed in the programs, school and life:


AS220 Youth from Providence, Rhode Island
Hope Street Family Center - Youth Center from Los Angeles, California
Baltimore Urban Debate League from Baltimore, Maryland
Big Thought's Thriving Minds After-School from Dallas, Texas
BUILD, Inc. from Chicago, Illinois

Keeping Kids Safe and Supported in the Hours After School

AS220 Youth in Providence, Rhode Island, was first established as a partnership between a community arts organization and a juvenile detention center.  Since then, AS220 Youth has expanded its programming to also offer free arts courses year-round at the Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program (UCAP)—an alternative middle school for students at risk of dropping out of school—and a youth studio. AS220 Youth engages its students by teaching them to view themselves as artists and the program is a chance to hone their skills and invest in their future.

Hope Street Family Center – Youth Center, located in the South Park neighborhood of downtown Los Angeles, is the only afterschool program in that area for middle school students, many of whom are living in neighborhoods with high levels of crime and gang activity.  A partnership between the California Hospital Medical Center; the University of California, Los Angeles; and community residents, the Youth Center offers an array of educational, health, and social services to at-risk youth and their families.

The Role of Afterschool and the Common Core State Standards

The Baltimore Urban Debate League in Baltimore, Maryland, is a debate program serving more than 300 middle school students in 17 public schools that serve primarily low-income families. The program has aligned their goals and skills to the Common Core using debate-based educational activities to help students become engaged learners, critical thinkers, leaders and advocates, preparing them for success in college and career.

Students with Disabilities and Other Special Needs and Afterschool

Big Thought’s Thriving Minds After-School program in Dallas, Texas, creates an inclusive learning space where students with special needs benefit from a supportive environment and the opportunity to interact with their peers. Students of all abilities work together on reading and comprehension skills, participating in respectful discussions and providing constructive feedback to one another.

Why Data Matters: How Afterschool Programs Use Data to Improve Programming

BUILD, Inc. in Chicago, Illinois, first began in 1969 as a gang intervention program serving 200 youth in one Chicago neighborhood and has since grown to serve more than 3,000 children and youth year-round in close to a dozen communities across Chicago. The program focuses on collecting and analyzing data to improve programming and ensure that it is meeting the needs of its students and staff, implementing strategic improvements based on the data they collect and analyze.

MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Award winners were honored on May 22, 2014 at the “Breakfast of Champions”—a gala event in Washington, D.C., that is a part of the Afterschool for All Challenge, which brings together hundreds of educators, parents, afterschool leaders and advocates from around the country for a series of events and meetings with Members of Congress.  Winners were each presented with a $10,000 check from MetLife Foundation.  Additionally, awardees and other notable nominees will be recognized in our Afterschool in Action Compendium.


MetLife Foundation and the Afterschool Alliance have been recognizing innovative programs since 2008. Below are previous years’ winners:

2012: Green Energy Technologies in the City (GET City) (Lansing, MI); The Wooden Floor (Santa Ana, CA); Latino Arts Strings & Mariachi Juvenil Program (Milwaukee, WI); Kid Power, Inc.-The VeggieTime Project, (Washington, D.C.); and Parma Learning Center (Parma, ID).

2011:  Kids Rethink New Orleans (New Orleans, LA); Higher Achievement (Washington, D.C.); Urban Arts/Project Phoenix  (Oakland, CA); 21st Century PASOS (Gettysburg, PA); and America SCORES (Chicago, IL).

2010: Cypress Hills/East New York (CHENY) Beacon Program (Brooklyn, NY); Junior ACE (Sacramento, CA);Learning through an Expanded Arts Program - LeAp 22 (Bronx, NY); San Antonio Youth Centers (San Antonio, TX); Science Club for Girls and C.E.L.L.S. - Career Exploration, Leadership and Life Skills (Cambridge, MA); and The Bridge Project (Denver, CO).

2009: Colorado MESA (Denver, CO); the Student Success Jobs Program (Boston, MA); Arizona ICAN (Chandler, AZ); the RiverzEdge Arts Project (Woonsocket, RI); Challenging Horizons Program (Columbia, SC); and the Ann Arbor Teen Center’s Neutral Zone (Ann Arbor, MI).

2008: LA’s BEST (Los Angeles, CA); Lincoln Community Learning Centers (Lincoln, NE); Native Youth Club (Sioux Falls, SD); and The After-School Corporation (New York, NY).

If you have any questions about the MetLife Foundation Afterschool Innovator Awards, please contact Nikki Yamashiro at or call (202) 347-2030.