The Boston Foundation

Contact Information

75 Arlington St
Boston, MA 02116 - 3936
(617) 338-2691
Social Innovation Fund 2012

Executive Summary

Founded in 1915, the Boston Foundation (TBF), Greater Boston's community foundation, is one of the oldest and largest community foundations in the nation. TBF makes more than $80 million in grants every year. TBF also plays a major civic leadership role for our region. All of the work of TBF is guided by two main strategic goals that reflect our deep commitment to strengthening our communities:

1) Greater Boston residents are successful and thriving

2) Greater Boston communities are vibrant

As part of those commitments, we are the lead support of a major citywide strategy to improve the rate of college success for graduates of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Called Success Boston, the initiative is a powerful partnership of Mayor Thomas M. Menino's Office, BPS, TBF, and 38 of the area's higher education institutions. Success Boston is focused on three key areas to ensure that BPS students are "Getting Ready, Getting In and Getting Through" college.

"Getting Ready" focuses on removing academic barriers by increasing the curricular rigor and course offerings of our middle and high schools, and on enhancing BPS students' college readiness skills. Getting Ready also encompasses a focus on overall positive youth development for participants.

"Getting In" and "Getting Through" focus on helping students apply to, select, enroll in, and transition to two- and four-year institutions of higher education. Nonprofit partners are helping Boston's high school students make the transition to college. Beginning with the Class of 2009, Success Boston's nonprofit subgrantees began providing summer college preparation, ongoing financial aid advising, and two-year long transition coaching and mentoring to cohorts of students.

Boston area colleges and universities have committed to collecting and reporting data on their students, setting measurable goals for increasing college graduation rates, and ensuring the existence of effective student support programs. Partners include the most frequently chosen colleges by BPS alumni, including University of Massachusetts Boston, Bunker Hill Community College, and others.

The objective of this phase of Success Boston is to double the college completion rates of BPS graduates, beginning with the Class of 2013. By 2018, the Boston Foundation expects that 70% of the students who enroll in the fall of 2011 will have completed a post-secondary certificate or degree. In the interim, success will be measured in the following ways:

1. Enrollment rates: semesters 1 and 2

2. GPA: percent of students maintaining a GPA of 2.0 or higher

3. Advancing from remedial to credit-bearing courses

4. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) completion

5. On track to earn a degree in 150% of the time (as measured by credits earned toward degree completion each semester)

6. Year 2 re-enrollment

The initiative's partners believe that the important efforts of BPS and participating colleges and universities, coupled with a comprehensive approach to aligning students support across sectors, will lead to a substantial increase in the college graduation rate. Success Boston pilot programs as well as significant research from other national models show that BPS students can complete college within this time frame if major systems provide them with:

1) Academic preparation at the level needed to enroll and succeed, without remediation, in credit-bearing general education courses.

2) Information, advising, and work experiences that facilitate the development of clear, realistic career goals and plans.

3) A solid foundation in "college ready" behaviors including, but not limited to, academic skills and awareness necessary to self-advocate and manage their studies.

4) Expanded access to resources that minimize the financial burden of higher education.

5) Means to access supports and integrate into the social and academic communities of college.

Success Boston's work is underway, yet more resources are needed to a) scale the promising pilots and b) implement new programs which are built upon evidence-based youth development initiatives. An annual $2 million investment from SIF for five years for Success Boston, a geographically-based youth development initiative, will allow partners to intensely focus on the college success of BPS graduates and build their staff and organizational capacity to become fully engaged in the strategy.

Award Information

Application ID: 12SI138702
CNCS Award Amount:
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