Twin Cities Strive in Partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way

Twin Cities Strive in Partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way
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Twin Cities Strive in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way, will focus on improving kindergarten readiness, 3rd-grade reading proficiency, 9th-grade readiness for upper-level math, four-year high school graduation, and post-secondary enrollment among low-income students in the St. Paul/Minneapolis area, working with at least 11 subgrantees.

Grantee Information
Federal Awards: 
$2 million over two years
Geographic Focus: 
Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota; Counties of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington
Collaborating Partners: 
University of Minnesota Center for Research and Educational Improvement (CAREI), Wilder Research, Improvement Networks
Collaborating Funders: 
St. Paul Foundation, University of Minnesota Foundation, Bush Foundation, Greater Twin Cities United Way, General Mills Foundation, and The Minneapolis Foundation. Additional commitments from Cargill, 3M, Target Corporation, and the Minnesota Vikings are anticipated.

Twin Cities Strive in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way will transform the landscape of strategies aimed at improving educational outcomes for low-income Twin Cities children and youth at risk for academic failure through their local STRIVE Alliance collective impact initiative. With their Social Innovation Fund grant they will develop a strong portfolio of replicable, evidence-based programs designed to improve kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, ninth grade readiness for upper-level math, four-year graduation rates, and college enrollment rates for between 1,500 and 2,000 low-income youth each year. They will also build subgrantee and network capacity to grow program impact, strengthen programs' evidence of effectiveness, and provide a platform for expansion and replication of effective solutions. They expect to make grants to up to 11 subgrantees.

Track Record before Social Innovation Fund Grant:

  • The largest non-governmental funder of health and human services in Minnesota, GTCUW employs an open and competitive process to collectively engage partners in addressing persistent challenges.
  • GTCUW uses evidence and evaluation results in decision-making strategies for the following primary purposes:
    • To determine whether resources are being targeted where they are most needed,
    • To assess whether resources are having the expected results,
    • To determine whether changes in investment goals or strategies are needed,
    • To set achievable targets for investments and articulate appropriate benchmarks and measures of success, and
    • To guide development of technical assistance and support partnerships.
  • GTCUW partners with external evaluation experts such as Child Trends, Wilder Research, and CAREI, which have the capacity to manage complex data analyses and have experience designing and implementing rigorous evaluation studies.

 

Nonprofits Receiving Social Innovation Fund Awards from Twin Cities Strive in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way

AchieveMPLSCollege Possible College Program
ServeMinnesota Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation
Way to Grow Amherst A. Wilder Foundation

AchieveMPLS
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Area Served: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $100,000
Awarded in 2013

Achieve Minneapolis will create a targeted cohort of 200 at-risk Minneapolis high school students to receive more intense skills training in select industries to obtain high-quality, paid summer internships. Providing tangible and meaningful connections between academic efforts and employment will increase at-risk students' motivation to succeed in school, graduate high school and attend college. The program will provide students with: intensive work readiness training to prepare youth for summer internships; education and specialized trainings to help them develop their academic, professional and life skills; placement in meaningful summer internships, and; supportive services, such as transportation assistance, to help low-income students get to trainings and internships. AchieveMPLS will be working with the selected SIF evaluator to identify strong and measurable academic and non-academic outcomes that will support Generation Next's goal of closing the achievement gap. AchieveMPLS' connection to the Minneapolis Public School district positions the program to be highly scalable.

 

College Possible College Program
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Area Served: Saint Paul and Minneapolis Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $150,000
Awarded in 2013

College Possible will enhance and expand their college readiness and college persistence programs by an additional 280 students in Year 1 in Minneapolis and St. Paul.College Possible supports students from their junior year of high school through college degree completion, exclusively serving low-income students with a demonstrated need for its services. Their High School Program directly addresses the achievement gap by providing intensive ACT test preparation and admissions and financial aid consulting to high school juniors and seniors to help them earn college admission. The College Program completes their comprehensive approach to closing the achievement gap by providing support services to High School Program graduates through their college graduation date. Both programs provide services to youth in selected high schools and colleges in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, and they plan to grow their programs in to new partnering high schools in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. College Possible expects to see increases: in ACT scores; admissions to institutions of higher education; applications for financial aid; college enrollment; and college retention.

 

ServeMinnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Area Served: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $150,000
Awarded in 2013

ServeMinnesota will pilot two initiatives targeting close to 190 low-income children age 3 to Grade 3 in Minneapolis who are not on track toward reading proficiency:

1) MAVERIC - a vocabulary intervention that serves to increase the acquisition of high-frequency and high-utility vocabulary words to accelerate reading proficiency and reading comprehension;

2) Family Child Care Pilot - creating a literacy-rich environment and providing structured literacy interventions in Family Child Care settings in the Northside Achievement Zone and Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood.

The intended program outcomes will include: improved vocabulary for at-risk students, as determined using various assessments; higher passing rates and kindergarten readiness scores of students entering kindergarten; and higher scores on standardized reading tests. ServeMinnesota's strong presence in both the Minneapolis and Saint Paul Public School districts allows for them to rapidly scale the MAVERIC program to reach hundreds and potentially thousands of students in subsequent years.

 

Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Area Served: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $150,000
Awarded in 2013

Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation will pilot an enhanced quality improvement model for tutoring programs to accelerate achievement in reading and math proficiency for students in Saint Paul. Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation (SPPSF) has proposed working with an innovative consortium of 4 best in class tutoring partners (Volunteers of America Minnesota – AARP Experience Corps, Athletes Committed to Educating Student (ACES), CommonBond Communities and Project for Pride and Living) to serve an additional 150 students in Saint Paul with the possibility of growing their work to additional schools and students in Minneapolis in subsequent years.  Through their quality improvement model, SPPSF proposes to provide more intensive technical assistance to academic tutoring programs, along with additional trainings for math tutors and data-driven professional development opportunities. Using various program quality assessments, as well as standardized tests and academic growth assessments for students in reading and math, SPPSF expects to see an increase in program quality of the above mentioned tutoring partners as well as increased academic achievement for students receiving tutoring in reading and math.

 

Way to Grow
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Area Served: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $100,000
Awarded in 2013

Way to Grow will expand their Great by 8 home visiting model, which provides an integrated family, school and community approach to substantially improve children's literacy performance. Targeting an additional 150 low-income families living in Minneapolis with children age 3 through grade 3, Way to Grow prepares both the parent and child to thrive by focusing on teaching parents how to educate and care for their child, while also addressing the developmental and educational needs of the child. In addition to achieving improved outcomes around parenting and health outcomes for children and parents, Way to Grow expects to see improved school readiness and increased academic proficiency of participating students. Way to Grow's active participation in the Generation Next improvement network will ensure that the larger community of like-minded providers will learn and benefit from their unique family-oriented and holistic approach to closing the achievement gap.

 

Amherst A. Wilder Foundation
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Area Served: Saint Paul, Minnesota
Initial Award Amount: $150,000
Awarded in 2013

Saint Paul Promise Neighborhoods (SPPN), which is fiscally sponsored by the Amhest A. Wilder Foundation, will coordinate the implementation of culturally-specific early education and early grade literacy interventions in the designated Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood community - a 250 block area of the Frogtown and Summit University neighborhoods of Saint Paul. SPPN will use SIF funds to ensure that an additional 140 children are kindergarten ready and reading proficiently by 3rd grade. To achieve this, SPPN proposes to work with the University of Minnesota to adapt their Incredible Years evidence-based parenting program to the Hmong and African American communities in SPPN, while also working with the Network for the Development of Children of African Descent (NdCAD) to provide a culturally-based literacy tutoring program for African American children in this same Saint Paul community. SIF support will allow them to be more rooted in the community around parenting and literacy strategies to achieve improved outcomes related to kindergarten readiness and literacy proficiency for students in these two culturally specific target communities. This subgrant model is highly innovative in that it builds on the work of an existing collective impact model (Saint Paul Promise Neighborhood) within a larger collective impact model (Generation Next) while at the same time being laser-like focused on adapting and implementing programming that is customized to culturally specific populations. Through their participation in the Generation Next improvement networks, SPPN will be able to advance the work of the larger Twin Cities nonprofit and education sector in closing the achievement gap specifically for communities of color.

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