Foundation grantmaking focuses on four major program areas.
These programs touch upon a number of major issues.
Each grantmaking program also works within clearly stated geographic parameters or regions.
For general information and resources about philanthropy,
visit our Philanthropy Resources page.
Kids on the Move: Afterschool Programs Promoting Healthy Eating and Physical Activity
America After 3PM: Afterschool Programs in Demand
Expanding Minds and Opportunities: Leveraging the Power of Afterschool and Summer Learning for Student Success
The Mott Foundation’s Pathways to Opportunity program supports initiatives around the U.S. that promote learning beyond the classroom especially for traditionally underserved children and youth — as a strategy for improving public education.
This grantmaking includes strengthening afterschool through technical assistance, research, evaluation and policy development, and by building public support. We also fund community schools internationally under our Civil Society program, as well as afterschool-related projects in Mott’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, via our Flint Area program.
New Pathways to Opportunity plan puts youth and education first
Kyle Caldwell joined the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation as program director for its Pathways Out of Poverty program in January 2013, in the midst of a major effort to refocus the Foundation’s national grantmaking to reduce the impacts of persistent poverty. During the next 18 months, Caldwell led his team in creating the Pathways to Opportunity plan, which was approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees in late 2014. Below, he explains the new plan, its grantmaking strategies and factors that influenced its development.
Kyle Caldwell, Pathways to Opportunity program director, visiting with Brownell STEM Academy students.
Photo by Rick Smith
The Foundation last updated its anti-poverty grantmaking program 15 years ago. What prompted the decision to develop a new plan that focuses on opportunity?
The Great Recession really influenced the way we looked at poverty. Over the past several years, the Foundation has been taking a hard look at the research on poverty, and one glaringly obvious fact that influenced our thinking was the profound and persistent negative effect it has on families, and especially children.
Prior to my arrival, the Foundation had discussions with many experts in the field about these trends — the most alarming being that too many children in poverty lack access to quality education and career opportunities. As a result, we became more and more concerned with the widening gaps in opportunity that children and young people from low- and moderate-income families are facing today. This helped us identify the “north star” for our planning process and defined the way we think about pathways to opportunity.
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When Herb Higgin, coordinator of the Safe Harbor afterschool program in Michigan City, Indiana, asked Al Walus to mentor a newly organized high school robotics team, Walus not only signed on as a volunteer, but eventually recruited 16 engineers from other area companies.
Walus is a longtime member of Michigan City’s Economic Development Corporation and on the staff of Christopher Burke Engineering. He was concerned with preparing the area’s next-generation workforce — one capable of filling the increasingly high-tech, high-skill demands of local industry and businesses.
“Afterschool was our foot in the door,” he said. “It was an opportunity to pique kids’ interest in science, technology and engineering.”
Increasingly, Walus is convinced that afterschool is a space where curriculum innovation can take place — innovations that eventually could impact the regular school day.
“Our local branch of Purdue University had expanded their engineering program — that’s what ultimately sold me on the value of Safe Harbor,” he said. “If our kids are going to take advantage of that opportunity, we have to start engaging them with the sciences before high school. That’s just too late.”
Are you part of an afterschool or summer program that inspires kids through science, technology, engineering and math, or what’s known as STEM learning?
The Noyce and Charles Stewart Mott foundations invite you to enter a video contest showcasing your program.
STEM Uncovered — the 2015 Video Competition will select six winning videos showcasing three afterschool and three summer programs. They’ll premiere at the national STEM summit in Washington, D.C., in September 2015. Winning programs each will receive a $1,000 prize.
Afterschool programs must submit their three-minute video by June 15, while summer programs have until August 1. Go to STEM Uncovered to learn more!
This grant will provide funds for Furman University to operate the White-Riley-Peterson Policy Institute in bringing together a diverse group of 15 emerging leaders from the afterschool and education fields to serve as fellows. Over the course of a year, fellows will be exposed to policy experts, an intensive policy curriculum, and national networking opportunities. Fellows will complete the program able to positively contribute to the development of policies that support afterschool and summer learning opportunities for children across the country.
This grant will continue to support the Collaborative Communications Group to provide targeted communications, policy, and research support to the statewide afterschool networks and the afterschool field as part of the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project. The Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project is a 50-state initiative to help schools and communities leverage the time beyond school to accelerate student achievement by sharing research on high-quality afterschool and expanded learning; identifying best practices on afterschool programs; and sharing affordable, sustainable, and effective expanded learning approaches. As part of the Expanded Learning and Afterschool Project, this grant will continue to support the development of new communications strategies and policy approaches to advance the afterschool field.
This grant will support the National Youth Leadership Council in its efforts to explore how afterschool and summer learning programs can integrate service-learning as a strategy to increase learning outcomes for students. The grantee will: 1) work with up to five statewide afterschool networks to integrate and support service-learning in local afterschool programs; 2) create a longer-term plan for how to infuse service-learning as a strategy for the statewide afterschool networks; and 3) work with the statewide afterschool networks and the National Summer Learning Association to develop resources and best practices for service-learning and afterschool programs.
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