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 allow the Afterschool Alliance to increase the quality and visibility of afterschool programs through the network-building efforts of AmeriCorps VISTA members skilled in afterschool issues. The VISTA members will work to enhance the capacity and effectiveness of statewide afterschool networks, increase implementation of the afterschool meals programs, and support STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning opportunities within the afterschool field.
This grant increase will support the Nebraska Statewide Afterschool Network in hosting an afterschool and summer science, technology, engineering and math systems building institute for statewide afterschool networks and partners. The institute will provide participants an opportunity to share best practices and emerging models, while working with national experts at the forefront of afterschool and summer science, technology, engineering and math.
This grant to the Pacific Science Center will support the Robert Noyce Fellowship in Informal STEM Learning. The fellowship is a public-private partnership initiative geared toward advancing high quality informal science education, including in afterschool and expanded learning programs. This initiative will include: 1) strengthening collaboration between the Department of Education and other federal agencies in the area of informal STEM learning; 2) working to advance STEM learning in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program; 3) building on the President's Educate to Innovate campaign by building collaborations with the corporate, nonprofit, and philanthropic communities; and 4) working with leading researchers to identify priorities in informal STEM learning, including identifying new tools, strategies, and programs that improve STEM learning opportunities.
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