Kresge Foundation Awards $3.7 Million for Social, Economic Mobility

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The Kresge Foundation in Troy, Michigan, has announced six grants totaling $3.7 million in support of efforts to connect low-income people with educational pathways and resources designed to help them achieve greater social and economic mobility.

Awarded through the Boosting Opportunities for Social and Economic Mobility for Families (BOOST) initiative, a three-year grantmaking collaboration between the foundation's Education and Human Services programs, the grants will support partnerships between human services nonprofits and community colleges that connect students with critical supports, making it easier for them them to juggle work, family, and school while studying. The grants also will support efforts to match the clients of human services organizations with accessible, high-quality educational pathways that lead to good-paying jobs and family-sustaining careers, and clients and students to educational opportunities that promote career advancement.

BOOST grantee partners include the Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Hartford and Capital Community College, which will provide families in central Connecticut with college application and financial aid assistance, career and financial coaching, and programming that promotes healthy family relationships; the Center for Urban Families and Baltimore City Community College, which will provide whole-family supports coupled with education and training for under- and unemployed fathers in Baltimore; and LaGuardia Community College and Commonpoint Queens in New York City, which will test a new approach that integrates English-language classes into a community health certificate program and provides wraparound supports for immigrant families.

The other grantees are Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Forward Service Corporation in Green Bay, which will use the funds to develop common intake tools, strengthen data sharing, and roll out a service delivery framework for students receiving public assistance or the college's basic needs supports; Onondaga Community College and PEACE, Inc. in Syracuse, New York, which will develop shared intake and referral processes, train staff in evidence-based coaching models, and incorporate analysis on lifetime/springboard jobs and career advising for client students; and Portland Community College and Albina Head Start in Oregon, which will work to expand career-focused education programs and holistic supports for Early Head Start and Head Start parents and address organizational or system-level barriers to meeting the needs of parent-students.

"By bringing human services nonprofits that aspire to use strong two-generation, whole-family approaches together with community colleges," said Raquel T. Hatter, managing director of the Kresge Foundation’s Human Services Program, "we can eliminate the barriers that limit access to higher education and create career pathways that move families up the social and economic ladder."

(Photo credit: Kresge Foundation)