The Crimsonbridge Foundation is an entrepreneurial philanthropic organization that builds bridges of collaboration to create transformative solutions to improve the lives of our nation’s youth and families. We innovate and strategically invest in education, leadership development and capacity building programs to help America’s youth and nonprofit organizations achieve their potential.
Promoting a robust nonprofit sector by supporting the development of existing and emerging leaders.
#Community is the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s commitment to participate, engage, listen, and learn with the communities we support. It is a team driven social philanthropy initiative to take relationships beyond grant proposals and engage directly with partners to better understand challenges, identify solutions, leverage new resources, celebrate success, and build community. It’s our approach to philanthropy and community partnership.
A new report by MDRC offers lessons on culturally responsive approaches that colleges and universities can implement to support Latino student college success. Through interviews with students, faculty, staff, and administrators at five California colleges, MDRC researchers collected feedback and information on campus programs, services, and interventions that served Latino student needs. The report, funded in part by Crimsonbridge Foundation, is part of MDRC’s Latino Academic Transfer and Institutional Degree Opportunities (LATIDO) Project, which examines approaches to increasing the transfer and college completion rate of Latino students attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
The Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded $110,000 in grants to six organizations in the Greater Washington Region that help first-generation students and others of underrepresented backgrounds navigate and complete their journeys in higher education.
Since 2015, Crimsonbridge has invested $260,000 in programs and research to advance college completion for students who are the first in their family to attend college or of diverse or under-resourced backgrounds. Driven by a shared goal of increasing college success rates, Crimsonbridge partnered with the Scheidel Foundation in 2017 to launch the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. In addition to the foundations, C3 partners include six exemplary nonprofits that shepherd students to and through college graduation: Capital Partners for Education, Collegiate Directions, College Success Foundation – District of Columbia, CollegeTracks, Generation Hope, and New Futures.
In this second year of partnership, Crimsonbridge grants are tailored to meet the unique needs of each C3 nonprofit. Grants will support the expansion of college completion programming, as well as the creation and build-out of career readiness services for students in college.
“Investing in college success is a priority for the foundation and for our country,” said Crimsonbridge Foundation President and Founder Gabriela Smith. “We are excited to continue learning and collaborating with our partners in the C3 Initiative to advance college success regionally.”
C3 participants gather three times per year to reflect on challenges, share best practices, and embrace opportunities for collaboration. Through program feedback, participants have shared that it is “beneficial to connect with other organizations with similar missions” and state that sessions have “opened up my eyes to the challenges everyone is having, so I don’t feel alone.” The next meeting, launching year two of the C3 cohort, will be held in July 2019.
Can someone with nearly 25 years of experience in education, a doctorate and three years of experience as a nonprofit executive director find something to learn in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership? The answer was a resounding, “Yes,” for Michelle Edwards of Live It Learn It.
“Learning every aspect of nonprofit management was amazing,” said Michelle, a certificate program graduate and executive director of Live It Learn It, a rigorous experiential learning program that turns the region’s parks, museums, and monuments into rich learning experiences and helps local children of color feel like they belong in these spaces.
Michelle became Live It Learn It’s executive director in 2016, taking over from Founder Matthew Wheelock. Enrolling in the certificate program in the summer of 2018, with support from the Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund, gave her a window into the theory behind the hands-on practice she was already getting in nonprofit management. It also gave her more confidence as she translated her leadership skills from nearly 25 years in education, including 10 as a school principal, to the nonprofit realm.
While Michelle was interested in every part of the certificate program’s curriculum, learnings around board development and engagement, and fundraising have been immediately applicable over the past year.
“I really truly understand our roles now and how the board and executive director are the twin engines in this jet,” said Michelle.
Since completing the program, Michelle has guided Live It Learn It to update its board roles and responsibilities and organizational by-laws, and the organization is now ready to bring on new board members. With new clarity around fundraising, Michelle has also built a development team and felt better able to articulate what was expected of them.
The week-long, immersive program also allowed for deep conversations with a diverse mix of leaders working in various kinds of nonprofits. These leaders are now part of a network that Michelle feels proud to contribute to, as well as one she is comfortable reaching out to for support.
In addition to time with her classmates, Michelle appreciated meeting with Crimsonbridge staff during the program and encourages more funders to get to know participants and to support participation by diverse leaders.
“Hear what people are learning. Have lunch with attendees. Continue to build relationships and be sure that diverse voices are in the room. Those we serve need to see us in these leadership roles,” said Michelle.
Learn more about Live It Learn It, Georgetown’s Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program or the Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund.
Latino Student Fund Recognizes Crimsonbridge Foundation
During its 25th Anniversary Gala the Latino Student Fund (LSF) recognized Crimsonbridge Foundation with the Community Builder Award. Watch the below video to learn more about our partnership.