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 succeed.
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#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.
Last month we reported that 16 DC area schools have received Bridges for Schools grants to support strategic Spanish and bilingual communications capacity building. Since 2018, this funding has helped participating Catholic schools invest in strategies and resources to create a welcoming environment, promote engagement and participation of Hispanic families, and increase enrollment of Hispanic students.
What do these investments look like? That’s the exciting part! Bridges for Schools grants are tailored, so that each school has the opportunity to determine their specific needs and identify resources. Over the past two years, these schools have found research-based and creative ways to expand their Spanish-language resources, marketing, and outreach. A vast majority of the schools use funding for human translation of school marketing and enrollment materials, which helps to ensure equitable access for Spanish-speaking families. Many schools are adding original Spanish-language content to their website, and one school will produce a Spanish-language video for their website. Other schools have chosen to hire Spanish-speaking liaisons or to provide stipends for translators at schools open houses and other events.
This month, we’re featuring two Bridges for Schools recipients, who have used their $2,500 grant to successfully develop their Spanish language communications capacity and outreach.
Saint Michael’s School – Latino Liaison has Transformative Impact
Since becoming the school principal in 2006, Lila Hofmeister has worked to create a welcoming environment for all families, especially the increasing number of Latino students and families in their school community. For years, Saint Michael’s relied on volunteers to provide Spanish-language support in the school office. When Saint Michael’s applied for Bridges for Schools in 2018, they requested funding to hire a part-time bilingual Latino Liaison to work in the front office and create a bridge between Spanish-speaking parents and school faculty. Although the new employee was only in the office for 12 hours each week, she had an immediate and transformative impact on the school. From translating the school’s weekly newsletter to hosting events that bring together the parish and school communities, the role of the Latino Liaison has become essential. This year, Saint Michael’s received additional funding through Bridges for Schools to increase the role to nearly full-time. After the 2018-19 school year, Principal Hofmeister shared that hiring “a Latino Liaison has positively impacted our total school environment, enabling all staff to widely communicate with our families. We are able to actively engage our students and parents in school activities and encourage their participation when they may otherwise be hesitant.” Removing barriers to parent engagement is truly making a difference at Saint Michael’s.
Academy of the Holy Cross – Bilingual Parent Ambassadors Connect with Community
In 2018, the Academy of the Holy Cross used the Bridges for Schools grant to add Spanish-language content to the school website, translate admissions information, host open houses with Spanish-language translators, and launch a Parent Ambassador program that includes bilingual parents from the school community. In 2019, Holy Cross will continue their great work with the Parent Ambassadors Program. As explained by Danielle Ballantine, the school’s Director of Communications, “the Parent Ambassador Program at The Academy of the Holy Cross is an important way for us to connect with the community. We have over 45 parents, including several bilingual parents, who are already sharing their enthusiasm about Holy Cross and are actively involved both here and in their elementary and parish communities. Ambassadors provide prospective families their own personal experiences for navigating the high school selection process. Through the Parent Ambassador Program, we hope to continue to strengthen our relationships within the Latino community and further increase applications and enrollments of Latino students.” The Parent Ambassadors Program is just one example of how Holy Cross is working towards their mission to create a welcoming environment within and beyond the school bounds.
Washington, DC – The Crimsonbridge Foundation welcomes Robyn Attebury Ellis as its new program officer for College Success and Leadership. Since its inception in 2015, Crimsonbridge has invested in nonprofit leadership programs and in first-generation college success programs at universities, nonprofits, and research institutions. Ellis, who most recently served as the Director of College Readiness and Community Outreach at the University of the District of Columbia Community College (UDC-CC), will lead the expansion of programming and grantmaking in these two areas.
In her most recent role at UDC-CC, Ellis provided leadership and direction for college readiness programming and managed the largest and most inclusive dual enrollment program in the District of Columbia, establishing partnerships with 45 DC public and charter high schools and adult education programs.
Prior to joining UDC-CC, she worked as the Early College Coordinator at Bell Multicultural High School, a District of Columbia Public School, where she managed the early college and early high school programs and taught a college seminar. Before moving to DC, Ellis was the College Persistence and Volunteer Coordinator at Breakthrough Austin where she also mentored teachers in an intensive summer program for middle school students, the first in their family to go to college.
“Robyn not only comes with exceptional experience, but a true passion for helping students succeed in college and beyond.” says Danielle M. Reyes, executive director of the Crimsonbridge Foundation.
A native of Texas, Ellis received her bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Texas at Austin and holds a master’s degree in Comparative Education from the Institute of Education at the University of London in England. She lives in DC with her partner and their two children.
The Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded a new round of grants through its Bridges for Schools program, to provide strategic communications capacity-building support to Catholic schools committed to increasing their enrollment of Hispanic students and cultivating a welcoming and engaging environment for all families.
Hispanic children currently account for 25 percent of the school-age population in the United States and are projected to represent one-third of the school-age population by 2050. Despite this, many schools lack resources to successfully engage and serve Latino students and their families.
Bridges for Schools was designed to address the need for these resources and was launched in spring 2018 immediately following the Latino Enrollment Institute, a conference hosted in partnership with the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW). Over the past two years, the Foundation has awarded nearly $65,000 in grants to four high schools and twelve elementary schools in DC and Maryland through Bridges for Schools.
“It has been inspiring to see the many creative ways in which these schools are expanding their Spanish-language resources and building a welcoming school community.” says program officer Caitlin Furey. Working closely with each school, Furey helps design Bridges for Schools grants tailored to each schools’ unique circumstances and challenges.
Accurate translation is a high priority need for most schools. In fact, the majority of the schools use a portion or all of the grant funding for human translation of school marketing and enrollment materials, which helps to ensure equitable access for Spanish-speaking families. Schools can choose to either use a professional translation company or provide a stipend for bilingual school staff to translate materials.
This round, grant funding will enable six schools to add original Spanish-language content to their website, and one school will produce a Spanish-language video for its website. Other schools have chosen to hire Spanish-speaking community liaisons or to provide stipends for translators at open houses and other events. All of these efforts have helped to make the school application process and culture more accessible and welcoming to Spanish-speaking families. In fact, several grant recipients from the first year of the program applied for a second year of funding because of the success they observed after implementing new grant supported resources.
Bridges for Schools is a part of the Foundation’s Hispanic Education Imperative, which seeks to enhance the experience of Hispanic families in Catholic schools and increase enrollment of Hispanic students in ADW schools to 20 percent by 2020.
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.
Wed Jan, 15 2020