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Destination Workforce training

Transforming Employee Lives and Businesses through English Literacy

August 2019

Joanna White, Regional Director of Food and Beverage at the Hilton DoubleTree owned and managed by B.F. Saul in Tyson’s Corner, VA, witnessed the emotional toll that a language barrier caused a Spanish-speaking member of her staff who was attempting to answer a customer’s question. “They will not speak up [again] because we didn’t teach them the right way.”

Recognizing that many of her employees were English-language learners, Joanna and Tish McFadden, DoubleTree’s HR Director, took action. With the support of the hotel’s General Manager and B.F. Saul, Joanna and Tish now oversee the hotel’s partnership with the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia (LCNV) and its Destination Workforce® program. LCNV is a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching adults the basic skills of reading, writing, speaking, and understanding English so they can access employment and educational opportunities and more fully and equitably participate in the community.

Launched in 2015, Destination Workforce® is a bold and innovative initiative that builds partnerships between LCNV and local businesses to offer courses for employees to learn English, gain industry-specific vocabulary and workplace skills, and earn credentials related to their industry. Earlier this year, Assistant Secretary Scott Stump from the US Department of Education visited LCNV to learn more about Destination Workforce® and the transformative impact LCNV is having in Northern Virginia. LCNV offers classes that combine language lessons with customer-service training to job-seeking English-language learners. Learners have the opportunity to obtain the Guest Service Gold® certification, a credential recognized by the American Hotel and Lodging Institute and widely applicable to any service-oriented sector.

Employers like B.F. Saul recognize that investing in the education and training of their employees, who represent the business each day, will increase guest loyalty and experience, reduce staff turnover, and increase productivity. Industry experts, like Joanna and Tish at B.F. Saul’s Hilton DoubleTree, were so attracted to LCNV’s mission that they decided to join LCNV’s team of Credential Trainers and facilitate opportunities for employer partners to meet promising job seekers and for graduates of the class to have access to new employment pathways.

The Crimsonbridge Foundation made a grant to LCNV in 2018 to expand Destination Workforce® and develop a new curriculum in another high-demand industry. “We know that learning English allows our students to engage in their communities as successful workers, proactive parents, and engaged citizens,” shared LCNV Executive Director Roopal Mehta Saran. “Thanks to Crimsonbridge Foundation, our adult neighbors learn English so they can become influencers, organizers, voters, change-seekers, and change-makers.”

With the help of a pro bono consulting team from Accenture, LCNV chose to expand to the restaurant industry and launched a partnership in July with José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup, one of DC’s major restaurant groups. The class will be LCNV’s first program in DC and the 11-week course will serve employees from six local restaurants. Like LCNV’s other employer partners, ThinkFoodGroup will pay LCNV a fee for bringing this valuable education opportunity to their employees. Since launching Destination Workforce®, LCNV has explored various cost-share models. Some partners paid LCNV a fee for the course and their employees for the time they were in class. This is crucial as many employees have more than one job and cannot afford to spend extra hours at work if they are not being compensated. By helping to eliminate financial obstacles for their employees, a business is making a strong investment in their employees and brand.

Destination Workforce® not only benefits the business partners, but also transforms lives and communities. “When I first came to the United States, almost four years ago, I had nothing and I could not speak English,” shared Liyi, a participant of the Hilton Doubletree’s Destination Workforce® program. “I worked in a supermarket at night because I could not speak with the guests at the store. I was shy, I was sad, and I did not know what to do.” Liyi found that, through Destination Workforce®, she was able to earn an industry-recognized credential, obtain a higher-paying job that offers growth opportunities, and perform better in her career and within her community. “I am proud of myself because of my English and I feel like I am finally part of the United States. Finally, I feel like a person again.”

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Learning Session: Supporting Students on the Journey to and through College

August 2019

With just 58% of students earning a college degree within six years, there are now more college dropouts than high school dropouts in the United States. These young adults are leaving college campuses with debt, but without a degree. For students from under-resourced families who are also the first in their family to go to college the numbers are more stark—just 11% are earning a college degree.

A recent Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers learning session explored the challenges that many students in our region face in the journey to and through college, the key supports and services that help students thrive in college, what quality looks like in such programs, and how philanthropy can effectively engage to ensure everyone has the opportunity for postsecondary success.

Elizabeth Morgan of the National College Access Network (NCAN) kicked off the conversation sharing national statistics and the limits of information available regionally around college access and competition.

Crimsonbridge Foundation Executive Director Danielle Reyes then moderated a panel discussion with nonprofit leaders Amma Felix, President of Collegiate Directions, Julie Green, Executive Director of New Futures, and Nicole Lynn Lewis, CEO of Generation Hope. All three of these organizations are members of the College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. This initiative serves as a partnership between Crimsonbridge, the Scheidel Foundation, and six nonprofits to share ideas, learn from successes and mistakes, and partner to solve issues. The nonprofit partners in the C3 Initiative, including the three represented in the panel, act to support and eliminate barriers facing first-generation and under-resourced students. Collegiate Directions supports students financially, academically, and culturally throughout high school and into post-grad life. New Futures focuses on aiding under-served students through certifications and community colleges with scholarships, academic advising, and career coaching. Generation Hope, provides mentoring, resources, and services to help teen parents become college graduates and their children enter kindergarten at higher levels of school readiness.

The conversation focused on topics such as capacity building opportunities within the organizations, the importance and role of current and prospective partnerships, and barriers facing students. The panelists shared how each of their organizations would benefit from strengthened partnerships with colleges and universities and involvement from state-level representatives. Nicole emphasized the significance of having available completion funds, or flexible money, for students who need emergency financial assistance in order to continue with their college education. And finally, all three of the panelists agreed that communications work is key in changing the narrative so that the students are viewed as young adults with a right to a college education and the resources necessary to complete their college education.

Overall, the conversation imparted the message that financial investments do not support these students alone, but that the personal support of mentors, partners, colleges and universities, funders, and policy-makers are all instrumental in determining the future of a young adult striving to complete their education.

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New Futures infographic

Disrupting the Conversation Around Four-Year Degrees

July 2019

New Futures helps under-resourced young people in the Greater Washington region forge their own path to college success—one that prioritizes community college and shorter-term postsecondary credentials as the first best step to launching a rewarding career quickly and affordably. For nearly 200 program participants each year, New Futures provides financial scholarships, academic advising, skills-building workshops, and career coaching, all with a focus on careers in high-growth fields. In a new infographic, New Futures, a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative, shares what sets their program apart and the impact it is having on the young people they serve.

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Impact in Review 2015-2018

Impact in Review

July 2019

We are driven by the conviction that advancing the nonprofit sector and working to improve education are critical for our youth to succeed, our communities across America to prosper and for our country to thrive. In this new publication, see how we’ve worked within and across sectors to develop innovative solutions, invest in successful programs, and work with nonprofits to augment their impact. Learn about programs and initiatives launched, and the ways we have supported and collaborated with community partners far beyond grantmaking from 2015 through 2018.

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Capital Partners for Education 25th anniversary video

Unlocking Potential through Mentoring

June 2019

In this video celebrating the 25th anniversary of Capital Partners for Education (CPE), hear how mentoring through CPE has helped to unlock the potential inside more than 700 local students. CPE is a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative and provides one-to-one mentoring and college and career success programming to students from under-resourced families in the Washington, DC area.

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Case Study on Cross-Sector Partnership

Case Study: Cross-Sector Partnership to Develop Teachers and Unlock Student Potential through Brain Science

June 2019

This new case study, told from the funder’s perspective, reflects on the history of the cross-sector partnership of Crimsonbridge, the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, and Teach for America D.C. Region. It documents a philanthropist’s path in establishing and maintaining a successful long-term collaboration, offers examples of the unique roles funders can play, and shares insights on actions that donors and foundations can take to ensure partnership success.

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Lessons on Advancing Latino College Success

June 2019

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.

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Expanding College Completion Programming and Advancing College Success for Students in the Greater Washington Region

June 2019

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.

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