Reyna Sharp Joins the Crimsonbridge Team

September 2018

As a Program Officer at the Crimsonbridge Foundation, Reyna oversees the Foundation’s partnerships with organizations working in Education and Nonprofit Leadership Development.

Reyna brings a wealth of diverse personal and professional experience in education, leadership development, and philanthropy to the Crimsonbridge Foundation. After graduating from the University of Colorado, Reyna joined the El Pomar Foundation as a Fellow, where she worked on programs to encourage leadership and community development. She directed a college leadership program, partnering with universities across Colorado. She also worked as the Director of Special Projects at The Donnell-Kay Foundation, a private family foundation that works to improve public education in Colorado through research, policy, creative dialogue, and critical thinking. In her role there, she implemented a pilot training program to help new school leaders successfully open K-12 schools serving low-income communities.

While living overseas with her husband, Reyna worked as an instructor of English as a Second Language, teaching in K-12 schools and adult programs in Europe, Africa, and Washington, DC. Most recently, Reyna worked on projects with the Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School and the DC Bar Foundation, helping to address educational and other critical needs of immigrant and underserved communities in Washington, DC.

Reyna holds a master’s degree in Education from George Mason University and a bachelor’s in Political Science as well as a Certificate in Leadership from the University of Colorado. Reyna is a mentor for an adult immigrant through the Carlos Rosario School. In addition, she is a certified yoga teacher passionate about women’s empowerment. In her spare time, she is an outdoor enthusiast who loves to travel.

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The Crimsonbridge Foundation awards more than $20,000 in grants through its new Bridges for Schools program

July 2018

The Crimsonbridge Foundation has awarded more than $20,000 in grants to 12 schools in the Archdiocese of Washington through its new Bridges for Schools program, which helps schools increase their Spanish language and bilingual communications capacity to better serve Hispanic families.

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PRESS RELEASE: Local Foundations Partner to Invest in College Access and Success in the National Capital Region

June 2018

The Crimsonbridge Foundation has joined the Scheidel Foundation’s new College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative and has awarded $90,000 in grants to six organizations serving low-income students. Capital Partners for Education, College Success Foundation, Generation Hope, New Futures in Washington, DC, and College Tracks and Collegiate Directions in Maryland have each been awarded a $15,000 grant to support their college completion programs.

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Video Series Enhances Latino Student Fund’s Bilingual Communications Strategy

Maria Fernanda Borja, President and CEO of the Latino Student Fund May 2018

At the Latino Student Fund (LSF), our goal is to offer programs where students are supported from their first days in the classroom to the day they graduate from high school. The LSF offers seven programs in three program areas: academic support, post-secondary success, and family resources. We designed these three initiatives to encourage a college-going culture from a young age and offer families the chance to learn alongside their children while building a strong community.

Through our dual-generation programs and strong partnerships, the LSF works hard to create opportunities for all students to put themselves on a path to higher education. Over the past three years, we have opened two new program sites and started two new programs. As we continued to expand our services and start new outreach initiatives, we realized that certain marketing techniques, like flyers or brochures, would not succeed in a community where nearly 20% of adults are illiterate and even more speak a language other than English.

Through a partnership with the Crimsonbridge Foundation, the LSF created a series of bilingual videos in English and Spanish to showcase its work to the community. In the videos, students, volunteers, and families shared their stories, including their experiences with the LSF. Students spoke passionately about their LSF tutors, who encouraged students to enjoy learning and reach their fullest potential. Mentors proudly shared stories of progress made by their mentees, and the growth they saw in themselves as mentors, role models and friends. Perhaps the strongest messages came from the mothers and fathers of students, who voiced their opinions in Spanish. For these parents, speaking Spanish is part of their identity, and they want to show their children that language choice should never stop you from advocating for what is important to you.

These videos highlight the impact of the LSF and will be used to engage new students, families, volunteers, and donors. Regardless of reading level or mother tongue, members of the community can watch these videos and learn about the LSF, and how to get involved. As we near our 25th Anniversary in 2019, the Latino Student Fund hopes to broaden its impact by helping even more students reach their potential.


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Serving Our Children logo

Making Educational Dreams a Reality for Families

Kevin Mills, Serving Our Children and Caitlin Furey, The Crimsonbridge Foundation May 2018

All families want their children to be in an academic setting where they will thrive and succeed. Founded on the belief that all students are capable of significant academic achievement, and that all children, regardless of income and socioeconomic status, should have access to a quality education, Serving Our Children works with low-income families to make the option of private school a reality for thousands of D.C. students.

As the nonprofit responsible for administering the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), Serving Our Children is experienced in connecting low-income D.C. families to scholarships that enable them to send their children to private independent and parochial schools in D.C. During the 2017-18 school year alone, it administered OSP scholarships to 1,653 students in K-12.

Though demand for tuition assistance is high, the needs-based eligibility for OSP is limiting. In 2015, the Crimsonbridge Foundation reached out to Serving Our Children with the hope of responding to a specific demand from Hispanic families seeking assistance to access a Catholic education in this region.

Working with Serving Our Children, the Crimsonbridge Foundation seeded the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund in 2016 to provide scholarships with the goal of increasing access to quality Catholic schools for low-income, Latino youth in the Greater Washington Region. In addition to receiving scholarships, families are able to access application materials in Spanish and receive support from Serving Our Children’s bilingual staff, who work with parents in person, by phone, and at community events, to help navigate the education system and find an appropriate school.

As the parent of one Hispanic Education Imperative Fund scholarship recipient shared, “I arrived in the United States of America when I was four years old. I remember learning English in preschool. I remember growing up knowing I was different from my friends, but also being very proud of who I am and where I came from. When I was getting ready for high school, I wanted to attend a local Catholic high school. I applied and was accepted. Unfortunately, the financial demands made it impossible for me to attend. My son is now attending a Catholic high school. The Hispanic Education Imperative Fund helped make our dreams a reality. It made it possible for us to afford a Catholic education for our family.”

To date, nearly 50 students have received scholarships to attend Catholic schools in D.C. and Maryland with support from the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund and Serving Our Children.

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LATIDO Policy Brief

May 2018

In December 2017 the Crimsonbridge Foundation partnered with MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, education and social policy research organization, to launch the Latino Academic Transfer and Institutional Degree Opportunities (LATIDO) Project. The goal of the LATIDO Project is to examine approaches to increasing the transfer and college completion rate of Latino students attending Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs). Supported by the Crimsonbridge Foundation, The College Futures Foundation, and The James Irvine Foundation, among others, nearly 30 experts in postsecondary education of Latino students, including Selma Caal from the Crimsonbridge Foundation, attended an expert roundtable in December 2017. Released in April 2018, the LATIDO Policy Brief highlights key findings from the roundtable about promising institutional policies and approaches currently being implemented at Hispanic Serving Institutions to support Latino students. The hope is to provide insights to those seeking to improve the postsecondary educational outcomes of Latinos.

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The Multiplier Effect! How Small Investments in Communications Can Make Exponential Impact in Organizations and Communities

April 2018

The Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Danielle M. Reyes and Selma Caal will be presenting “The Multiplier Effect! How Small Investments in Communications Can Make Exponential Impact in Organizations and Communities” a new breakout session at this year’s Communications Network annual conference in San Francisco. The session’s key take aways? 1. You don’t need large communication investments to make a real difference. 2. Strategic investments in outreach and engagement of diverse communities leverages program work and impact. 3. Funding for communications can motivate organizations to assess and improve their capacity to serve diverse communities.

Learn more about the session here and follow them at @CrimsonbridgeDC, @danielle_reyes, and @SelmaCaal #ComNet18

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First University of Notre Dame Latino Enrollment Institute held in the National Capital Region

Earlier this month we were honored to partner with the Archdiocese of Washington to bring the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) here, to Washington DC, and provide a unique opportunity to local Catholic schools to participate and benefit from this breakthrough program.

The LEI is a program founded and led by the University of Notre Dame in response to national data indicating that Latinos are both the fastest-growing segment of the Catholic Church in the United States, and the most underserved by Catholic schools. Featuring presentations by elementary school leaders with demonstrated success in engaging the Latino community, the LEI provides school principals and pastors with clear and concrete strategies to transform their schools to attract and serve Latino students more effectively.

Principals, pastors, and staff from 50 local Catholic schools participated in the professional development training. Following the conference, 10 school leaders will have the opportunity to discuss challenges and best practices through participation in the Latino Enrollment Institute’s Principal Mentorship Program.

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The CTTL and TFA, DC Region: The Power of a Replicable Public and Private School Partnership

March 2018

In 2010, Gabriela Smith, Founder and President of the Crimsonbridge Foundation, and Glenn Whitman, Director of the CTTL at St. Andrew’s, cultivated this innovative public-private partnership with Teach for America, DC Region. Read more about this successful partnership that developed a fellowship for rising second-year TFA Corps members and TFA alumni in the DC region to receive training and feedback from veteran St. Andrew’s teachers in this blog post by the CTTL’s Julia Dean.

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Lost in Translation? Tips for Effective Translation Work

February 2018

Building organizational capacity is critical to every nonprofit organization. The Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Bridges Program works with nonprofits to build their capacity to execute communication strategies that effectively reach and engage Spanish speakers in our community. An important part of this capacity-building work is to support nonprofit organizations in translating accurate and professional Spanish language web content; designing Spanish language microsites; and creating bilingual videos. Based on our work and lessons learned with nonprofits, we share some tips that can facilitate translation efforts to reach Latino Spanish-speaking families.

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