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.
This is the final post in a three-story series sharing how local Catholic schools used a small communications capacity building grant from the Crimsonbridge Foundation to serve, reach, engage, and enroll Hispanic students and families.
Over the past few years, Elizabeth Seton High School, an all-girls high school located in Prince George’s County, MD, has demonstrated that Latina enrollment and engagement is a priority. In 2015, Elizabeth Seton established a Latina Scholars program, an innovative program that includes mentoring, internship opportunities, leadership development, and scholarship support for a cohort of Hispanic students. In 2018, Sister Ellen Marie Hagar, president of Elizabeth Seton, decided to apply for and use a Bridges for Schools grant to hire a Latina Liaison to bolster the school’s efforts to build an inclusive school community. The results were impressive.
The Latina Liaison worked to increase communications between the school and Spanish-speaking parents by translating electronic newsletters, assisting parents with financial aid applications, and building relationships with parents through one-on-one phone calls and meetings. The Liaison also attended Elizabeth Seton’s Back to School Night to introduce herself to the parents of incoming freshmen. Sister Ellen Marie hoped that parents left Back to School Night feeling supported and confident “because the school had provided a clear avenue for them to be involved in the life of the school and a clear pathway for asking questions and resolving doubts.”
Elizabeth Seton High School plans to maintain this focus on inclusivity within their school and neighboring community. Latino parent ambassadors are encouraged to volunteer to help with both the enrollment and registration processes, and a professional translator will be hired to translate during private meetings between the school administration and Spanish-speaking parents.
“Parents can come to school and participate in scheduled activities,” shared Sister Ellen Marie, “but they can also come to school when they need assistance and know that they can be heard and helped because there is someone designated to serve them.”
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.
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.
This is the second post in a series sharing how local Catholic schools used a small communications capacity building grant from the Crimsonbridge Foundation to serve, reach, engage, and enroll Hispanic students and families.
Holy Redeemer School, a Pre-K to 8th grade school in Prince George’s County, MD, is committed to excellence in education and connecting with families in its community through its Catholic mission. Eighth grade teacher, Jennifer Eller, shared, “Reaching out to our local Catholic families and providing a Catholic education to those that desire it fulfills our school mission and our mission as Catholics.” It was this faithfulness to Holy Redeemer’s Catholic mission that inspired the school’s administration to use the Bridges for Schools grant to translate admissions and enrollment information for the school website, translate the parent-student handbook, and assembled a team of “Madrinas.”
Designed by the Alliance for Catholic Education and the University of Notre Dame, the Madrinas Model employs a grassroots marketing approach in which Madrinas serve as mentors for parents who are interested in enrolling their children in a Catholic school. Holy Redeemer recruited current parents at the school to serve as Madrinas. The Madrinas attended school open houses to translate and speak to potential families and worked with the school faculty to create a welcoming community.
Holy Redeemer also worked with a professional translation company to translate school promotional materials and website content. To help share these new Spanish-language materials, the school administration connected with pastors at nearby parishes that offer Spanish-language masses and received their help in distributing materials.
Jennifer reflected on the impact of the grant saying, “This grant opened my eyes as a teacher to how I am and can be communicating with my current Spanish-speaking families. It also allowed us to welcome more people into our community who might otherwise have stayed away.”
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.
In this new video, meet CollegeTracks, which serves more than 1,600 Montgomery County students and is a community partner in our College Completion Colleagues (C3) Initiative. The video features College Access Director Lindsey Barclay (an incoming Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund recipient in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership) who speaks to the value of coaching in college success.
Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership and the Crimsonbridge Foundation have partnered since 2016 to conduct targeted outreach to attract local nonprofit leaders of diverse backgrounds and provide scholarships to support their participation in the Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program. To date, the partnership has supported more than 30 diverse leaders, strengthened the capacity of nonprofits serving our local community, and significantly increased the diversity of the Certificate Program.
In this new piece, learn how program alumni are joining the effort and leveraging their networks and experience to support local leaders and nonprofits. Click below to read “Growing Networks and Diversity: CPNL and Crimsonbridge Foundation Partnership,” written by Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.