News

Encouraging Ideas and Inspiring Educators: The Ideas in Education Festival 2016 at the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning

Mercedes Lemp, Director of Programs at the Crimsonbridge Foundation April 2016

With standards and testing dictating K-12 curriculums, it doesn’t always seem that educators are encouraged to think out of the box in finding ways to help students learn. This is not the case at the Ideas in Education Festival, sponsored by The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL). The Festival brings together educators from traditional public and charter, parochial, and independent schools who rarely have the opportunity to collaborate. It asks educators to share their best “out-of-the-box” ideas, methods, tools, and innovations. The festival also focuses on how to get those ideas into the hands of more teachers and school leaders, while also informing the thinking of policy makers and those interested in funding innovations in education.

In addition to hearing from incredibly insightful high-school students, presenters included innovators in the field such as Vanessa Rodriguez, an awardee of the prestigious Harvard Initiative for Learning and Teaching and the founder of the Teaching Brain Project, which conducts studies utilizing cutting edge two-person neuroscience technologies.

While the underlying theme of the festival was understanding how the brain works and the impact that should have on teaching, a related message prevalent throughout the day was the need for educators to know themselves and to really know their students–meeting them where they are, academically and emotionally. Presenter Eric Westendorf, Founder and CEO of LearnZillion, noted how recent research is reinforcing that learning is about the connections being made in the brain. Knowing this, it makes sense that classrooms be centered on the students rather than teacher-centric. Participants stressed the value of innovating as no one solution is effective in all settings.

The Festival also hosts a grant competition to encourage idea development and implementation. Collaboration Grants are designed for school teachers and leaders to work together to incubate, grow, and share an idea that benefits their students, schools, or professional community. Up to five $1000 grants will be awarded to participants, through support from the Crimsonbridge Foundation.

Only in its second year, this day-long festival had tremendous energy and provided an inspirational platform for educators and leaders who believe in the power of sharing, are passionate about transforming and advancing education, and are willing to work outside the box. #Ideasfest16

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Georgetown University Announces the Crimsonbridge Leadership Fund

March 2016

The Crimsonbridge Foundation and Georgetown University’s Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership at the McCourt School of Public Policy are launching a new scholarship program aimed at developing the leadership of nonprofit organizations in the Greater Washington Region.

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Local Foundation Invests in Adults Learning English in the Greater Washington Area

January 2016

The Crimsonbridge Foundation and its affiliate, the Crimsonbridge Group, have awarded $30,000 in grants to three English language programs serving low-income immigrants in the Greater Washington Region. The Literacy Council of Montgomery County in Maryland, Beacon for Adult Literacy in Virginia, and the Washington English Center in Washington, DC each received $10,000 to support Adult English Language programs that combined serve nearly 3,500 adults annually.

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Venture Philanthropy Partners Publishes Profile on Crimsonbridge Founder and President, Gabriela Smith

December 2015

In this Venture Philanthropy Partners profile, Gabriela Smith discusses how her life experiences influenced her interest in youth development and what led her to invest in VPP.

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The Crimsonbridge Foundation appoints Danielle M. Reyes as its first Executive Director

October 2015

The Crimsonbridge Foundation has appointed Danielle M. Reyes, formerly of the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, as its first executive director, effective Oct. 5, 2015. The Crimsonbridge Group supports programs for children and families and collaborates with foundations and nonprofit organizations serving children and youth, both domestically and internationally.

“It’s an exciting time of growth for the Crimsonbridge Foundation,” says Gabriela Smith, its president and founder. “Danielle has a strong sense of community and has the perfect combination of experience, energy, vision to build the Foundation and expand its work,” says Smith.

Ms. Reyes, a resident of Washington, DC, has worked in education, philanthropy and the nonprofit sector for more than 20 years. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Manhattanville College, and Harvard Graduate School of Education, her experience spans from classroom teaching to program and organizational development in the United States and as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco. Her nonprofit leadership experience includes serving as the Western Region Team Leader and Manager of the Shared Beginnings program of Reading is Fundamental, the nation’s largest literacy nonprofit, and as the executive director of the Latino Student Fund a K12 education focused nonprofit in Washington, DC. In 2002, Reyes joined the Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation where she developed a broad range of grantmaking program areas and played a leadership role in the creation and implementation of the foundation’s social media communications strategy. Reyes has served on the national board of directors of the Taproot Foundation and Asian Americans Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, was a Council of Foundations Emerging Philanthropic Leaders Fellow, a member of Leadership Greater Washington’s class of 2013, and currently serves as a commissioner for Serve DC.

“It’s an honor to help build a foundation that believes in the power of opportunity, is committed to community, and is determined to see it’s philanthropy have a positive impact on the lives of children and families,” said Reyes.

The Crimsonbridge Group is a social investment platform dedicated to promoting education, developing leadership, and creating bridges of collaboration and partnership to affect positive, lasting social change. Led by the Crimsonbridge Foundation in collaboration with other philanthropic organizations, it seeks to develop innovative, transformative ways to address social problems, and to collaborate across sectors to maximize social impact. Says Smith, “Danielle’s extensive background in the nonprofit sector, depth of experience in philanthropy, and passion for serving the community will be tremendous assets to the Crimsonbridge Foundation.”

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Time Magazine Reports on Research Study by The Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, a Crimsonbridge Partner, and Harvard University

August 2015

Happier students get higher grades in school, research says.

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