In 2020 The Heckscher Foundation focused on “inflection point” funding to tackle critical problems in education, workforce training and job access, capacity building and emergency needs. We funded programs that addressed the specific obstacles that keeps underserved youth from realizing their full potential through our venture philanthropy approach — catalytic grants, strategic partnerships and targeted problem solving.
Our grantmaking sought to address the tragedy of the pandemic which disproportionately impacted underserved youth: the closure of the schools to in person learning which caused the loss of vital literacy skills for the most vulnerable students; the dislocation and emotional toll on high school and college students; the need to build capacity to serve more youth; the loss of career opportunities; and the dramatic increase in emergency needs.
As we wrote in early December, if there was ever a time when we needed to embrace bold solutions, especially to the challenges faced by the underserved, 2020 was that time.
In this Annual Report we highlight how we sought to address those challenges, and highlight selected programs which we are honored to have supported in 2020.