As we mark our 97th year of supporting underserved children and youth, we honor the generosity of spirit and the dedication of our founders and early leaders—August Heckscher, Arthur Smadbeck, and Ruth Smadbeck.
Our goal of fostering venture philanthropy is increasingly focused on what we call inflection point funding. Our funding strategies of catalytic giving, strategic partnerships with other funders in both the public and private sectors, and targeted problem-solving remain front and center, but inflection point funding looks at venture philanthropy through a different lens.
With inflection point funding, we closely consider specific obstacles that keep underserved children from realizing their full potential, and look for key junctures where our grants might change the course of their lives.
Essentially, inflection point funding asks, “If we can solve this with our funding, does it have the potential to create an opportunity for a young person to rise to new heights or, conversely, does the failure to solve this lead to a significant downturn in a young person’s life trajectory?”
We use an outcomes-based logic model to inform our grant-making decisions, and support impact-driven programs that demonstrate measurable results. Our focus is on education, including college access and persistence, workforce training and jobs access, and arts education that improves achievement in the classroom.
This Year in Review includes highlighted projects and selected 2017 grantees whose contributions to the lives of underserved youth we are honored to have supported.
Chairman and CEO