The foundation has increasingly invested in incubator, accelerator, and other capacity-building and technical assistance models over the last five years, supporting youth-focused organizations early on in their work through outfits including SeaChange Capital Partners, Philliber Research, Arbor Brothers, the Edwin Gould Foundation’s EGF Accelerator, and the former Blue Ridge Foundation.
In 2015 and 2016, the foundation provided funding for America Achieves to launch a new organizational incubation and accelerator model. America Achieves is one of the only large-scale national institutions focused on creating evidence-based practices and new pathways for underserved youth to enroll in and graduate from appropriately matched four-year colleges.
Through this initiative, America Achieves has supported and accelerated selected start-ups, providing personalized strategic advising and mentorship to develop their impact and business models. Organizations, ideas, and entrepreneurs are considered using the following selection criteria: leadership by an outstanding social entrepreneur; alignment with one of America Achieves’ focus areas; engagement in/aspiration to system change (beyond the potential for program scale); demonstrated value; and the potential for America Achieves to add value through guidance, operational support, and strategic fundraising.
In 2016, America Achieves supported its portfolio of seven current initiatives (CollegePoint, Braven, GripTape, the Educator Voice Fellowship, the Global Learning Network, National Endowment for Educational Opportunities, and Education for Employment) and several other initiatives that advance organizations through the vetting and planning phases to accelerate their plans and progress in driving outcomes that support the success of young people.
The Heckscher Foundation also provided a $1 million matching grant to the Bloomberg Foundation’s multi- million investment in the America Achieves CollegePoint Initiative.