The Heckscher Foundation’s mission to “level the playing field” for needy youth is based on the premise that many young people lack the fundamental resources that more fortunate youth take for granted. The programs we support combine an emphasis on soft skills (resilience, independence, problem-solving) with hard skills acquisition. We look for our grantees to assess their outcomes in both areas, with a relentless focus on demonstrable outcomes toward a better life.
The foundation is particularly interested in funding social services projects that impact or correlate with positive behavioral outcomes in academic improvement and toward economic stability. Examples include: interventions for children with special needs and health challenges, supports for youth navigating court involvement, and recreational initiatives using sports or other physical activities as a “hook” to initiate interest in academics, college or careers.
The foundation seeks to identify projects and programs in social services that demonstrate positive outcomes in alignment with particular special populations of children and youth served, such as:
- Improved academic performance and achievement
- Reduced rates of recidivism
- Improved nutrition and increased exercise
- Measured improvements in children with social-emotional delays in early childhood
- School progress and improved grades, SAT or other standardized test scores
- Decreased or eliminated need for the support service or system
- Economic self-sufficiency