GreenLight Fund

GreenLight Fund

GreenLight Fund will target low-income children and youth to close the achievement and opportunity gap in Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area, selecting two subgrantees in each of the sites.

Grantee Information
Federal Awards: 
$2 million over two years (2012-2013)
Geographic Focus: 
Boston, MA, Philadelphia, PA, and Alameda, San Francisco counties, CA

With their Social Innovation Fund grant, The GreenLight Fund (GLF) will work toward closing the achievement and opportunity gap for 20,000 low-income children and youth in Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area. Primary outcomes include improved school persistence and academic achievement, increased high school graduation and GED attainment, and increased college access, credit accumulation and degree completion. To achieve these and other outcomes, GLF will import innovative, high-performing nonprofits serving low-income children and youth into Boston, Philadelphia, and the San Francisco Bay Area and help those nonprofits achieve sustainability.

In addition to the primary outcomes GLF targets, GLF develops priorities based on local needs and existing research. Priorities in each community may be related to kindergarten readiness, school engagement, success, and persistence, college access, credit accumulation and completion, and alternative pathways for high-risk youth. Because GLF works with the local community to proactively attract and support relevant national models, they create an environment in which effective organizations enter GLF cities with strong buy-in from local stakeholders and funders. This leads to support and technical assistance that helps nonprofits quickly and effectively implement their models and grow their impact at the local level.

Track Record before Social Innovation Fund Grant:

  • Since 2004, GLF has worked in Boston to support the replication and growth of competitively selected high-performing, evidence-based nonprofits creating impact for low-income children, youth and families.
  • In 2011, GLF launched sites in Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area and brought on executive directors, advisors, and a growing base of donors to select and support portfolio organizations in those areas.
  • GLF has created a locally-centered, demand-driven process designed to identify specific gaps in service in the cities they serve, conduct intensive diligence on organizations throughout the country addressing those needs, and select organizations with compelling evidence of success and strong organizational capacity to expand their models to GLF cities.
  • GLF has extensive experience using evidence to select grantees, including reviewing evaluation studies of candidate organizations and rating them on quality, level of evidence and results demonstrated. They also have experience using evidence to assess the impact of individual grantees.

Nonprofits Receiving Social Innovation Fund Awards from GreenLight Fund

YearUpSingle Stop USA
uAspireGenesys Works
National College Advising Corps (NCAC)Blueprint Schools Network

Philadelphia, PA
Area Served: Philadelphia, PA
Initial Award Amount: $266, 000
Awarded in 2013

With its subgrant to Year Up, GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support the expansion of its Professional Training Corps (PTC) to Philadelphia, PA, which combines skills training, college credit accumulation, and career trajectory work experience for low-income young adults. Year Up aims to serve 1,200 young adults (ages 18-24) in Philadelphia over the five-year engagement. Year Up’s PTC resides in two-year colleges and provides the opportunity for a cohort of fulltime college students to earn credits by engaging in a year-long program that begins with PTC coursework and is followed by a six-month, fulltime internship in a professional-sector career. PTC aims to meet student outcome targets that include employer satisfaction with intern performance, college graduation, job placement, and long-term financial stability.

Single Stop USA
Philadelphia, PA
Area Served: Philadelphia, PA
Initial Award Amount: $200,000
Awarded in 2013

With its subgrant to Single Stop USA, GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support the expansion of its program services, which provide financial assistance to students through a connection with existing, scalable public resources, to Philadelphia, PA. Single Stop expects to serve over 31,000 students during the five-year engagement. Single Stop will partner with the Community College of Philadelphia to provide students and their families with free on-campus services and access to additional community resources such as tax preparation, financial counseling, and legal services that help students stay enrolled in school. By using Single Stop’s web-based screening platform and case management system, the Benefits Enrollment Network (BEN), community college staff can quickly determine student eligibility for a range of public benefits and services, including food stamps, health insurance, tax credits and other benefits.

San Francisco Bay Area, CA
Area Served: Oakland, San Francisco, Redwood City, East Palo Alto, California
Initial Award Amount: $233,000
Awarded in 2013

With its subgrant to uAspire, GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support the expansion of its program services to Oakland, San Francisco, Redwood City and East Palo Alto in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Over the five year engagement, uAspire aims to provide 11,500 low-income students and families in these communities with a full understanding of the financial aid available to them. In partnership with schools, community-based organizations and higher education institutions, uAspire’s programs follow students (middle school through college) throughout their academic career. uAspire provides group and one-on-one college affordability advising sessions to dispel misconceptions of college affordability and help students access financial aid and select appropriate colleges where they are most likely to succeed. uAspire’s unique innovation is its deep expertise in college affordability, collaboration to strengthen college access services provided by other organizations, and ability to adapt content and delivery to serve students effectively.

Genesys Works
San Francisco Bay Area, California
Area Served: Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose, California
Initial Award Amount: $233,000
Awarded in 2013

With its subgrant to Genesys Works, GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support the expansion of its program services to Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose in the San Francisco Bay Area in California to reach over 1,300 students over the five-year engagement. Genesys Works provides in-depth summer training in hard and soft skills and year-long internships with major area employers to at-risk, economically disadvantaged students to help them get into and succeed in college and beyond. In contrast to most traditional high school internships that involve “job shadowing” and simple clerical work, Genesys Works’ year-long internships are substantive, hands-on and practical during the students’ senior year. In addition to its unique program model, Genesys Works has also developed an innovative financial model with a significant percentage of program expenses covered by earned income received from corporations for services students provide. By year 3 in the new locations, Genesys Works expects to earn 75 percent of needed revenue.

National College Advising Corps (NCAC)
Chapel Hill, NC
Area Served: Boston, MA
Initial Award Amount: $233,000
Awarded in 2014

With its subgrant to National College Advising Corps (NCAC), GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support NCAC’s work to increase the number of low-income, first-generation, underrepresented students entering and completing higher education. In Boston, NCAC will work in partnership with local colleges and universities by placing recent graduates of partner institutions as college advisers in underserved high schools. Advisers work full-time to help students conduct their college searches, complete admissions and financial aid applications, and enroll at schools that will serve them well.

Nationally, over the past three years, NCAC has reached over 223,700 individuals (48,300 in 2009-10; 65,000 in 2010-11; and 110,400 in 2011-12). The individuals served are high school students in underserved schools where college advisers have been placed. In Boston, the Advising Corps expects to serve approximately 3,000 high school students annually in its first five years. This is based on serving an average of 300 students at each of the initial group of ten high schools selected to participate.

NCAC is an innovative and differentiated approach to traditional college access programs as it is a near-peer model that recruits recent college graduates as advisers whose backgrounds are similar to the high school students they serve. Additionally, NCAC advisers focus on improving the high school’s college going culture and supporting all students to apply to and enroll in colleges where they will succeed. Finally, NCAC advisers provide targeted assistance to low-income, first generation, and underrepresented students who are capable and qualified, but are at the greatest risk of not attending college.

Blueprint Schools Network
Newton, MA
Areas Served: Boston, MA
Initial Award Amount: $233,000
Awarded in 2014

With its subgrant to Blueprint Schools Network (Blueprint), GreenLight’s SIF Initiative will support Blueprint’s work with the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to implement its research-based, innovative turnaround model at two level 4 schools: the Elihu Greenwood Leadership Academy (K-5) and The English High School (9-12). Through this work, Blueprint will reach over 1,000 students annually over five years in Boston.

Blueprint helps schools and school districts close the achievement gap in their lowest-performing schools by applying the learning from high-performing, high-poverty schools to district-led public schools. Blueprint School’s school turnaround model is based on research by the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University (EdLabs) on more than 100 charter schools to identify factors driving achievement in the most successful of these schools, Five principles or “tenets” emerged from this research. These tenets include: excellence in leadership and instruction; daily tutoring in critical growth years; increased instructional time; a culture of high expectations; and the use of data from frequent assessments to improve instruction. Blueprint partners with school districts to plan, implement, and monitor the progress of whole school turnaround based on these tenets.

Blueprint is currently working to support 32 schools that together serve more than 20,000 students and have shown promising gains, outpacing district and state growth. As Blueprint exists to scale the effective practices of achievement gap-closing schools to districts across the country, its evaluation of its work in Boston will seek to understand how to better systematize and augment its implementation as a whole.

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