Families & Schools Together among 10 organizations selected by the Carnegie Corporation for competitive grant

March 8, 2022

Carnegie Corporation of New York Names 10 Grant Recipients to Support Family Engagement Programs

Philanthropic funding will advance new strategies to provide equitable learning for all students 

March 8, 2022 — New York, NY — Building on its longstanding support for family engagement and home-school partnerships, Carnegie Corporation of New York today announced 10 grants to nonprofit organizations serving communities in nine states. Each will receive $100,000 over a period of 12 months, with the opportunity to renew the grant for a second year.

The grants are the result of a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Corporation last September that focused on family engagement, one of the most influential factors in educational outcomes. Special consideration was given to applicants that have deep roots in their local communities and work to support learning among students of color, multilingual learners, and students from low-income backgrounds. Preference was given to nonprofits in communities that have not traditionally benefited from national funding and have not received prior Corporation support.

Among the new grant recipients, six were founded or are currently led by Latinx or Black leaders; four are based in states that are typically underfunded by philanthropy; and one serves Native Americans while another focuses on Alaska Natives. A total of more than $1 million in funding will help the nonprofits design, implement, and strengthen school-based family engagement strategies that can improve student learning. 

“We were gratified by the tremendous response to the RFP, the caliber and creativity of the submissions, and the competitive process that surfaced our new grantees,” said Ambika Kapur, program officer for the Corporation’s Public Understanding portfolio of grants. “These nonprofits are meeting the distinct needs of their communities. They are overcoming barriers and enabling educators and parents to be true partners in helping students thrive. As we emerge from the pandemic, these collaborations will remain essential to student learning and to the nation’s recovery.”

The 10 grant recipients with descriptions of their projects: 

  • Association of Alaska School Boards, Juneau, AK; Collaborating with families to create coaching and at-home learning materials grounded in the cultural values of Alaska Natives 
  • Building Skills Partnerships, Los Angeles, CA; Training parents who are janitorial and airport workers to become effective advocates for their children’s education and to serve as peer-to-peer ambassadors at work
  • Families and Schools Together, Madison, WI; Expanding professional development for educators to create a more welcoming school environment and empower all families as advocates
  • Federation for Children with Special Needs, Brockton, MA; Prioritizing family engagement in district-level decision-making in collaboration with families and caregivers, with an emphasis on social and emotional learning
  • Latinos in Action, Salt Lake City, UT; Piloting an initiative rooted in a commitment to Latinx voices and leadership at four high schools that serve mostly BIPOC, immigrant, and refugee communities
  • National Center for Families Learning, Louisville, KY; Teaching caregivers and children standards-aligned science skills to increase their understanding of science-related challenges in their communities
  • Parent Institute for Quality Education, Central Valley, CA; Fostering effective family engagement practices among Latinx and multilingual families living in the state’s most rural region  
  • Supportive Older Women’s Network, Philadelphia, PA; Equipping grandparents who are raising grandchildren with the digital skills needed to connect with teachers and staff and to assist with at-home literacy learning 
  • Village of Wisdom, Durham, NC; Expanding to Atlanta and the Mississippi Delta a program designed to protect Black children’s intellectual curiosity and incorporate the expertise of parents
  • West River Foundation and South Dakota Statewide Family Engagement Center, Black Hills, SD; Recruiting family champions from high-need schools on or near tribal lands to host community chats, gather authentic voices, and implement data-driven plans 

The grantees will benefit from workshops and one-on-one support provided by the Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership (CPRL). The Corporation awarded $400,000 in funding to CPRL to build a community of practice that will allow the organizations to learn from one another.  

“At a time of searing crisis and immense opportunity for public schools and other public systems in the U.S., there is no more important task than to learn from families — and to learn how to learn from families — about the best ways for those systems to serve students,” said Elizabeth Chu, executive director of CPRL. “And there is no source of knowledge more important than the families our public systems have for so long underserved. CPRL is honored to help bring together these 10 amazing organizations, learn alongside them, and support their essential work.”

A national survey released in December 2021 by Learning Heroes, an education nonprofit and Corporation grantee, found strong support for the home-school connection. 

  • 93 percent of parents said they will be as or more involved in their children’s education, even after an unprecedented year of engagement in their children’s education.
  • 86 percent of teachers and 84 percent of principals say they will spend the same or more effort on family engagement this year.
  • About 85 percent of parents prioritize getting a better understanding of what is expected of their child and where their child is academically.

Nearly 350 organizations responded with an expression of interest to the Corporation’s RFP in fall 2021. The foundation, CPRL, and a racially and ethnically representative panel of reviewers provided feedback throughout the selection process. Programs that focused on improving student learning in all grades, including outcomes in math, language arts, science, or social-emotional learning, were prioritized, along with an organization’s ability to sustain its work beyond the grant period.

“We wanted to design an RFP process that was rigorous and included a variety of reviewers with experiences that are similar to the program stakeholders — parents, teachers, researchers, and family engagement advocates and practitioners,” said Constanza Lafuente, an analyst in the Corporation’s Education program. “The team scored the organizations based on factors such as diversity of the leadership and staff, parent and educator collaboration, and the range of populations served. We believe the competitive process was vital to identifying 10 outstanding and new grant recipients.” 

The Corporation is a leading philanthropic funder of research and programs supporting family engagement as a proven model for dismantling longstanding educational inequities and creating lasting change. The RFP was inspired by the success of collaborations that formed during the pandemic. Out of necessity, educators have found new ways to prioritize the involvement of parents and caregivers with diverse perspectives and backgrounds. With additional support, these family engagement programs can help the nation’s public schools succeed in providing an equitable education for all children. 

About Carnegie Corporation of New York

Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Carnegie considered of paramount importance: education, international peace, and a strong democracy. @CarnegieCorp Contact: Celeste Ford: Dir. of External Relations; cfc@carnegie.org; 646.772.7917

About Families & Schools Together

Families & Schools Together is an international nonprofit organization that exists to make a critical difference by empowering parents, strengthening families, developing social networks, and supporting schools and communities so that children can thrive. Building on more than 30 years of the evidence-based FAST® family engagement program, the FAST® Institute of Family Engagement trains school staff to partner with families in support of children’s education and well-being. By blending best practices in teacher training and family and community engagement into interactive, whole-school workshops and ongoing coaching, the FAST Institute helps schools to create a more welcoming environment for families of all racial, cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds.