Edna McConnell Clark Scales Up Support for Communities in Schools

Monday, May 21, 2018

Edna McConnell Clark Scales Up Support for Communities in Schools

Communities in Schools, a nonprofit that places coordinators in schools to connect vulnerable students and their families with community resources, has gotten a big investment from a sun-setting supporter to kick-off its new strategic plan. The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (EMCF) recently announced a four-year, $17 million grant in support of the plan, which involves scaling up the number of schools and students reached by the nonprofit. 

Last year the Ballmer Group, which works closely with EMCF, awarded $15 million to the organization.

For some time there’s been a debate among education advocates about how best to better student outcomes. Reformers focused on promoting choice and accountability have argued that huge strides can be made by changing how schools operate to create a stronger teaching corps and empowered school leaders. Progressive reformers tend to place more weight on factors outside the classroom when it comes to student success. They argue that we can’t expect to see big gains in educational performance without addressing poverty.

Communities in Schools has pioneered a middle way by meeting students where they are and making sure they can access resources they need. That could mean anything from help with schoolwork, to support for emotional or behavioral issues, to making sure basic needs, like healthy food, a safe place to sleep and reliable transportation to school, are met.

The Ballmer Group and EMCF aren't the nonprofit’s only backers. CIS has also won support from other heavy hitters, including the Ford Foundation, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Wallace Foundation, and several corporate funders...

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