President's Perspective

Celebrating another Year of Making Futures Brighter in Greater Washington

December 19, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

As we prepare to celebrate the holiday season, we at VPP are also celebrating another year of working to improve the lives of young people in this region.

We had a memorable year at VPP.

In April we hosted “VPP All Stars Night,” a celebration of our commitment to achieving better outcomes for youth in Greater Washington and our initiative Ready for Work: Champions for Career- and College-Ready Graduates in Prince George’s County. It was our first gala and we were thrilled that so many community leaders from across the region attended and joined with us to honor leaders from government, business and philanthropy who have demonstrated leadership by supporting Ready for Work from its inception.

Ready for Work helps students graduate career and college ready across the county and directly in three high schools – Suitland, Oxon Hill and High Point.

During the 2018-19 school year, Ready for Work’s youthCONNECT network at Suitland served 1,475 students.

At High Point, we coordinated our second summer program to help rising 9th graders successfully transition from middle school to high school. This year, 91 students participated in the program (up from 38 in 2018).

Earlier this year, VPP received a Local Impact Grant from Prince George’s County Local Development Council to support the piloting of a partnership program between Oxon Hill’s Career and Technical Education Program and the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) to help increase the school’s CTE Program enrollment so more students graduate college and career ready. The grant allowed for two Oxon Hill teachers to complete summer externships with local employers, strengthening their ability to align their curriculum and learning experiences to the current skills and knowledge students need to possess in their career fields. In addition, the grant funded a year-long PTSA parent engagement strategy that included using PTSA meetings and events to highlight CTE programs, promote awareness, and recruit parents employed by local employers to host future teacher externs.

In 2019, we also launched the second cohort of the Ready for Work Nonprofit Capacity Building Program – adding four nonprofits to the initiative designed to help more local nonprofits increase their ability to serve more young people. We are excited to announce that we will launch our third cohort early next year.

Our investment in Higher Achievement supports its mission to close the opportunity gap for students during the critical middle school years. During the 2018-19 school year, the organization served 1,707 middle school students.

One thing that makes VPP stand out from the crowd is our approach of creating effective cross-sector collaboratives. The strength of the partnerships we have created includes businesses like Kaiser Permanente of the Mid-Atlantic States and the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation; government partners like Prince George’s County; and numerous nonprofit partners.

In 2017, VPP partnered with Education Forward DC and the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation for a $3 million investment to bring Relay Graduate School of Education to this region to address D.C.’s shortage of high-quality teachers. This year, 100 percent of Relay’s Year One Residents completed their first year of the program. And, 93 percent of their Year Two Residents were hired into full-time teaching positions, with the remaining engaged in the search process.

Looking ahead to 2020, we will be celebrating 20 years of bringing together leaders from all sectors and achieving better outcomes for young people in Greater Washington. I am very proud of all that we have accomplished in 2019 and will continue to do in the coming year. We are thankful to have leaders, supporters and partners to travel with us on this exciting journey.


Carol Thompson Cole
President and CEO
Venture Philanthropy Partners