Venture Philanthropy Partners: Investing in Social Change.


April 2014

Thu, 2014-04-10


"We have an opportunity. We have the knowledge to
really change the whole trajectory of learning for all our kids."
- AppleTree President Jack McCarthy on early childhood education

Better serving all young people means committing to setting kids up for success at the start.


From Carol’s Desk: The Stakes Are High in Early Childhood Education

At VPP, we are committed to lifting up young people throughout their life, giving them a strong platform to launch into healthy, productive, self-sufficient adulthood. If we do not invest in the youngest of these, we would be fighting a losing battle.

VPP CEO Carol Thompson Cole sat down with Jack McCarthy, the CEO of AppleTree, one of VPP’s newest investments. AppleTree is fighting to close the achievement gap before kids get to kindergarten. Carol and Jack talk about what early childhood education could be and where it is missing the mark.

The stakes are high when it comes to early childhood education. Learn why in Carol’s Column here.


Second Lady Joins "Young Invincibles" to Talk Health Care Education

Second Lady of the United States Dr. Jill Biden visited Year Up NCR students in March as part of a healthcare education and enrollment event for the Affordable Care Act. The visit complements VPP’s youthCONNECT investment in Year Up NCR’s expansion of health care access for its students.

Through soft- and hard-skills courses, college credit, and on-the-job experience, Year Up provides young people with an experience to set them up for success in their careers—and proper health care is a critical element to that success. Year Up is incorporating health education as a key component to its training program and as part of that commitment, welcomed Second Lady Dr. Jill Biden to speak about the importance of health care access.

Dr. Biden spoke to about 100 young adults in the Year Up program about health care and the Affordable Care Act, part of the administration’s campaign to enroll young people in a health plan on the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Year Up NCR is motivated to connect its students with these resources, and VPP is helping increase that access. Year Up NCR believes it can increase retention rates and student results if it provides access to health care and health education. With VPP’s youthCONNECT investment, Year Up NCR is implementing a pilot program to facilitate access to health care for Year Up students.

As a result of VPP and youthCONNECT support, a health education program complements a partnership with Northern Virginia Community College and Kaiser Permanente that provides health insurance to Year Up NCR students and eligible family members for up to three years. This pilot, once proven, can be replicated throughout Year Up nationally and adapted by other workforce development programs.


Connecting Our Youth With Jobs and School

For many high school students, the start of spring means the excitement and unrest that comes with the college and summer-job search. The Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) hosted its annual college and spring job fairs to bring schools and businesses to those students in the National Capital Region.

At LAYC’s second annual college fair this March, more than 200 young people came to meet with representatives from universities, colleges, and community and government partners. Colleges included Trinity Washington University, George Mason University, St. Mary's College of Maryland, University of Maryland Baltimore campus, University of the District of Columbia, Norfolk State University, Coppin State, Northern Virginia Community College, Washington Adventist University, and Bard College.

Students were also able to sit down with coaches to learn about and work through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other scholarship and college saving information. New Futures offered career advisory services as well.

On April 5, LAYC also hosted its annual youth job fair together with its Maryland branch, Maryland Multicultural Youth Centers, and the Montgomery County Department of Economic Development. More than forty businesses came to share summer and full-time employment opportunities for young people ages 16 to 21. Organizations ranged from national and local park services to marketing firms, banks, and NASA.


White House Grants Youth CareerConnect Award to Prince George’s County, Md.

President Obama announced the $7 million federal grant at Bladensburg High School in Prince George’s County on Monday. VPP partner Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection will be a key partner in the collaborative project, which challenges schools to graduate students to be college or career-ready.

Youth CareerConnect
is a new White House program with the goal to “strengthen America’s talent pipeline by supporting stronger high school, postsecondary, workforce investment system, and employer partnerships that deliver.” The initiative is providing $107 million to schools, school districts and their partners across the country to help them better prepare their students for a successful career or post-secondary education.

Prince George’s County won a $7 million award to help 2,500 students graduate career-ready in the high-demand and high-growth fields of information technology and health care. The project will bring together partners from across sectors in the region:

-  Prince George’s County Schools

-  Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation

-  Prince George's County Community College and Bowie State University

-  Lockheed Martin and Dimensions Health

-  Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection and Maryland Multicultural Center

-  The Ashlin Group

Together, they will help give students access to postsecondary credit, paid work experiences with employer partners, and career and college counseling. VPP investment partner Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection will offer professional mentoring from its youth advocates and job coaching for students in older grades. VPP partner Latin American Youth Center’s Maryland branch, Maryland Multicultural Youth Center, will also provide job coaching and mentoring support.


Career Week at College Summit

Volunteers representing a multitude of careers visited College Summit classrooms this March to tell their school and career journey.

Across public and charter schools in DC, Maryland, and Virginia, high school students of all ages met with professionals to talk education and career pathways. The panels were part of VPP partner College Summit NCR’s Career Weeks: opportunities for students in College Summit classrooms to gain exposure to different post-high school paths.

As College Summit explains, “students often have limited exposure to career opportunities [and] exposure is critical to ensuring they are aware of a wide variety of paths available to them. Exposure, particularly for younger students, can also serve as a motivator to do well in classes and stay in school.”

Professionals—including several from the VPP team who represented the nonprofit sector—told their stories of professional development, from choosing their college and major to their first jobs and current positions.

College Summit NCR serves nearly 5,000 9th-12th grade students in DC, Maryland and Virginia.


VPP Partners Make the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Congratulations to our investment partners, both current and former, that were selected by the Catalogue for Philanthropy in its Guide to Giving 2013-2014 edition.

The Catalogue acknowledged VPP’s most recent investment, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, for its impressive track record of helping high school students in Prince George’s County Schools graduate with the support of Hillside’s “whole student” approach.

It also recognized Asian American Lead (AALEAD), a Portfolio One VPP investment partner, for its work serving low-income, underserved Asian American youth. AALEAD has been central to the National Capital Region’s immigrant community, providing youth and their families with school and life-skills support and mentoring.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy “identifies the best community-based charities” in the greater Washington region with budgets below $3 million, and vets, selects, and educates those nonprofits to help them better their work.


Investor Updates

Our investors have been busy finding new and important ways to strengthen the National Capital Region.

VPP investor Ted Leonsis received two important distinctions in March that recognize his leadership in DC. He received the Engaged Philanthropist Award for his important work supporting the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a nonprofit organization that assists families of fallen members of the military. Over the last two years, Leonsis helped raise more than $210,000 for TAPS through the Washington Capital’s Courage Caps campaign, and just launched a similar Wizards Courage program with the Washington Wizards. 

Leonsis also joins fellow businessman and VPP investor Russ Ramsey in leading DC 2024, the group hoping to bring the 2024 Olympics to the region. Ramsey will chair the organization, and Leonsis will serve as vice-chair. The formal announcement is still to come.

Vicki and Roger Sant, VPP donors and founders of the Summit Fund of Washington, have made great progress toward their goal of a revitalized Anacostia River with their support of the United for a Healthy Anacostia River initiative. The coalition of environmental, business, and community groups will “address critical restoration needs, including remediation of the toxic sediments, in the Anacostia River.”


Links We Love

VPP investor Natalie Wexler has continued to be a valuable contributor to conversations about school reform in DC.

More great insights from Jack McCarthy, CEO of AppleTree: "A Question Unanswered," and "Exclusive Interview."

The high cost of higher ed: Is it worth it?

Congratulations to VPP partner Year Up NCR on its move!

Income segregation is growing in our cities.

VPP partner Michelle Gilliard writes on what it means to support first-generation college students.

From DC Alliance of Youth Advocates: What it takes to connect disconnected youth.

Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) makes the future brighter for youth living in the National Capital Region by tackling the largest barriers to their success and forging partnerships that bring the expertise, passion and reach necessary to achieve life-changing results. Over the past 13 years, VPP has raised $90 million to help children and youth of low-income families in the National Capital Region access quality education, health care and career training – setting them on the right path to learn, graduate, and become successful, healthy adults. This funding, coupled with our management expertise and support in strengthening staff leadership, has increased the capacity of local nonprofits to help them serve an additional 15,000 children and youth across the region each year.
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