Nancy Devine, The Wallace Foundation

TITLE: Director of Learning and Enrichment 

FUNDING AREAS: K-12, after-school programs, and educational enrichment

CONTACT: ndevine@wallacefoundation.org, 212-251-9700

IP TAKE: If you think the lengths of the school day and the school year are just about right, this is not the funder for you. Devine wants to lengthen learning times and ensure children have greater access to enrichment opportunities.

PROFILE: Nancy Devine believes the traditional school day and year leave too much "out-of-school" time for children. And to compound it, that the "out-of-school" time is not well utilized, because children often lack access to quality after-school programs and other extended learning opportunities. For disadvantaged youth in inner cities, the lack of access to learning opportunities and enrichment outside of the classroom is especially critical.

Devine is the Director of Learning and Enrichment at the New York City-based The Wallace Foundation. In her position, Devine heads three major initiatives: building sustainable systems to support after-school programs in cities, lengthening the school year, and expanding learning and enrichment time during the summer. She has been with the foundation since 2001, starting out as director of communities. From 2004 to 2007, Devine led Wallace's grantmaking activities in the arts before deciding to focus her efforts on the education programs.

The traditional school day averages about six or seven hours in length, ending at around 3PM, five days per week. The traditional school year lasts about 180 days and gives students summer breaks. Devine and The Wallace Foundation believe this structure is no longer sufficient for meeting the education and enrichment needs of disadvantaged urban youth.

Children are especially vulnerable to such problems as substance abuse and gang activity in the hours between 3PM, when the school day ends, and the time when parents or guardians arrive home from work. Meanwhile, research shows that learning loss during the summer months when children are out of school lengthens the education achievement gaps that exist between low-income children and their wealthier peers.

For The Wallace Foundation, access to safe, quality after-school programs and expanded summer learning opportunities is part of the solution. However, rather than a piecemeal, program-by-program approach to after-school programs and extended learning, Devine and the foundation prefer a systemic approach that involves school systems, cities, and non-profit organizations. She believes such collaborations build sustainable systems for extended learning. Grantseekers that can demonstrate collaborative approaches to after-school and summer programs are more likely to gain support from Devine. Past grant recipients under The Wallace Foundation's after-school initiative have included citywide foundations and city parks and recreation departments.

Devine has extensive experience in building the capacity of communities and cities to deliver a range of services to their citizens. Before coming to Wallace, she was a senior vice president at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, where she led a series of initiatives to strengthen non-profit organizations and the arts and culture industries. Devine holds a bachelor of fine arts from Arizona State University and received a Fannie Mae Fellowship in the Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.

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