Although the number of children participating in after-school programs has increased over the past five years, many children lack access to these learning opportunities, and many parents would enroll their children in these programs if they were available.
The Charles Stewart Mott Foundation recently bolstered its support of efforts to expand the availability of these programs by awarding a series of grants aimed at developing and expanding after-school programs in urban, suburban, and rural settings. The total value of the grants topped $2.2 million. Pursuing a strategy of affecting after-school programs at the national, state, and local levels, Mott awarded the grants to a national organization, a series of statewide networks, and some local programs.
The Washington, D.C.-based After School Alliance was the main beneficiary, receiving $1.2 million in general operating support of its work to expand access to after-school programs across the country. Mott is clearly interested in after-school programs as a means for increasing student interest in and exposure to STEM-related subjects. The foundation awarded McLean Hospital in Massachusetts $500,000 to collaborate with the After-School Alliance and serve as a technical and assesssment advisor for after-school networks on science, technology, and math opportunities in after-school programs.
At the state levels, Mott awarded $150,000 to the Washington Statewide Afterschool Network and grants of $15,000 each to the Afterschool Partnerships in Colorado, Tennessee Montana, and Hawaii. Mott funds will help these states forge partnership among after-school stakeholders to create cohesive after-school program networks.
Finally, one Mott grant targeted after-school programs at local levels. The foundation awarded $150,000 to After-School All-Stars to support the development and implementation of a program for at-risk youth at a Washington, D.C., middle school.
The Mott Foundation awarded these grants under its Pathways Out of Poverty program, and the awards provide an example of combining two important funding areas — in this case, after-school programs and STEM education — under one series of grants to improve student learning, close achievement gaps, and expand access to learning opportunities beyond the traditional school day.