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2014 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Family Engagement Grantee Cohort

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) is pleased to announce the recipients of a $13.7 million investment to empower parents as leaders and key decision makers in education. These 30 exceptional organizations from 18 states and the District of Columbia are developing and implementing transformative family engagement models in the field of early childhood education. WKKF’s investment over the next three years will support the foundation’s vision of seeing this work infused throughout local and national education reform efforts and lifting up the voices of families to set all children on a path to success. Because of the unprecedented interest and clear demand from the field, the foundation, now more than ever, understands the need for family engagement funding and is using this opportunity to invest in families.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska
Sitka, Alaska
Title of Grant: Wooch.een Yei Jigaxtoonei: Working Together to Increase Family Engagement
Purpose/Goals: With the goal of closing the academic and opportunity gap between Native and non-Native students, Sitka Tribe of Alaska’s Wooch.een Yei Jigaxtoonei: Working Together project will engage Native parents and families in their children’s education through the development of community-based Tlingit language and culture-based programming. The Wooch.een Yei Jigaxtoonei: Working Together project will operate in both school and community settings to offer educational experiences that leverage students’ and families’ out of school knowledge, beliefs, experiences, literacies and identities in the service of academic learning. The project will draw on the knowledge, expertise and wisdom of elders, the passion and dedication of educators, the often-unrecognized and underestimated strengths of adolescents, and the promise, energy and optimism of childhood to enact the vision of Kaal.átk’ Charlie Joseph Sr.: “Even from long ago we cherish our grandchildren; no matter what we value, we offer it up to them.”

Amistades Inc.
Tucson, Ariz.
Title of Grant: Razalogia Approach: Transforming Communities by Engaging Latino and Pascua Yaqui Families in Holistic Learning
Purpose/Goals: Amistades aspires to strengthen early learning outcomes of vulnerable Latino and Pascua Yaqui children by developing leadership and building capacity of families, schools and communities to work together to promote success. The Razalogia approach to family engagement draws from the strengths of the family to empower them and create lasting community change. The project’s framework will serve as a multilingual, multicultural model that can be replicated in the family engagement field by other organizations serving marginalized families of color. Razalogia defines success based on families’ knowledge of raising children to be healthy, school ready and knowledgeable of the importance of actively improving their community. 

Advancement Project 
Los Angeles, Calif.
Title of Grant: Leveraging California’s New Local Control Funding Formula to Strengthen Parent Engagement and Improve Outcomes for Children Birth to 8
Purpose/Goals: Advancement Project’s Educational Equity program will leverage a historic education policy change in California to strengthen parent leadership and improve parent engagement in Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) toward a goal of increased educational attainment. Advancement Project believes that if parents of children birth to 8 are trained to become leaders in schools and LAUSD decision-making bodies, then, LAUSD will adopt and implement a “Birth-to-8” instructional and family engagement frame, improving education outcomes for third grade students. The program will achieve its goals by using a 2013 statewide policy change, the Local Control Funding Formula, which provides equitable, increased funding for school districts with concentrations of low-income students, students classified as English language learners and students in foster care.

Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network
Oakland, Calif.
Title of Grant: Oakland Families LEAD: Leadership for Equity, Achievement and Democracy in Oakland Schools
Purpose/Goals: Bay Area Parent Leadership Action Network (PLAN) empowers parents to transform schools so that all children can receive an excellent education. Through training and organizing opportunities, parents become leaders in their children’s education and work together with families, schools and communities to promote success for all children. Contrary to popular mythology, families care passionately about their children’s well-being and success and play a critical role in supporting positive outcomes for students. But too many families lack true opportunities for partnership and are viewed as obstacles rather than assets in their children’s learning and development. PLAN will transform this narrative by expanding capacity building and leadership support to parents and staff at four East Oakland elementary schools to create sustainable, culturally responsive structures and practices that ensure families are valued, heard and meaningfully engaged to lift up outcomes for our most vulnerable students.

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth 
San Francisco, Calif.
Title of Grant: Parents Making a Change (PMAC) 
Purpose/Goals: Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth is a member-led, multiracial community organization working to build a city of hope, justice and opportunity for all children and families in San Francisco. Coleman utilizes a diverse range of strategies to accomplish its goals, including youth and parent leadership development, grassroots organizing, policy and budget advocacy, academic support services, strategic communications, voter education and alliance-building. Coleman’s family engagement project, Parents Making a Change (PMAC), works to build the capacity of low-income families of color to both support their children’s academic and life success and be catalysts for school-site and district-level reform efforts. By focusing on issues ranging from school discipline to bilingual education to special education – all with an equity focus – PMAC is working to close the racial achievement gap and at the same time improve the quality of education for all children in the San Francisco Unified School District. PMAC also develops institutional partnerships and provides technical assistance to expand and improve SFUSD and community-based family engagement efforts throughout San Francisco and beyond. 

Institute for Sustainable Economic, Educational and Environmental Design (I-SEEED)
Oakland, Calif.
Title of Grant: TEN: Teaching Excellence Network
Purpose/Goals: I-SEEED strives to build an ecosystem of “solutionists” to solve our communities’ most pressing social problems. I-SEEED believes that through innovative economic, educational and environmental design and cutting-edge technology, they can create sustainable cities and schools so that people do not have to leave their communities to live, learn, work and thrive. I-SEEED will pursue this vision through the expansion of work focused on deepening partnerships between the nation’s most vulnerable families and children and the schools that serve them. I-SEEED’s Teaching Excellence Network (TEN) project takes a culturally and community-responsive approach to support families, students, teachers and administrators in their efforts to improve the quality of education in their schools. 

San Mateo County Office of Education
Redwood City, Calif.
Title of Grant: Early Childhood Language Development Institute
Purpose/Goals: The Early Childhood Language Development Institute is designed to narrow the readiness gap of preschool dual language learners through trainings, coaching and technical assistance for teachers, administrators and families. The services are based on three overarching principles that are anchored in best practices: 1) establishing authentic family-teacher partnerships; 2) preserving children’s home languages and cultures; and 3) supporting children’s second language acquisition in a culturally responsive learning environment. These principles are based on the core belief that a child’s home language and culture are closely tied to his or her identity and self-esteem. 

UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education
Los Angeles, Calif.
Title of Grant: Parent Worker Engagement and Organizing: Building to Building, Janitor to Janitor, School to School
Purpose/Goals: Parent Worker Organizing: Building to Building, Janitor to Janitor, School to School, is a project designed to engage low-wage immigrant workers in their children’s education through innovative employer-supported programs in partnership with a union and school-based organizing in Los Angeles. The project will provide education and training to parents working in property service who will in-turn train their peers to advocate for quality early education. A main goal of this project is to improve early educational success and create pathways out of poverty for working families.

American Indian College Fund
Denver, Colo.
Title of Grant: Ké’ Early Childhood Initiative: Strengthening Systems of Shared Responsibility among Native Families, Schools and Communities
Purpose/Goals: Founded in 1989, the College Fund has been “Educating the Mind and Spirit” of Native people for 25 years, and provides an average of 6,000 scholarships annually. The College Fund also supports programming at the nation’s 34 accredited tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) located on or near Indian reservations. The “Ké’ Early Childhood Initiative: Strengthening Systems of Shared Responsibility among Native Families, Schools, and Communities” positions TCUs to develop opportunities with Native families to engage and transform early childhood educational practices and outcomes. Families and kinship relations will ensure Native culture and language are central forms of knowledge that will be aligned with the academic knowledge that is presented in early learning programs. Family engagement is a shared responsibility that will promote partnerships and methods to address racial, social and systemic inequities embedded in educational systems, starting with early learning environments serving Native children from birth to 8 years old. At each project site, Native families will play a central role in designing, implementing and examining the success of programmatic innovation. 

National Parent Leadership Institute
Hartford, Conn.
Title of Grant: The National Parent Leadership Institute
Purpose/Goals: The National Parent Leadership Institute (NPLI) seeks to bolster parents as an authentic voice and purposeful constituency for improved child outcomes. The NPLI works on the community, regional, state and multistate levels to help parents become the change agents they want to be for their own and other children. Through a rigorous 20-week Parent Leadership Training Institute curriculum and civic practice, they strive to develop supportive communities of diverse parents into successful parent action. Goals include the development of a broad-based, national parent leadership network; creating a model family civics continuum for towns and cities; adapting the parent leadership curriculum into Spanish, Haitian Creole, and for Native American cultures and rural communities; and supporting school and civic leaders to partner with parents as assets for improved civic health and child outcomes.

Generations United Inc. 
Washington, D.C.
Title of Grant: Grand Partners in Education
Purpose/Goals: Generations United’s mission is to improve the lives of children, youth and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all. For nearly three decades, Generations United has been the catalyst for policies and practices stimulating cooperation and collaboration among generations, evoking the vibrancy, energy and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together. Generations United will partner with the Center for Law and Education and the Baltimore-based Grandfamilies Parent Teacher Student Association to develop, pilot and promote a family engagement model which improves the long-term academic and social outcomes for pre-K through third grade children in Baltimore. Empowered by underutilized provisions of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary School Act, the project will tap the leadership potential of grandparents raising grandchildren to create a framework for parents and caregivers to work with schools as full partners to ensure children receive the key elements of a high-quality education.

Teaching for Change 
Washington, D.C.
Title of Grant: Tellin’ Stories Parent Empowerment Project
Goals/Purpose: Teaching for Change provides teachers and parents with the tools to create schools where students learn to read, write and change the world. They operate from the belief that schools can provide students the skills, knowledge and inspiration to be citizens and architects of a better world. This project will provide resources to expand the model into more schools and create a strategic communications plan to increase visibility of this important approach to family engagement. 

Bass Museum of Art
Miami Beach, Fla.
Title of Grant: IDEA@thebass Educational Program
Purpose/Goals: The Bass Museum of Art’s mission is to inspire and educate by exploring the connections between the museum’s historical collections and contemporary art. Using this statement, the enhanced IDEA@thebass program will build upon the museum’s strong foundation of arts education programming experience in order to better serve Miami-Dade County families. The museum’s education programs demonstrate that art is a catalyst to creativity and positive growth, especially in early childhood education. The IDEA@thebass program will contribute to a child’s development with art programs for the child, the parent and the family as a unit.

Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science
Miami, Fla.
Title of Grant: Early Childhood Hands-On Science (ECHOS) Family Engagement
Goals/Purpose: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science (formerly the Miami Science Museum) strives to inspire people to explore and enjoy science and technology, to gain a better understanding of how they can use it to enhance their own lives and help build a sustainable future. The museum’s overall approach is to create an easy threshold into science through a welcoming environment and enjoyable experiences to meet a wide range of interests and learning styles and to follow this up with opportunities for more in-depth learning and participation. Through the establishment of 10 geographically diverse model-training sites, this project will build the long-term capacity of the Miami-Dade County Head Start program to institutionalize the museum’s Early Childhood Hands-On Science (ECHOS) program model. By building the comfort level of preschool educators and families with the science museum, the ECHOS Family Engagement program will reduce gaps in school readiness and expand families’ social networks, workplace skills and understanding of the importance of out-of-school-time learning to their children’s overall social and cognitive development. The long-term impact they intend to achieve is educational equity with regard to science learning opportunities for Head Start children and families living in poverty in Miami-Dade County.

Clarkston Development Foundation (CDF) 
Clarkston, Ga. 
Title of Grant: Clarkston Families Decide: An Early Learning Social Cooperative
Purpose/Goals: CDF: A Collective Action Initiative works to build a community whose residents come together, engage other community members and organizations, collaborate on transformative community projects and take a leading role in impacting the future of their community. Clarkston, Ga., with 22,000 residents, has a population that is 45 percent foreign born, speaks 60 languages and comes from 40 countries. With Clarkston Families Decide, CDF will engage families with children birth to age 8 in participatory workshops and in an innovative decision-making process to equip them to take actions as leaders, resulting in positive changes in early learning systems and in their community. Through family engagement, a community early learning campaign and working collaboratively with its partners, including the City of Clarkston, Clarkston Families Decide seeks to develop a strong multicultural early learning system that works collaboratively with the schools.

Southern Partners Fund Inc.
Atlanta, Ga.
Title of Grant: Tri-state Parent & Youth Engagement Project
Purpose/Goals: Southern Partners Fund is governed by Southern organizers, mostly of color, who use community engagement and culture as a primary means of impacting policies and developing grassroots leadership. Southern Partners Fund will draw on the capacity-building expertise of four senior organizations in its network: Southern Echo (lead co-designer), Federation Of Childcare Centers of Alabama (FOCAL), North Carolina Rural Working Group and Positive Action Committee (PAC) Georgia, to enhance the health and education of rural zero to 8 and senior communities in their states.

United Way of Greater Atlanta Inc. 
Atlanta, Ga.
Title of Grant: Leading Innovations in Family Engagement – LIFE Path
Purpose/Goals: United Way of Greater Atlanta, a leading grantmaker and convener of community-based services across metro Atlanta, will take a novel approach to family engagement within Georgia through the Leading Innovations in Family Engagement (LIFE) Path project. The implementation of LIFE Path will include three strategies focused on achieving a two-generation impact to improve the lives of families within target communities. These strategies include: supporting parents as leaders within their households and communities via the Vision and Voice Family Leadership Institute; serving families through coaching and empowerment planning, using an interactive, strengths-based approach; and professional training and technical assistance for partnering child care providers and community-based agencies. Through piloting and testing the LIFE Path program model, they will facilitate meaningful family engagement within marginalized communities to enact positive, multigenerational change and develop best practices for dissemination across the state of Georgia.

Keiki O Ka Aina Preschool Inc.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Title of Grant: Ho’ohiki Pilina – To Grow Relationships
Purpose/Goals: The mission of Keiki O Ka `Āina Family Learning Center is to educate children, strengthen families, enrich communities and perpetuate culture. Project Ho’ohiki Pilina will implement cultural-based education practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian family engagement and provide a model for children’s academic success and well-being. The goal of Project Ho’ohiki Pilina is to strengthen early learning outcomes of vulnerable Hawaiian children by developing leadership and building capacity of families, schools and communities to work together to promote success. An anticipated outcome is that Hawaiian children will begin school with the attitudes and skills necessary for success. 

Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program
Chicago, Ill. 
Title of Grant: STEM-Engaged Children, Educators and Families
Purpose/Goals: The Chicago Pre-College Science and Engineering Program (ChiS&E) provides highly engaging and age-appropriate, hands-on science, mathematics and engineering activities for Chicago Public Schools students in grades K-4 and their parents. The program aims to develop student and parent knowledge in these fields, instill a love of learning in the three areas and provide parents and teachers with tools and experience to prepare the scientists and engineers of tomorrow. Through the STEM-Engaged Children, Educators and Families program, ChiS&E will introduce algebraic concepts to parents and their children in grades K-3.

Community Organizing and Family Issues
Chicago, Ill.
Title of Grant: Engaging Low-Income Families of Color in Early Learning Systems and Policy Change
Purpose/Goals: Community Organizing and Family Issues (COFI) exists to build the leadership, power and collective voice of low-income parents to improve life opportunities for their children and families. Since its founding in 1995, COFI has developed and implemented a model called “Family Focused Organizing” to engage low-income parents and grandparents as leaders in transforming their families, communities, institutions and public policies that affect them. Family Focused Organizing has brought more than 3,000 low-income parents of color – primarily mothers and grandmothers – into leadership roles in schools, communities and policy change arenas for the first time in their lives. COFI will bring the Family Focused Organizing model to seven diverse low-income communities of color throughout Illinois to learn systematically how this work can be adapted to differing communities toward the goal of engaging parents fully in early learning community collaborations that work to a) enroll all eligible children, b) engage parents as full partners in program operation, and c) build a cross-community constituency to advocate for policy changes to increase access to early education for all low-income children and ultimately contribute to lessening the racial achievement gap.

Kansas Families and Schools Together Inc.
Topeka, Kan.
Title of Grant: Kansas Coalition for Effective Family Engagement
Purpose/Goals: The mission of Kansas Families and Schools Together Inc. is to promote and support authentic, meaningful and effective family, school and community partnerships to enhance the educational success of all Kansas children from birth through adulthood. The Kansas Coalition for Effective Family Engagement project will address the development, demonstration and dissemination of effective strategies for the engagement, support and empowerment of families through the establishment of state-level standards that build on the Kansas School Readiness Framework. The grant has two goals: to develop and disseminate state standards for family engagement that are aligned and utilized across agencies, organizations and programs; and to engage 10 Kansas counties for the development of family engagement capacity at the local level. This effort hopes to empower all families and build the capacity of early childhood educators statewide to support the success of all Kansas children.

Fusion Partnerships Inc.
Baltimore, Md.
Title of Grant: The Journey Project
Purpose/Goals: The Youth Resiliency Institute, an organization under the umbrella of Fusion Partnerships Inc., is dedicated to inspiring realization of the authentic self in children, youth and adults. Through a creative, arts-based, culturally rich rites of passage process, the Youth Resiliency Institute offers mentoring, training and an array of human and cultural development services with the aim of creating civically engaged, cross-generational teams of community-based advocates and leaders. The Journey Project will provide a forum for low-income black families, policymakers, advocates, principals, teachers, parents and others from diverse disciplines to strengthen early learning outcomes of vulnerable Baltimore and East Cleveland, Ohio, children by developing leadership and building capacity of families, schools and communities to work together to promote opportunities for success. The Journey Project seeks to help shape a national conversation on culturally relevant family engagement in low-income black communities by generating deeper understanding of protective and promotive factors that support resiliency among low-income black families and the development of children from birth to age 8.

Harvard Family Research Project
Cambridge, Mass.
Title of Grant: Revitalizing family engagement during the transition to kindergarten: Partnering with families across time and learning contexts
Purpose/Goals: This project will use the transition from early childhood to school as a lever to increase understanding and implementation of family engagement as a shared responsibility among families and all who promote children’s learning, as continuous from birth through to adulthood, and as critical across school, after school and other learning contexts. The project will document and lift up promising community approaches to transition and share their lessons broadly, and will work with national partners and local communities to stimulate the conversation about how to effectively implement the new definition and build sustained family engagement, especially among families affected by income inequality, racial inequality and immigrant status.

Lawrence Community Works Inc. 
Lawrence, Mass.
Title of Grant: Community Education Circles (CECs) 
Purpose/Goals: Lawrence CommunityWorks (LCW) is a community development corporation that weaves together community planning, organizing and asset-building efforts with high-quality affordable housing and commercial development to create vibrant neighborhoods and empowered residents. By facilitating conversations and action on community priorities, LCW engages partners and a network of youth and adult residents in opportunities to move themselves and the city of Lawrence forward. LCW will support the development of Community Education Circles (CECs), an innovative effort to bring together parents, teachers and students in Lawrence Public Schools and contribute to the turnaround of this struggling school district. CECs use relationship-building conversations and joint action on shared goals to create a practice of deep parental engagement, effective school-family communication and co-investment in improved student educational outcomes. CECs build on previous successful LCW resident engagement strategies, with the aim to institutionalize this practice within the evolved school system.

Public Policy and Education Fund

Buffalo, N.Y.
Title of Grant: Present Student Future Leader
Purpose/Goals: The Public Policy and Education Fund of New York’s Present Student Future Leader project will engage low-income parents of color in improving educational outcomes for young children in our communities. Through community-led collaboration and grassroots organizing, parents will play key leadership roles in shaping this project and ensuring its success. Their collaboration between families, schools and service providers will produce a multiyear action plan to reduce absenteeism, increase school readiness and address racial inequities in education. Through this innovative approach to family engagement, the Present Student Future Leader project will create a web of support for vulnerable children in Buffalo, N.Y.

Community Service Council of Greater Tulsa

Tulsa, Okla.
Title of Grant: The Power of Families Project
Purpose/Goals: The Power of Families Project will expand the capacity of Tulsa-area family, friend and neighborhood care environments to provide successful equitable early childhood experiences for children who are not able to access formal early childhood programs and/or whose first language is not English. The Community Service Council will employ a multipronged approach that includes: engaging diverse families with young children by supporting, educating and training caregiver families to build skills and literacy development in their home language; supporting and training teachers and administrators in targeted Community Schools; and building relationships and trust with families by incorporating “promotoras” to teach family, friend and neighbor caregivers how to advocate for the social, emotional and cognitive well-being of young children.

Center for Southeast Asians

Providence, R.I.
Title of Grant: FARE (Families Advancing Racial Equity)
Purpose/Goals: The Center for Southeast Asians will work to support, assist and educate Southeast Asian families across the state of Rhode Island to develop meaningful parent-child relationships and develop parents’ skills so that they can become advocates for their children’s success. The FARE program will work to empower Southeast Asian families to engage in the education system, increase the number of Southeast Asian professionals in education and develop cultural competency trainings for education professionals across the state.

Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA)

San Antonio, Texas
Title of Grant: Seeding Equity in Education through Dialogue (SEED)
Purpose/Goals: Seeding Equity in Education through Dialogue focuses on strengthening the capacity and platform for effective and coordinated family and community leadership and partnerships to improve early learning for vulnerable children in San Antonio. The project is rooted in IDRA’s family leadership approach which values and engages culturally and linguistically diverse family leaders in partnering with multiple community partners, including schools, to better serve all children, while simultaneously analyzing and working to address structural inequities in education.

Greater Burlington YMCA 

Burlington, Vt.
Title of Grant: Y Early Learning Readiness (ELR) Program
Purpose/Goals: For 148 years, the Greater Burlington YMCA has empowered people to learn, grow and thrive. Its commitments to youth development, healthy living and social responsibility are hallmarks of how they engage and support the diverse population they serve. The Y Early Learning Readiness (ELR) Program provides families and caregivers with an additional partner in caring for their child during the critical and formative years from birth to age 5.

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