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ECMC Foundation Grants More than $8 Million to Postsecondary Education Programs and Initiatives in July

August 28, 2018

By Julie Bos, ECMC Foundation Contributing Writer

In July 2018, the ECMC Foundation Board of Directors approved more than $8 million in grants and investments to 14 organizations across the Foundation’s College Success, Career Readiness and Education Innovation Ventures portfolios. To date this year, ECMC Foundation has committed approximately $26 million.

Grants and investments support efforts to launch innovative ideas that bridge gaps in equity, build the capacity of organizations and institutions providing or supporting postsecondary education, support research and evaluation efforts, and more. A selection of grants made are listed below. For a full list of grants made by the Foundation, please visit ECMC Foundation’s website at

Career Readiness Grants

  • A grant of $247,450 was made to American Institutes for Research (AIR), a research organization centered on identifying and applying innovative, evidence-based solutions for improving life outcomes. ECMC Foundation funding will support intensive research on the long-term effectiveness of career programs. The goal of the research study is to determine whether enrolling in a non-accredited and/or non-portable program compared to an accredited program within a postsecondary career pathway will lead to the same long-term success.
  • A grant of $700,000 was made to The Aspen Institute, an educational and policy organization focused on being a nonpartisan platform dealing with critical issues while promoting leadership and community. ECMC Foundation funding will support the delivery of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence and the redesign of Aspen’s curricular material to ensure strong employment and financial outcomes for graduates.
  • A grant of $835,703 was made to Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, a nonprofit with a mission to enhance economic and educational opportunities for all adult learners from different socio-economic backgrounds. ECMC Foundation funding will help launch a program for the Chambers of Commerce and Economic Development Organizations, which will advance collective understanding and expertise in the economic development field regarding the relationship between postsecondary attainment and equitable economic well-being.
  • A grant of $425,000 was made to Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a research organization that aims to facilitate educational success for women of diverse backgrounds, circumstances and experiences. ECMC Foundation funding will support a state-by-state analysis of the benefits of single mothers’ degree attainment in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. IWPR will also create fact sheets, a briefing paper, and share stories about single mothers’ experiences.
  • A grant of $493,560 was made to NORC at the University of Chicago, a non-partisan research institution. ECMC Foundation funding will support the collection of data on financial and career outcomes for graduates from non-accredited vs. accredited career programs. The goal of the research project is to determine whether graduates from accredited programs have better outcomes than their non-accredited peers.


College Success Grants

  • A grant of $450,000 was made to Active Minds, a nonprofit organization committed to raising mental health awareness and education for college students. ECMC Foundation funding will support Active Minds’ expansion to at least 15 campus chapters and provide dedicated support to 10 additional Minority Serving Institutions and Hispanic Serving Institutions.
  • A grant of $750,000 was made to The Aspen Institute, in partnership with Sova Solutions and HCM Strategists. ECMC Foundation funding will support its Tackling Transfer Initiative, which is dedicated to developing a comprehensive approach across states’ practices, leadership and policies for community college students’ successful transfer. ECMC Foundation funding will support the states’ sustainable capacity to improve transfer outcomes and remove barriers to successful transfer, as well as develop actionable tools to scale outcomes.
  • A grant of $750,000 was made to Bottom Line, a nonprofit organization that provides coaching and guidance to low-income and first-generation students from the college application process through college graduation. ECMC Foundation funding will support the organization’s efforts to redesign and codify its program, as well as to expand its career readiness programming.
  • A grant of $400,000 was made to Georgia State University Foundation, which offers educational opportunities for both traditional and nontraditional students. ECMC Foundation funding will help Georgia State University build strategic partnerships with other institutions in the University System of Georgia (USG) in order to scale their chatbot platform to all students at every stage in the undergraduate experience from enrollment to graduation. George State University will work collaboratively with the USG to share insights and strategies and with the wider field.
  • A grant of $525,000 was made to Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at the College of Education at Temple University (Hope Center) which aims to address gaps in social and higher education policy and practice.
  • A grant of $400,000 was made to KnowledgeWorks on behalf of the College in High School Alliance (CHSA), a coalition of national, state and local organizations focused on advancing education policy and implementing dual enrollment programs statewide. ECMC Foundation funding will support CHSA’s efforts to expand equity and quality-focused dual enrollment programs in high schools. CHSA will articulate policy recommendations at regional and state scales, provide resources to policymakers on the best practices and benefits of dual enrollment, and train education practitioners on state policy around dual enrollment.


Education Innovation Ventures Investments

  • A $400,000 program related investment (PRI) was made to College Forward, a nonprofit organization that develops and offers college access and completion programs, such as mentoring and targeted interventions to underserved students. ECMC Foundation’s investment will support College Forward’s expansion and renovation of CoPilot, a student database which analyzes student data to deliver targeted interventions that help ensure college completion. ECMC Foundation’s investment will contribute to College Forward’s goal of reaching one million students by 2025.
  • A $400,000 PRI was made to Better Future Forward (BFF), a nonprofit organization that provides income share agreement funds to low-income students and is focused on advancing opportunity and educational equity for underserved students. ECMC Foundation is the anchor investor and its funds will help launch the Chicago ISA Program. BFF will target a fund size of $1.2 million and is projected to serve 120-150 low-income Chicago students.

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