Skip to Content

ECMC Foundation Grants More Than $9.4M to Postsecondary Education Programs

May 30, 2019

By Mai P. Tran, ECMC Foundation

ECMC Foundation announced that it recently committed $9,412,600 to support grantees’ efforts ranging from launching and piloting new initiatives, evaluating existing programs, building new digital resources and designing new systems and processes. These investments reflect the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to advancing postsecondary educational outcomes for individuals from underserved backgrounds across its College Success and Career Readiness portfolios.

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

  • A grant of $500,000 was made to Achieving the Dream, a national network that supports community college student success and completion with a particular focus on helping low-income students and students of color complete their education and obtain industry-valued credentials. ECMC Foundation funding will support ATD’s contract with MDRC, a social policy research organization, to evaluate nine ATD colleges in Florida. The goal is to use a mixed-methods approach to identity and uplift factors that help to facilitate or hinder institutional change efforts and student success outcomes.
  • A $499,576 grant was made to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles (BBBSLA), a nonprofit service provider that provides mentorship to Los Angeles County’s youth, ages 6-18. ECMC Foundation funding will support BBBSLA’s expansion of services of the College Preparation, Access and Completion (PAC) program. BBBSLA will coordinate PAC program development and technical guidance for five additional BBBS agencies. The goal is to scale the PAC model beyond its origin site at BBBSLA and prove its viability to increase BBBS mentee college persistence, ultimately providing a proof for the BBBS National headquarters.
  • A $555,000 grant was made to the College Crusade of Rhode Island, the most comprehensive college readiness and scholarship program in Rhode Island for urban middle school, high school and college students. ECMC Foundation funding will support the development of a comprehensive transfer-melt program initiative to facilitate successful transfers for Community College Rhode Island students to four-year institutions. The goal is to establish partnerships with the Rhode Island Office of the Postsecondary Commissioner, Community College Rhode Island, the state’s three public colleges and an external evaluator to serve 800 students a year.
  • A $900,000 grant was made to College Forward, a nonprofit that provides intensive, culturally-appropriate mentoring programs propel students from underserved backgrounds to collegiate success and remunerative careers. ECMC Foundation funding will support College Forward’s increased organizational capacity to launch a new and better version of their services through the adoption of their mobile application that will provide high-quality, tech-mediated and personalized coaching, combined with location-based services. The goal is to scale the reach of College Forward’s advising services to increase college persistence.
  • A grant of $400,125 was made to College Success Foundation (CSF), which aims to aims to increase access to college education and fill the workforce needs of the future for students from groups with historically low college graduation rates. ECMC Foundation funding will support the evaluation of its remote support strategy in order to scale college support services and inform best practices across the country to ensure equitable academic outcomes. CSF will develop an evaluation focused on improving and refining the remote strategy, collect data to establish baselines for the summative evaluation for Cohort 2020, and conduct a summative assessment evaluation of the remote strategy. The goal is to refine CSF’s College Services remote strategy through a formative evaluation, and compare its efficacy to the on-campus strategy in improving outcomes among low-income students
  • A grant of $291,280 was made to the Education Strategy Group (ESG), a consulting firm that leverages and scales the highest-impact strategies to help all learners, especially those who are underrepresented, earn a postsecondary credential with labor market currency. ECMC Foundation funding will support ESG’s research on non-credit to credit pathways in select state community college systems across the country. The goal is to strengthen the connection between workforce development and academic programs at community colleges in order to increase the number of individuals earning a high-quality postsecondary credential that leads to a meaningful career with professional stability and growth opportunities.
  • A grant of $650,000 was made to the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (JNGI), which partners with colleges, universities, philanthropic organizations, educators, and other entities to increase institutional responsibility for improving outcomes associated with teaching, learning, retention and completion. ECMC Foundation funding will support JNGI’s Pedagogy, Advising, and Curriculum Excellence (PACE) Project. Specifically, JNGI will scale a curriculum and advising redesign across six to eight postsecondary institutions in four partner states—Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas and Indiana. The goal is to decrease the number of students who dropout, withdraw or fail gateway courses and increase their overall persistence rates.
  • A grant of $600,000 was made to Merit America, a nonprofit organization that builds educational pathways from low-skill jobs to middle-skill careers to meet the needs of working adults and American employers. ECMC Foundation funding will support the validation and scaling of its innovative model, which provides immediate skill development and career advancement opportunities to working adults, while enabling them to pursue postsecondary credit. Merit America will replicate the program in two sites, develop new partnerships, create the infrastructure needed to scale the model, and generate data and learnings. The goal is to reach 1,150 participants in the next three years.
  • A $301,000 grant was made to the New York University Marron (Marron) Institute, which conducts innovative applied research to effect positive social change in the U.S. and globally. Funding will support Marron’s study on the barriers to free community college (Promise) programs. They will produce a white paper to detail policy-oriented research about the free community college initiatives and whether they have a measurable and positive impact on student success. The goal is to inform policymakers about the transparent impact of College Promise programs and, if viable, best practices and designs for implementing Promise programs to better serve students on their transfer pathways as well as address gaps in current public understanding of Promise programs.
  • A $750,000 grant was made to Northern New Mexico College (NNMC), a public institution that provides access to affordable, community-based learning opportunities that meet the educational, cultural and economic needs of the local regional economy. ECMC Foundaton funding will support the development of a self-sustaining Plumbing and Pipefitters Center of Excellence (PPCoE) that will generate a pipeline of skilled labor to fill the employment needs of regional employers for decades into the future. NNMC will will collaborate with unions and industry leaders to create a program that confers positive outcomes for students and the local workforce. The goal is to create a model for potential higher education/union partnerships nationwide, particularly in areas where key career readiness initiatives can serve as economic development engines in underprivileged communities.
  • A $887,214 grant was made to the Research Foundation City University of New York (RFCUNY), a not-for-profit corporation that supports City University of New York (CUNY) faculty and staff in identifying and obtaining external support from government and private sponsors and is responsible for the administration of all such funded programs. ECMC Foundation funding will support RFCUNY’s work with Kingsborough Community College in a pilot to test strategies for re-enrolling and supporting adult students who have some credit accumulation but no degree. The goal is to ease the friction of the re-enrollment process, improve student services to better address the needs of adult learners, improve rates of degree and credential attainment, and create stronger career success channels that lead to better opportunities for working adults.
  • A grant of $865,000 was made to Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration production company that provides self-discovery resources to empower individuals so that they can identify their interests, explore the stories of real-world professionals, and discover career pathways aligned with their unique ambitions and skills. ECMC Foundation funding will support Roadtrip Nation’s efforts to conduct an interactive experience for single mother college students; develop content that will be broadcast on public television, shared online, and used for in-person programming; support accompanying outreach activities; and deploy educational resources for community college educators. The goal is to showcase the stories of single moms who found postsecondary success to help others visualize what higher education and career pathways exist.
  • A $766,833 grant was made to the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) is a national association that helps states develop and sustain excellent systems of higher education by serving as an expert liaison between states, postsecondary leaders and the federal government. ECMC Foundation funding supports SHEEO’s partnership with the Education Strategy Group to help six selected states and SHEEO members join an attainment academy to better reach their statewide postsecondary attainment goals. The goal is to provide technical assistance and support, quarterly convenings, research and analysis, and mini-grants to refine and sharpen postsecondary attainment goals.
  • A grant of $418,344 was made to the University of Hawaii Foundation to support Hawaii P-20, a statewide partnership that works to improve college and career readiness for students by measuring progress from early education to the workforce and developing programs that impact education policy and activate statewide change. ECMC Foundation funding will support Hawaii P-20 development of its online early college courses for select high schools, which helps students earn high school and college credit. The goal is to address Early College access and equity issues in rural and remote areas of the state so that 170 students can earn high school and college credit.
  • A grant of $400,000 was made to the University of Toledo (UT), which offers 140 undergraduate and graduate degree programs to over 21,000 enrolled students across Ohio campus locations and online.  ECMC Foundation funding will support UT’s Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute development of the FREE Program, a comprehensive program that will support survivors of human trafficking in their preparation and success for new educational and career opportunities. The goal is to provide wraparound support services to 100 survivors of human trafficking in Ohio and across the nation by 2021.
  • A grant of $628,228 was made to World Education, Inc., a nonprofit organization that works to improve the well-being and economic mobility of low-income, lower-skilled adults and youth through education, training, and social supports. ECMC Foundation funding supports the development and implementation of the Personal Success Skills Digital Library, an online resource for college success and workforce development providers with technology-enabled tools. The goal is to identify and disseminate quality materials to help educators teach and assess personal success skills.

Back to News