If you have been following the early success of the Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) partnership, you know that the Community Foundation was one of six local and regional funders coming together to invest $455,000 in grants for academic and enrichment programs in 2013. Thanks to this partnership, 16 Birmingham area programs will be able to help low-income children fight summer learning loss and improve their chances for success in school.
Now we have an opportunity to take our investment in summer learning to another level through the national Breakthrough Collaborative. Starting with rising seventh-graders, Breakthrough provides three consecutive years of an intensive six-week academic instruction and leadership experience, followed by mentoring during high school.
The focus for Breakthrough is on high-achieving, low-income students, because statistics show that they do not normally graduate from high school or college at the same rate as their peers in higher-income areas or even low-achieving, high-income students.
“The organizations currently supported by SAIL focus primarily on younger ages,” explained James McCrary, “but we know that middle school is a crucial time, a time when students may shift their lives toward college or away from it. With added focus in seventh, eighth and ninth grades, we can prepare students to make the most of their high school years.”
A new partnership, including the Community Foundation and its donors, Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation and the Daniel Foundation of Alabama (all part of the original SAIL partnership), plus Protective Life Corporation and Birmingham Jewish Foundation, has committed $35,000. This will be added to $40,000 already raised by Jared Weinstein and Miho Kubagawa, Birmingham natives now living in New York who brought the program to our attention.
This summer, the Breakthrough Collaboration will start by serving 50 rising seventh graders from Birmingham city schools. The goal is to increase that number to 100 students per grade and add a grade each year through ninth grade.
Contact Kathryn Corey to find out more about how you can support the Breakthrough Collaborative or the SAIL partnership and add more students to the group each summer. Or make a gift today toward our Result that focuses on strategies to ensure children are successful along the education pipeline.