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America’s College Promise Initiative

This year, President Obama has unveiled a program to help combat the rising college costs for students across the nation, America’s College Promise Initiative. America’s College Promise Initiative would allow responsible students to go to a community college for two-years, free of charge. It is estimated that by 2020, approximately 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree. The 1,100 community colleges across the nation give an affordable education at convenient locations for students, making it easier to go to college. America’s College Promise Initiative will create federal-state partnerships to give students access to a college education. Federal funding will cover three-quarters of the cost of tuition, while state funds are expected to pay the remaining one-quarter

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5 Ways to Use Your Program Evaluation Data

Your organization or school has spent a significant amount of time, money and resources on collecting, tracking and analyzing important data about your programs and services. In working with our clients, we often find that many are not doing a good job of sharing this information beyond the traditional annual report. Here are some simple, yet effective ways to share the impact and value of your organization with key stakeholders: Annual Report – At a minimum, you should annually produce a report that summarizes your organization’s impact in the community. However, we strongly encourage you to rethink your traditional annual report. Check out these olds posts (here and here) for some inspiration! Email – The signature line in your staff’s

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Grant Opportunity with KaBOOM! Playground

Childhood obesity rates have tripled since 1980 and stayed the same for the past ten years. The average child spends nearly 75 hours a week immersed in various forms of media. With fewer children playing outside and a rise of childhood obesity, many organizations are taking steps to change this trajectory. KaBOOM! is working to partner with communities to make active play space available for youth across the country. Through the development of playgrounds, KABOOM! is working to bring the importance of play to the forefront. KaBOOM! offers a number of grant opportunities for organizations wishing to begin or modify a playground project. KABOOM has three grant categories: Build it with KaBOOM! Grants: Provides planning grants to design your playground and

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New Report on the Status of Young Children in Indiana

Indiana’s Early Learning Advisory Committee (ELAC) has submitted its 2015 report of findings to Governor Mike Pence and the state’s Legislative Council. As previously discussed (in this blog post), ELAC was created in the 2013 legislative session with a mandate to provide a comprehensive progress report by June 30th of each year. ELAC’s vision focuses on ensuring that children ages birth to 8 years and their families have access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education programs that keep children healthy, safe and learning. The report includes a Needs Assessment section where the following key items are noted: Indiana has approximately 500,000 children five years old and younger; Nearly half (47%) of Hoosier families with children ages 0-5 are in poverty;

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Summer—A Time to Get Ahead

For many children, summer is a time of fun and a break from school. However, summer can also lead to “learning loss” for many students. Studies show students score lower on standardized tests after summer than they do before. It is also reported that students lose approximately two months in math computational skills over summer vacation. Several organizations and schools are working to prevent summer learning loss by taking advantage of the summer months to extend students’ learning and ensure that they start school ready to learn! By participating in unique summer learning programs, students develop new skills, explore interests and get hands-on experience. When designing summer programing, organizations should consider and address many issues, but the five most important

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Grant Funding Opportunity with David and Lucile Packard Foundation

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation focuses on “improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and conserving and restoring the earth’s natural systems.” Since 1964 the Foundation has helped programs and people across the nation through four program areas: Conservation and Science Population and Reproductive Health Children, Families and Community Local Grant-making One of the programs, the Children, Families and Community Program awards grants to organizations that support the following three causes: Early Learning Provides support to adults caring for children through investing in training for caregivers and educators and providing resources to parents and families. Children’s Health: Funds state-based child advocacy programs, national organizations and, at times, local organizations that demonstrate best practices in

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Federal Program Spotlight: Farm to School

This blog is part of a series highlighting federal programs that support children, families and communities. The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm to School Grant Program was created with the purpose of assisting eligible programs in creating a farm to school program to improve access to fresh, local food in schools. Managed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service, the Farm to School Grant Program not only promotes the use of farm fresh foods, but also provides education and awareness about healthy eating for children and educators. There are four grant categories for which an organization can apply: Support Service Grants: Intended for local and state agencies, agricultural producers, Indian tribal organizations and other non-profit entities

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Transformational Organization Spotlight: Jump IN to Hoosier Health

Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. To help combat these alarming statistics, many organizations, companies, families, and individuals are sounding the alarm for healthier options and public policy changes. Jump IN for Healthy Kids, formed by a coalition of Central Indiana community and business leaders, has one ambitious goal in mind: to have a 12% reduction in childhood obesity rate by 2025. To accomplish this goal, Jump IN has three main strategies to help empower children and their families: Increasing access to healthier foods, and encouraging consumption Increasing physical activity Embracing healthy habits These three strategies are spread across eight focus areas, which work together to better a child’s

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Online Toolkit for Early Childhood Donors

The Center for High Impact Philanthropy at the University of Pennsylvania has released web-based version of Invest in a Strong Start: An Early Childhood Toolkit for Donors. For individuals and organizations interested in supporting early childhood education, the toolkit provides key facts, strategies for investment, high impact opportunities and key partners you should know. As an extension of an ongoing partnership with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the toolkit was created by a team that reviewed over 50 pieces of major research reports and policy analyses, collaborated with national networks, and interviewed experts and leaders in the early childhood field. The expanded and updated toolkit includes the following components: Funder Briefs: Background information and resources of early childhood topics such

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New Online Family Engagement Inventory Tool

Family engagement is recognized as a foundation for children’s success across the human services and education fields. The Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created the Family Engagement Inventory (FEI) to assist professionals in child welfare, juvenile justice, behavioral health, early education, and education to access current family engagement strategies and resources across these fields of practice. The definition of Family Engagement changes between each field of practice. Behavioral Health: Focuses on getting families and providers to effectively communicate information, needs, values, and attitudes that are necessary to develop a beneficial alliance for the child. Child Welfare: Engagement is family-centered and strength-based; Involves helping families set and achieve goals and make important decisions. Early Childhood

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