COMMUNITIES FOUNDATION of TEXAS
2014 Impact Report
school. Because of a change in executive leadership shortly after the plan was completed, implementation was put on hold. KIPP’s new executive director continues to evaluate the possibility of creating a residency program, along with other opportunities to partner with SMU.
Results, Learning, and Refinement What has happened, what have we learned, and how can we refine this community impact in Year 2? Most of CFT’s middle school grantees completed their first year of program implementation in the summer of 2013. Data are still being collected and analyzed, so it is still too early for us to draw any definite conclusions from our initial grants. But we can report that nearly all our grantees have made some modifications to their programs based on learnings over the last 18 months. Although we do expect to see incremental gains in student achievement year over year, we also know that ours is a long-term investment strategy and that significant progress will not happen overnight—or within a single year. One outcome we didn’t anticipate from our middle school grantmaking strategy was the opportunity for us to facilitate collaboration among our grantees. Most of the organizations we are supporting knew of each other, but somewhat surprisingly, relatively few of them had worked together, and even fewer had formed meaningful partnerships. In early 2013, CFT staff invited all of our middle school grantees to join us for a conversational lunch at the foundation to help foster better communication, connectivity, and opportunities for organic collaboration. All the organizations were asked to make a brief presentation highlighting their CFT-funded programs. Following presentations, their peers asked questions about their work. At the end of the luncheon, we encouraged grantees to continue the conversations initiated that day and offered a special opportunity to seek additional funding from CFT for collaborative projects related to training, preparation, and professional development for middle school teachers and leaders. In our spring 2013 middle school grant application cycle, we received three collaborative proposals—two involving partnerships among organizations that had never worked together before and that have since been funded by CFT. Big Thought and KIPP DFW received collaborative funding to create and implement a year-long professional development program designed to support the delivery of in-school arts integration and after school creative learning enrichment opportunities not previously offered at KIPP Truth Academy. In a separate grant, UTD’s UTeach program is now working with NAPE to provide gender equity training to pre-service teachers, something NAPE has never done. A second grantee convening is planned for spring 2014, and CFT looks forward to many more opportunities to foster dialogue and collaboration among our Community Impact grantees as we continue our middle school investment strategy.