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Welcome ECMC Foundation Grantees and Investees

An Announcement from Lynn Alvarez, Vice President, Programs and Strategy

September 22, 2022

As part of our commitment to strengthening higher education for career success among underserved populations through evidence-based innovation, ECMC Foundation is proud to announce a new series of grants and investments made from May 12, 2022, to September 16, 2022. This round of recently approved grants and investments aims to improve postsecondary career and technical education (CTE), accelerate student success and advance critical education-to-career pathways. The total funding is $11,503,163.

A selection of grants and investments made are detailed below. For a full list of the Foundation’s active and inactive grants, please visit

American Council on Education ($1,000,000) to begin its revision of the Carnegie Classifications of Institutions of Higher Education. The goal is to develop, pilot and implement a student social and economic mobility measure that will incentivize colleges and universities to devote resources toward learner-focused activities such as college completion and post-collegiate workforce success.

Aspen Institute ($820,000) to publish national and state-level data on transfer student outcomes for the first time and use the data to engage 10-15 state leaders through technical assistance, convenings and actionable research and tools. The goal is to accelerate transfer reform by increasing awareness of racial equity gaps in transfer student outcomes for two- and four-year institutions across the country.

Beyond12 ($800,000 grant) to implement technological upgrades for its MyCoach Student Success Platform, including the integration of GradGuru. The goal is to expand its reach with community colleges and higher education institutions and validate its evolving model’s impact on student outcomes, which will position the organization for national scale.

Breakthrough Collaborative ($400,000) to codify and scale their college success program to better support their network. The goal is to identify the baseline components of a college success program and build the capacity of their National Office to provide technical assistance to sites that are developing a new program.

Capital IDEA Houston ($500,000) to expand Upskilling Mobility Services by increasing employer partnerships and adding four new career pathway programs. The goal is to build capacity for Upskilling Mobility Services to increase the number of graduates with a certificate or associate degree and job placement in an in-demand industry.

College Track ($500,000) to redesign and implement their College & Career Success Program, the second half of their 10-year holistic college completion program that supports scholars from ninth grade through college graduation. The goal is to increase the percentage of College Track scholars that are thriving on four-year college campuses, earning bachelor’s degrees and pursuing careers that lead to long-term social mobility.

EdSource ($75,000) to report on California’s public colleges and universities, particularly California Community Colleges and California State University (CSU), which have the largest postsecondary student enrollment in the nation. EdSource will use diverse storytelling methods — including podcasts, video, and virtual roundtable discussions — to engage a broad audience and incorporate student and stakeholder voices.

Higher Learning Advocates ($150,000) to launch a targeted campaign to help improve the postsecondary success of student parents, and in particular, single mothers. The goal is to raise public awareness of programs and policies to help increase the associate degree attainment of single mother students.

Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) ($75,000) to conduct a review of all Higher Education Act (HEA) programs currently administered by the US Department of Education (ED) that support equitable college access and success outcomes for Black, Hispanic, Indigenous, AAPI and low-income students. The goal is to provide ED with recommendations identifying the most efficient and impactful ways of spending HEA program evaluation dollars allocated by Congress in the fiscal 2022 omnibus appropriations bill.

Minnesota Public Radio/American Public Media ($75,000) to produce high-impact, immersive journalism and data analysis examining current issues in post-secondary education, including the systemic barriers that create gaps in degree attainment and career success for low-income learners and students of color.

National College Attainment Network ($625,000) to support its “Whole Student Through Mental Health and Wellbeing” project. The goal is to assist six member organizations with assessing their mental health and wellness strategies and to offer professional development on mental health and wellness strategies to all member organizations.

National Public Radio ($150,000) to sustain its postsecondary education journalism. The goal is to continue reporting on issues affecting postsecondary students, faculty, administrators, and communities throughout the country and produce more than 150-200 stories on postsecondary education over the course of the grant period.

Opportunity America Educational Fund ($75,000) to design, fund, and recruit states to participate in a Policy Academy to help state higher education agencies standardize data definitions, data collection practices, and data reporting processes for skills-centered noncredit programs that bridge to traditional academic credentials. The goal is to position OA to launch the Policy Academy focused on improving the integration of noncredit, job-focused programs to better serve students as a gateway to degrees and economic mobility.

The Century Foundation ($200,000) to help 12 community colleges grow their manufacturing programs by identifying additional funding, securing employer partners, and increasing the number of students ― especially Black, Latinx, Indigenous and Asian students ― enrolled in manufacturing programs. The goal is to develop a set of recommendations for public and private funders, employers and community colleges interested in growing manufacturing education and training programs and increasing their impact by employing culturally competent and trauma-informed approaches as they scale their programs.

The Hechinger Report ($75,000) to report, write, and publish feature stories on higher education issues. The goal is to produce compelling, long-form higher education news stories, employing photography, video and data visualizations to elevate findings that promote student college success and career readiness. Hechinger is especially interested in postsecondary reporting as it pertains to students of color, first-generation students, and nontraditional students in their efforts to attain learning beyond high school.

The Institute for Citizens & Scholars ($250,000) to launch the College Presidents’ Leadership Consortium on Civic Learning. The goal is to create a consortium of college and university presidents who represent different segments of higher education and points of view who can re-center civic learning in postsecondary education in ways that strengthen campus public discourse and democracy.

The Ohio State University ($499,913) to offer financial support and non-academic programming at four community colleges (Brookhaven College, Odessa College, San Jacinto College, and Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology) offering the ASSET program, evaluate the program enhancements, and share the learnings. The goal is to understand what conditions increase the number of students of color and female students that graduate with an associate degree and secure automotive technician roles.

United Negro College Fund ($740,250) to launch the Accelerating Baseline Capacities in Data for Student Success initiative, a program that will assist Historically Black Colleges and Universities in establishing a culture of data-driven decision-making and continuous improvement. The goal is to enable participating HBCUs to improve their data management and analysis capabilities to better serve and support their students.

Vassar College ($410,000) to forge a national network of highly selective liberal arts colleges and community colleges (HSLACs). The goal is to enhance the capacity for and effectiveness of collaboration between these two institutional sectors of higher education to prepare more community college students for transfer to HSLACs, using Vassar’s Exploring Transfer program (and related programs) as a key institutional strategy.

Virginia Foundation for Community College Education ($583,000) to launch College Attainment for Parent Scholars (CAPS), an initiative to help five community colleges implement integrated supports for low-income student parents (especially single mother students), evaluate student parent needs and retention outcomes, and scale learnings across the system. The goal is to improve persistence and completion rates and increase earnings by 200% or more above poverty level within six months of graduation for single mother students.

Education Innovation Ventures

EdVisorly ($250,000) to build out its engineering and sales functions, which will help it expand beyond current pilots and begin selling to institutional partners. Ultimately, EdVisorly’s goal is to improve postsecondary outcomes for underrepresented students by building a more equitable community college-to-four-year transfer process.

Edquity ($500,000) to continue its steady expansion in the higher education market and prove concept with social safety net programs. The company plans to use the funds to build out a municipality platform while positioning its core Emergency Aid for College Students product for long-term sustainability. The goal is to streamline access to the safety net for postsecondary students and vulnerable Americans by providing fast, dependable, and equitable emergency cash transfers.

Reinvestment Fund ($750,000) to identify best practices for supporting HBCUs in deploying flexible debt capital and offer technical assistance resources for financing and making capital improvements. The goal is to help HBCUs get the resources they need to better serve their students, faculty, and staff while deepening their community impact.

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