The Fund for Academic Excellence
Connecticut has the widest achievement gap in the nation between poor students and their wealthier peers. Fairfield County, one of the most highly educated and wealthiest regions in the United States, is shamefully part of the problem, with one of the nation's widest achievement gaps between African-American and Latino students and their white counterparts.
In-depth analysis show causes of the achievement gap are complex and include economic, societal, ethnic, cultural and school system-based factors. While the achievement gap in high cost of living Fairfield County is most dramatic in our cities, it has an impact on every resident regardless of zip code.
Improving the academic achievement of our urban public school students is one of Fairfield County's most urgent issues.
In 2007, the Foundation established the Fund for Academic Excellence to provide a funding resource to support and improve our urban students' success.
What's Being Done
Education and Youth Development is one of our six priority areas of funding. With the support of our donors, our Fund for Academic Excellence has provided much needed support to nonprofits in the education and youth development sectors.
In fiscal 2010, we, along with our donors, awarded more than $4 million in grants to organizations providing critical services, including:
But funding alone will not be enough.
- Afterschool tutoring and mentoring
- Summer enrichment programs
- Targeted assistance to innovative programs with a proven track record
In 2007, we focused our efforts on determining the root causes behind the achievement gap. Our research revealed an impending crisis. Over half of the 92 principals in Bridgeport, Danbury, Norwalk and Stamford planned to retire by 2012 and there were few qualified candidates to take their place.
This looming leadership void threatened to halt progress and potentially contribute to further increases in the achievement gap.
We created the Urban School Leaders Fellowship to turn this challenge into an opportunity.
An unprecedented partnership, we brought together leaders from the urban school districts,
statewide education experts and others to address the achievement gap by creating a pipeline of trained, passionate leaders for our urban schools.
Learn more about the Urban School Leaders Fellowship.
How You Can Help
You can make a tax deductible, online contribution to the Fund for Academic Excellence.
Gifts to this fund support our education grants, as well as the Urban School Leaders Fellowship and programs designed to strategically address the achievement gap in Fairfield County.
To make a contribution by mail or fax, or for more information, email Fiona Hodgson, Vice President of Development and Marketing, or call her at 203.750.3200.