Investors in the Expansion of City Year’s
Whole School Whole Child Initiative
Since 2007, City Year has been honored to partner with the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust. In 2013, the Trust made a significant investment in City Year’s Long Term Impact strategy. Their multi-year gift, given at the highest level in City Year’s history, is catalyzing the organization’s ability to deepen its impact in more schools in more cities across the country.
We spoke to Jennifer Hoos Rothberg, the Trust’s Executive Director about this recent investment.
The Mission of the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust is to help people get along better. What does that mean and how is it reflected in the work of the Trust?
The Trust’s vision is to build a more harmonious and civil society – a society in which the norm is for people to get along.
Research shows that the best ways to help people get along better is by nurturing the development of necessary skills and behaviors such as empathy, kindness, cooperation, and respect, from the earliest stages of life through adulthood, for people to have the proclivity to proactively choose to engage positively and productively with those around them.
To do this well, we need to provide the opportunities to regularly practice and develop these skills, and also ensure that the environments, such as one’s home and school, and primary relationships, such as with parents, teachers, and peers, are consistently positive and nurturing.
How is that mission and those priorities put into action through the grantmaking of the Trust?
The Trust’s grantmaking philosophy emphasizes research-based programs that are developmentally appropriate and that integrate all three facets: relationships, environment, and experiences. In an educational context, we are looking for organizations that provide students with the opportunities to practice and develop these skills on a regular basis, integrated into the core curriculum and pedagogy, whereby everyone in the building becomes an active participant in establishing a caring community and positive school culture. When done well, students thrive in both learning and life.
How does City Year fit into this philanthropic strategy?
City Year is one of the best examples of incorporating these attributes – developing strong relationships, providing formative experiences, and creating a nurturing environment – and making sure they are mutually supportive of one another. City Year AmeriCorps members build supportive and trusting relationships with students, especially those who need it most. You can’t go into a City Year school and not feel that the environment has been transformed by the corps members’ presence. The environment is safe and nurturing, but also energetic, exciting, warm, and welcoming. Corps members not only model these positive behaviors, but actively provide students with experiences and opportunities to practice and develop their social and emotional skills on a daily basis, helping young people become their best selves.
City Year believes strongly in the power of young people to make a difference. How do you think young people can help solve some of our most intractable problems?
Young people are the special sauce of City Year. Corps members bring an incredible sense of idealism with them into the classroom. We need this insurgence of energy and positivity, warmth and creativity in our schools – and no one is better at delivering that than idealistic millennials. The genuine, trusting relationships that corps members build with students and the tireless positivity that they bring into the school building: that’s the transformative power of City Year. Corps members are transforming these schools and we are confident City Year’s “human capital solution” will transform education. This is a perfect example of the power of young people making difference in the world.
Why does the Trust believe now is a good time to expand its investment in City Year?
The Trust seeks to partner with organizations that are positioned for that next stage of growth and provide the resources to help them get there. We are proud to have partnered with City Year over the past several years of their journey. The organization has identified a rigorous growth plan, laying out what the next level of impact will look like, and with resources, are poised to get there. We recognized this as an unprecedented opportunity to help City Year reach its transformative goals. The Trustees feel privileged to be able to provide resources that will help City Year achieve its innovative and ambitious plan to become a powerful, sustainable force for change in education. It is an ideal investment for the Trust.