History & Goals

The Teagle Foundation has long felt a special responsibility to the community within which it operates, and over the years, has contributed to a wide range of organizations that improve the college-readiness of young people in New York City. In 2005, as an expression of its core commitment to liberal arts education as well as to expanding opportunities for underserved high school students, the Foundation established the “College-Community Connections” (CCC) program.
The CCC program supports partnerships between community-based organizations (CBOs) and colleges and universities in the New York metropolitan area to introduce high school students from underserved communities to liberal arts education, which cultivates in students higher order capacities that will not only equip them for jobs right out of college but also for the work they will do over the course of a lifetime. The program expands college access programming managed through the CBO partners to include a rich liberal arts curriculum taught by college faculty members. The students engage in academically ambitious work that increases their knowledge and skill base, and encourages them to think expansively about the colleges to which they might ultimately apply.

Program Goals

  • To enhance the college readiness of high school students from underserved communities supported by CBOs in New York City

  • To cultivate students’ understanding of liberal arts education

  • To introduce students to the range of colleges and majors, with particular emphasis on liberal arts institutions and disciplines

  • To support paths to post-secondary achievement as evidenced by retention and persistence of first-year college students

  • To encourage CBOs and colleges to explore ways in which such partnerships can be eventually institutionalized

Evaluations to Date

  • In 2008, an evaluation conducted by Metis Associates, an independent national research and evaluation firm, revealed that the partnerships had a positive impact on the high school students, community-based organizations, and colleges. Metis Associates also compiled a list of promising practices and common challenges.

  • In 2010, a second evaluation conducted by Metis Associates indicated that the program is a "highly effective model" that exposes talented but disadvantaged high school students to the "rigors, realities, and possibilities of a liberal education.” 

  • In 2013-2014, Policy Studies Associates, an independent research and evaluation firm, conducted a two-part evaluation examining the program's sustainability and potential for replication in the future and participant outcomes over time. 

Phase V: College-Community Connections Partnerships

Reaching the ten-year mark for CCC provided an occasion to celebrate the important work accomplished through partnerships and invited reflection on ways Teagle can strengthen its efforts in promoting access to and success in liberal arts education.
To that end, the Foundation contracted with the Research Alliance of New York City Public Schools to conduct an evaluability assessment on measuring program outcomes for dissemination. Their recommendations helped develop a request for proposals that refined Phase V toward evaluation across all funded projects.
In fall 2015, proposals of up to $300,000 over three years were invited. Applicants were required to illustrate work plans that include: liberal arts instruction by post-secondary faculty; attention to academic rigor; acclimation to the college campus environment; mentorship by undergraduate students; college access programming, including tours and visits, application assistance, and financial aid literacy; and assessing their progress.

In spring 2017, the Foundation collaborated with the Partnership for After School Education (PASE) to host a forum gathering over 100 representatives from community-based organizations, institutions of higher education, and philanthropy. They shared reflections on partnerships between institutions of higher education and local communities, introduced the College-Community Connections model, and highlighted the importance of liberal arts education in equipping students for further education, careers, and life. 

Individual Community-Based Organizations

In addition to the CCC initiative, the Foundation has maintained long-standing relationships with several individual CBOs that deliver college access programs. Over the years, Teagle grant funds have supported their efforts to facilitate services for underserved high school students to access an enriched undergraduate education.