In 2005, the Teagle Foundation reflected on its support to a small group of community service organizations in the New York metropolitan area. They were doing exceptional work in identifying talented but underserved young people to prepare for and win admission to college, and to succeed once there.
While these organizations developed excellent programs to address many of their students needs, the Foundation was surprised to find few linkages with colleges and universities. Yet, studies strongly suggest that rigorous academic programs are especially effective in helping students surmount educational and environmental disadvantages. For these reasons, the Teagle Foundation invited colleges and universities to collaborate with community services organizations. Under the new “College-Community Connections” initiative, partners were invited to develop programs with the following objectives in mind:
enhance the readiness for college on the part of underserved youth in programs in New York City supported by the Teagle Foundation;
provide opportunities for faculty and students at colleges and universities in the New York City area to work with these students;
and encourage these students to aim high in setting their academic goals, and to succeed in reaching them.
The Foundation was especially interested in programs that nurture the imagination while challenging the mind. These included after-school and weekend seminars as well as visits to libraries, campuses, museums, and other culture centers. Students’ progress was monitored both during and after the program, with particular attention to their readiness to undertake college-level work and succeed in it.
In September 2007, the Foundation convened grantees participating in the CCC pilot to share promising practices with one another and to offer considerations for long-term goals of the initiative. 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.