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. This responsibility is coupled with the Foundation’s commitment to liberal arts education. In today’s digital age, the richest forms of education promote critical literacy to enable students to question how one “knows what they know” and to “learn how to learn” to be successful in any professional endeavor. Furthermore, the benefits of liberal arts education ensure that students are prepared for full participation as citizens in our democracy and meaningful reflection on achieving the good life.

In 2005, the Foundation launched the College-Community Connections (CCC) initiative to expand and deepen college access services offered through New York City community-based organizations (CBOs). Through this partnership program, CBOs and colleges and universities have collaborated to introduce high school students from underserved communities to liberal arts education. Signature components of the partnerships include participation in seminars led by college faculty and engagement with residential campus life, enriching students’ notions of what college is, where they might attend, and what they might study when they arrive on campus

Program Goals

  • To enhance the college readiness among 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 at their disposal, with particular emphasis on liberal arts institutions and disciplines.
  • To encourage CBOs and colleges to explore ways in which such partnerships can be eventually institutionalized at their institutions.

Phase VI: College-Community Connections Partnerships

Proposals for grant awards of up to $300,000 over three years are invited from select partners who have participated in previous iterations of the College-Community Connections program. Applicants are required to provide work plans that include: liberal arts instruction by post-secondary faculty; preparation for the academic rigor of college; strategic collaboration on student recruitment; acclimation to the college campus environment; mentorship by undergraduate students; college knowledge-building for students and their families; and assessment of progress.

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.

In 2016, Research Alliance for New York City Schools prepared an evaluability assessment on measuring program outcomes for dissemination.

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.