The Foundation seeks to strengthen teaching quality and classroom outcomes by investing in the development of new and veteran educators with an emphasis on innovative practices and the delivery of a 21st century education. The Foundation will place priority on projects with potential for scaling and replication.
The number of children identified as having autism has more than doubled in the past 15 years. With a prevalence rate of 1 in 59 children, autism occurs more frequently than all childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined. Equally noteworthy, students with average or above average intellectual ability are now being diagnosed much more frequently (46%). This increase in students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have higher levels of intelligence necessitates new educational models. Currently, most students with ASD are in general education classrooms in which fewer accommodations are possible when compared with specialized classrooms. Thus a program with universal application to all students is the most effective and efficient response. This is the work of the Marcus Center's Educational Outreach Program.
The Educational Outreach Program seeks to bridge contemporary research in the neuroscience of social emotional engagement with practical applications in the classroom. They focus on creating a positive learning climate where social emotional learning competencies are embedded within a learning framework that's helpful for all children. The program they've developed, Social Emotional Engagement - Knowledge and Skills, provides training to district and school personnel so that sustainable leadership and coaching teams are developed. This model enables a school system to develop internal capacity for serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities while, at the same time, reducing the cost of longer-term reliance on external expertise. As the content of the training is based on research in the neurodevelopment of social competence in children with and without vulnerablities, accomodations can be integrated into universal designs for learning that benefit the entire student population.
With funding from the Dobbs Foundation, the Marcus Center will provide training to early childhood and elementary school educators in Region 5 of the DeKalb County School District over three years. The focus will be school-wide training for 12 Title 1 elementary schools in SW DeKalb County with the goal of building capacity for teacher-to-teacher mentorship within professional learning communities. To help sustain the program, training will also be provided to DeKalb County District leaders and the Metro East Georgia Learning Resource System. The Georgia Learning Resource System (GLRS) is a network of 17 regional programs that provide training and resources to school district personnel, parents of students with disabilities, and other interested individuals to support the achievement, graduation rate, and post-secondary success of students with disabilities.
Grant Amount: $180,000
The Cobb County School District instructs nearly 120,000 students and employs more than 7,000 teachers. In light of the pandemic, the district anticipated students returning to school with increased stress and mental health challenges. As part of its ongoing strategy to support students, the district committed to training nine staff members of the Student Assistance Team as certified trainers for Youth Mental Health First Aid. This program teaches caring adults how to help an adolescent who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Dobbs funding will support the purchase of additional materials and substitute teachers enabling the district to accelerate the pace at which it can train faculty to identify children in crisis and connect them with additional services.
Grant Amount: $50,000
For many years, PBA has worked in partnership with the Atlanta Public Schools to provide after school tutoring services. They redesigned the program in 2018 to take advantage of the robust offerings of tutor.com to provide online tutoring through a locally branded platform, TutorAtl. When COVID-19 forced school closures in March 2020, TutorAtl usage nearly doubled. Dobbs funding supports an expanded 2020-21 contract that will enable TutorAtl to meet additional student demand. Services are available to student in the Atlanta, Cobb, Fulton, and Marietta school districts.
Grant Amount: $50,000
GLISI works to uplift school leaders who transform mindsets and actions that create vibrant cultures of innovation to build excellent and equitable schools. Through its flagship training program, Bas Camp and Leadership summit, GLISI helps districts cast a vision, set SMART goals, analyze data for root causes, implement research-based solutions and measure/monitor progress. Dobbs funding will allow GLISI to make its services more affordable to districts saddled with significant budget cuts exacerbated by COVID-19.
Grant Amount: $50,000
Priorities include conservation of the Georgia coast and the longleaf pine ecosystem.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) is pursuing a regional effort to increase the number of underserved youth entering natural resource professions with an emphasis on highly skilled, wildland fire fighting and prescribed fire careers while, at the same time, building capacity for prescribed fire and other restoration activities associated with the longleaf pine ecosystem. (Photo by Sherry Crawley)
The Fire Mentoring Program was launched in 2014 when TNC teamed up with Job Corps of Jacksonville, Florida to recruit and train 15 inner city youth as prescribed fire interns, opening the door for conservation careers. That first year, interns assisted with 23,000 acres of prescribed fire in the Osceola National Forest. The program grew in 2015-16 with 20 interns trained. 8 were employed for the burn season and 5 completed it. While still based in Florida, the crew expanded its reach to include managment of forests in Georgia. Funding from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation made it possible to expand the program in 2015-16 to include Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. Funding approved in December 2016 from the Dobbs Foundation enabled The Nature Conservancy to extend the program into Georgia in partnership with the Brunswick Job Corps and Greening Youth Foundation. Over the course of the 2016-17 burn season, 33 interns were trained, 23 employed, and 17 completed the fire season - 7 from Georgia. They executed 93 burns for a total of 41,000 acres.
Going into the 2017-18 burn season, TNC renewed its commitment to the program with plans to add a fire team comprised of veterans from the Fort Benning area and to enhance the mentorship provided to interns. With regard to the latter, mentoring in prior years was largely conservation focused. Drawing from a network of multiple partners such as the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service, interns had the opportunity to learn from seasoned wildlife and forestry professionals. The attrition of 5 participants in 2017 (none from Georgia) highlighted the fact that a successful transition into a fire career requires more than vocational guidance and technical acumen. Many interns had not spent time outdoors in remote areas and had little experience working as a member of a team to reach a common goal. With this in mind, TNC added a week to the training regimen to provide participants an opportunity to explore the environment and complete non-fire field activities and team building exercises. In addition, TNC added a full-time mentor to each intern team to provide guidance on and off the fire line.
The Dobbs Foundation's renewed funding supports the program's Georgia based activities.
Grant amount: $75,000
Savannah Riverkeeper serves as the primary guardian of the Savannah River striving to respect, protect, and improve the entire river basin through education, advocacy, and action. As part of a settlement agreement associated with the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project, The Georgia Ports Authority agreed to provide $33.5 million for wetlands mitigation, land preservation and other measures designed to address the environmental impacts of deepening the harbor. One of the projects being pursued is restoration of the natural flow of the Savannah River between the cities of Augusta and Savannah. Dobbs funding supports operational expenses that allow the Savannah Riverkeeper to serve as the non-federal sponsor for the project.
Grant Amount: $60,000 over two years
The Conservation Fund, working with public, private, and nonprofit partners, protects America's legacy of land and water resources through land acquisition, sustainable community and economic development, and leadership training, emphasizing the integration of economic and environmental goals. Dobbs funding contributed to a land conservation deal within the Gopher Tortoise Conservation Initiative in which the Conservation Fund partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to close on two properties within a bundled acquisition that totaled 17,420 acres and permanently protected four viable Gopher Tortoise populations. A kestone species of the longleaf pine ecosystem, the Gopher Tortoise is a candidate for listing as a threatened species in Georgia under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Grant Amount: $76,000
Georgia Forest Watch works to enhance the health of Georgia's 867,000 acres of National Forest by protecting forests and streams, advocating for natural processes, and identifying opportunities to improve forest management. In response to proposed Forest Service rules that would preclude advanced notice and public comment requirements regarding changing forest management, Georgia Forest Watch has launched a new advocacy initiative called The ForestRoots Coalition. The objective is to recruit, motivate, inform, and train a regional network of volunteers and organizational allies who will act as informed, effective advocates for the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest through their influence on the US Forest Service and local and state elected officials. Funding supports operating expenses associated with this effort.
Grant Amount: $57,800
On behalf of a funder collaborative, we are pleased to share reports produced in the course of an extended exploration of the organizational capacity of Georgia’s environmental non-profit sector.
Priorities include medical research into treatment options for age related macular degeneration and expanding access to basic health services (primary, behavioral, oral, vision).
A Georgia law passed in 2017 allows dental hygienists to perform screenings, fluoride rinses/sealants, preventive care, and patient education without the direct presence of a dentist. This opened the door for providing oral health care in settings such as school-based health centers with much greater efficiency and sustainability. Emory University's Urban Health Initiative and The HEALing Community Center seized this opportunity to launch an oral health program at the school-based health center located at Hollis Innovation Academy, an Atlanta Public School in Westside.
Formed in 2011, Emory's Urban Health Initiative is a collaboration of various institutions including Emory University's Schools of Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, Emory College, Grady Health Systems, and a variety of community partners. The Initiative seeks to address the social determinants of health in impoverished and/or low-resourced areas across Atlanta. The HEALing Community Center (HCC) is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides access to comprehensive healthcare to more than 8,000 individuals in northwest Atlanta. At the time of the grant, HCC was already in the process of launching the new school-based health center at Hollis Innovation Academy (also funded by the Dobbs Foundation, working through Emory's Partners for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health). When the oral health legislation passed, adding oral health at Hollis was a natural next step.
The Center for Black Women's Wellness is a community-based family service center committed to improving the health and well-being of underserved black women and their families. Services include a Wellness Program that provides women's health services, a Healthy Start home visiting program, and the Women's Economic Self Sufficiency Program. Dobbs funding supports accelerated implementation of telehealth with particular emphasis on chronic disease management, maternal child health, and behavioral health services in light of limited physical contact due to COVID-19.
Grant Amount: $45,000
PARTNERS for Equity in Child and Adolescent Health works to improve the health and well-being of underserved children by expanding the number of School-Based Health Centers (SBHCs) in Georgia; creating a family-centered model for comprehensive primary care services; developing innovative programs; and training future pediatricians to provide medical care that addresses the social determinants of health. Since launching, PARTNERS has provided funding and technical assistance to launch 48 school-based health centers throughout the state. Due to the pandemic and subsequent school closures almost all SBHCs were forced to close. PARTNERS launched a $2 million campaign to assist SBHCs and their medical sponsors with the process of re-opening for the 2020-21 school year with a priority on staffing for core operations, behavioral health support, and community health workers to assist with outreach to families.
Grant Amout: $200,000
Albany Area Primary Health Care is Southwest Georgia's largest community health center serving residents across nine counties through eighteen locations plus eight school-based health centers. The Albany community was hit hard by the pandemic, at one point being ranked 3rd in the world with th highest number of COVID-19 cases per capital. Like most federally qualified health centers across Georgia, AAPHC saw a significant drop in patient care as well visits were discontinued, dental visits were canceled, and school-based health centers were closed. AAPHC pivoted quickly to use telehealth but clinicians were hampered by the lack of clinical data when making decisions about patient care, particularly for those with chronic health conditions (often more than one). In response, AAPHC conceived the Healthy at Home Initiative. The pilot tested two methods for obtaining clinical data: 1) providing at-home kits for patients and training on how to use the equipment to provide basic vital signs and 2) equipping nurses for home visits. Dobbs funding supported equipment purchases, staff time, and mileage reimbursment for the pilot.
Grant Award: $50,000