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
Supports a professional development program to facilitate the scaled adoption and use of a new science curriculum across the state of Georgia. Known as SAGES - Science for All Generations through Environmental Stewardship, the new curriculum was developed by Captain Planet Foundation in partnership with the Georgia Department of Education (DOE). It includes curricular materials for every grade level that are aligned with DOE's new K12 science standards and emphasizes student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogy. In addition to professional development, funding will be used to establish a lending library of durable lab/field equipment required for the curriculum.
Grant Amount: $100,000
Launched in 2015, JA Academy is an innovative model that seeks to reengineer high school education to be more relevant, experiential, and authentically connected to the complexities that exist beyond the classroom walls. As an immersive "school within a school" model, JA Academies serve a subset of students within each host school's population (there are no eligibility requirements). The model features project-based learning and, in particular, case study methodology that fosters interdisciplinary learning. Building on corporate partnerships as the source of case material, JA Academy also offers students the opportunity for work-based learning and collaboration with mentors. JA Academies are being developed and piloted in 8 sites including Banneker High School (Fulton), Norcross High School (Gwinnett), and Douglas High School (Atlanta). Funding supports Junior Achievement's $9.4 million capital campaign to underwrite the project's development with specific allocation for professional development designed to help teachers become proficient in the use of case study methodology.
Grant Amount: $100,000
This three-year grant goes toward the $3.7 million needed to launch an Atlanta campus of The Relay Graduate School of Education's Teaching Residency Program. The program targets aspiring teachers who have not come from traditional teacher preparation programs. Residents earn a graduate degree over the course of the two-year program. During their first year, aspiring teachers spend over 1,200 hours in a master teacher's classroom while also taking graduate level coursework. In their second year, Relay residents are typically hired as teachers of record in their school district while completing their course work. As part of Relay's Residency Program, residents are observed, coached, and mentored by master teachers who serve as faculty throughout their program experience. The Atlanta Public Schools and KIPP: Metro Atlanta Collaborative will act as local partners.
Grant amount: $300,000 over 3 years
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
Working on behalf of the Longleaf Partnership Council, The Conservation Fund engaged a team of MBA students at Emory University's Goizueta Business School to tackle the challenge of accelerating longleaf conservation among large private landowners. To provide advice and technical support for the MBA team, The Conservation Fund coordinated an advisory committee that included representatives from The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, The Longleaf Alliance, Forest Landowners Association, Resource Manage Services, Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power, and the Dobbs Foundation. The students' findings and recommendations, based mostly in economics, will be mined for opportunities to continue to explore and pursue opportunities to accelerate longleaf conservation among large private landowners. The project was co-funded by Georgia-Pacific, Georgia Power, and the Dobbs Foundation.
Grant Amount: $7,500
Nearly two-thirds of America's clean water supply comes from stream flow cycled through forests. These natural systems filter runoff and break down contaminants, producing high-quality water for ecosystems as well as human and industrial uses. The Savannah River Clean Water Fund (SRCWF) seeks to conserve land and promote better land management on both sides of the river for the sake of water quality in the Savannah River watershed. In support of the project, five water utilities have pledged a total of $1.133 million per year for three years toward land conservation, better land management, and science and research in the Savannah River Valley. Using maps generated by The Nature Conservancy, SRCWF is targeting 210,000 acres within the 2.8m acre watershed as being critical for the project. With core support from water utilities, SRCWF is seeking annual matching funds for land acquisition, conservation easements, deed restrictions, responsible land stewardship, education and scientfiic research, and modest operating expenses. The value proposition is clear: conserving land and promoting better land management practices now is less expensive than building water treatment capacity down the road.
Dobbs Foundation funding provides the Savannah River Clean Water Fund with general operating support.
Grant Amount: $50,000 over two years
The Georgia House and Senate Natural Resources & Environment Committees provide legislative oversight for Georgia's environment and natural resources. As "citizen legislators" with little background in environmental science or policy, committee members represent many different areas of Georgia and have diverse professional and personal backgrounds. They also serve on multiple committees and face an overload of information during the legislative session. To address this challenge, UGA's Carl Vinson Institute of Government launched the Georgia General Assembly Environmental Policy Academy in 2011 with funding from the Dobbs Foundation, support that was renewed in 2017. The Academy provides legislators with clear, unbiased, non-technical scientific and statutory background on the state's major environmental issues. Training involves two and a half days of classroom style programming prior to the Biennial Institute for Georgia Legislators in Athens as well as site visits. The most recent site visit took place in the fall of 2017 in Southwest Georgia, focusing on water, longleaf pine restoration, and rural brownfields.
Grant Amount: $50,000
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.
CHRIS 180 operates with the vision that high quality, trauma informed behavioral health services and support systems will be available to all children, adults, and families. In November 2017, CHRIS 180 launched the public phase of a three year $13 million capital campaign to increase the organization's footprint to meet rapidly growing demand for services. Over the past five years, CHRIS Counseling Center has seen a 306% increase in the number of people receiving services. Through the CHRIS Training Institute, they have expanded the number of people trained by 102% in one year. As a result, CHRIS 180 is increasing access to mental health services and training others to identify and help address trauma. Funds raised through the campaign will double CHRIS 180's impact by 2020, building service capacity from 6,500 to more than 13,000 children, youth, and adults annually through programs such as mental health, foster care, adoptions, and training services.
Grant Amount: $100,000
Good Samaritan Health Center of Gwinnett is serving more than 12,000 uninsured patients representing 52 nationalities. Most patients are supporting a 4 member household on an annual income of $18,446. Operating out of a 4,300 SF facility constructed 26 years ago, the clinic has met, and in some ways, exceeded the capacity of its existing building while demand for services continues to rise. Good Samaritan's $5.5 million campaign will allow the organization to acquire and renovate a 12,800 SF facility. With this increase in space Good Samaritan of Gwinnett will add dental and dispensary services, increase evening and weekend hours, and expand staff to meet the demand for existing services.
Grant Amount: $150,000
Wholesome Wave Georgia (WWG) was founded in 2009 as a statewide chapter of a national initiative working to empower under-served communities to make better food choices by increasing affordable access to fresh, wholesome and locally grown food. WWG realizes its mission through two core programs: the Georgia Fresh for Less Program and the Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program (FVRx®). Fresh for Less matches federal nutrition assistance benefits spent at local farmers markets, dollar for dollar, at 62 farms and farmers markets across the state. In 2015, WWG launched the southeast's first FVRx® program. The FVRx® program promotes affordable access to fruits and vegetables and healthy eating in under-served communities through partnerships with healthcare providers, community organizations, and fresh produce retailers. Participants receive innovative prescriptions that can be spent on fruits and vegetables at participating farmers markets. The FVRx® program is a proven evidence-based model of preventative healthcare with a demonstrated impact, resulting in healthier communities, food systems, and local economies. Funding supports year one of a four-year program expansion in partnership with Grady Health System, Open Hand, and the Atlanta Community Food Bank. This scaling effort was facilitated by a business planning process funded by the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and, if successful, WWG will pursue replication within other large health systems.
Grant Amount: $50,000