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 Dobbs Foundation has made two investments in CREATE, a cohort-based residency program for new teachers. Analogous to a medical residency, the program is designed to foster professional and personal development of new teachers across a three-year period in which responsibilities and independence as professional educators expand as abilities improve. The model's ultimate goal is to increase student achievement by enhancing teacher effectiveness and retention through a comprehensive system of supports for new teachers (residents) and the experienced educators who surround them. The program features mentoring, professional learning communities, and training in mindfulness as a personal resource for self-regulation and stress management.
Developed and managed by the Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School, CREATE has been implemented in partnership with Georgia State University, the Atlanta Public Schools, and six additional schools within the Jackson Cluster of APS including three traditional public schools and three public charter schools. The program has been funded by a combination of a U.S. Department of Education i3 grant and private matching grants and includes evaluation by a 3rd party.
In its second year, the program has a 100% retention rate among the novice teachers participating in the residency and very positive feedback from mentors and administrators participating in the program. The project was recently awarded an additional $589,000 by the Governor's Office of Student Achievement to scale its work by expanding the team's ability to support Critical Friendship Groups (i.e., professional learning communities) at participating schools and extend the program to a third cohort.
The Council for Great City Schools recently conducted a study of 54 urban districts from across the U.S. to determine the amount of testing that was occurring in schools and how data was being used. The ensuing report concluded unnecessary testing was occurring and not enough clarity of purpose applied as to why tests are being administered. Within Georgia, the amount of testing in classrooms has arguably increased and the public perception is that it has become too burdensome with no obvious benefit to students. The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education has developed an evaluation protocol to assist teachers, administrators, and local school systems in the systematic evaluation of student testing practices to ensure that specific assessments are useful with the intent of supporting changes to district testing policies and practices when appropriate. Grant funding will allow GPEE to beta test the protocol in 5 districts before making it broadly available.
Grant Amount: $75,000
ArtsNow helps teachers improve their practice using arts integration (i.e., the application of fine art and performing art disciplines as pedagogical tools for core content areas). Governor Nathan Deal's Arts Learning Task Force recommended increased support for arts integration and STEAM curricula. With this charge in mind, ArtsNow is developing professional development modules that integrate the arts with science, technology, engineering and design projects. In addition to content development, onsite professional learning workshops will be provided to schools and school systems to help teachers incorporate STEAM lessons into their classes.
Grant Amount: $27,000
Fulton County Schools is implementing a teacher recruitment and retention strategy to expand the reach of highly effective teachers in struggling schools using a staffing model created by Public Impact known as "Opportunity Culture." This model offers career advancement for master teachers who remain in the classroom by creating a teacher-leader position titled the multi-classroom leader (MCL). While still teaching, MCLs lead a team of teachers by modeling effective teaching, facilitating collaborative planning, and providing constructive feedback so that all teachers on the team can become more effective practitioners. Ultimately, MCLs are responsible for the professional growth of their team and the academic progress of all students taught by the team. Grant support underwrites the implementation team's planning work and coaching from Public Impact. The model will launch fall 2016.
Grant amount: $100,000
Priorities include conservation of the Georgia coast and the longleaf pine ecosystem.
Stewards of the Georgia Coast is an informal affinity group for donors committed to coastal conservation. Launched through a collaborative effort by Cody Laird of the Dobbs Foundation, Wendy Paulson of the Bobolink Foundation, and Roy Richards, Jr., its purpose is to expand the impact of conservation philanthropy for the Georgia coast. Its activities include periodic electronic newsletters about coastal conservation and philanthropy; the development and sharing of resources in support of conservation philanthropy; and occasions to gather and learn. Stewards is modeled on donor affinity groups across the country in which donors with a common focus share information, resources, and a sense of community, all in the interest of making greater impact with their giving and personal engagement.
Over the last decade, Cody Laird, Wendy Paulson, and Roy Richards, Jr. have worked on behalf of the Georgia coast in a variety of ways. Georgia's coast is remarkably intact, its landscapes inspiring, and its ecology internationally significant. And yet, the Georgia coast has not enjoyed public awareness and recognition commensurate with its value. Likewise, the level of engagement on behalf of coastal conservation among donors and people with influence is not what it should be.
In 2013, these three donors began a collaborative effort to widen the circle of people who are aware of the special qualities of the Georgia coast and feel motivated to work on its behalf - with charitable giving, personal engagement, and influence. From weekends on Little St. Simons Island to outings on the Savannah River to donor roundtables, they've brought together a wide range of people around coastal conservation. As those numbers have grown, they recognized the need to connect and support the coastal donor community and, to that end, launched Stewards of the Georgia Coast. If you would like to learn more or join the Stewards' mail list, visit www.stewardsofgacoast.org.
The Nature Conservancy of Georgia (TNC) is working to increase the number of underserved youth entering into 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. Following a successful pilot program in Florida, TNC is expanding its prescribed fire mentoring program to five states bordering the Gulf of Mexico with support from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. With grant support from the Dobbs Foundation, Georgia will become a primary training and mentoring location for all young people entering the program; TNC will work collaboratively with its partner, Greening Youth Foundation, to recruit and train a three person fire crew for service in North Georgia; and, other fire crews assembled through the project will assist with prescribed fire and other restoration efforts on priority lands in Georgia.
Grant Amount: $50,000
The Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) has worked on behalf of coastal conservation in Georgia for 20+ years but the organization's engagement intensified in 2007 in the wake of publishing The Tipping Point, a comprehensive assessment of the Georgia coast funded by the Dobbs Foundation. Since that time, SELC's coastal team has a remarkable record of impact on behalf of the Georgia coast. Their contributions include supportive partnerships with other conservation organizations, effective advocacy, and precedent-setting legal victories. SELC is the Dobbs Foundation's longest standing partner on the Georgia coast.
Grant Amount: $125,000
Georgia's forested wetlands, floodplains, and coastal swamps provide many important environmental benefits including critical wildlife habitat, flood protection, removal of pollution and nutrients from urban and agricultural runoff, water storage that moderates droughts, and carbon sinks. In short, forested wetlands play a major role in coastal health and productivity. Despite their immense value, forested wetlands face an increasing array of threats, particularly increased timber harvest. The Odum School will investigate why current conservation-minded incentive programs have not been more effective and develop policy recommendations that would encourage private landowners to manage their forested wetlands toward conservation.
Grant Amount: $159,478 over two years
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).
PARTNERS for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health is a program within the Emory School of Medicine's Department of Pediatrics. Its mission is to enhance the health and well-being of Georgia's underserved children by expanding the number of school-based health centers in the State of Georgia and creating a family-centered model for comprehensive primary care services for at-risk children. The Dobbs Foundation has provided start-up funding across a two-year period for a new school-based health center at Hollis Innovation Academy within the Atlanta Public Schools.
School-based health centers offer comprehensive primary healthcare services to children and adolescents including physical, mental, and whenever possible oral health. Each school-based health center is affiliated with a sponsoring Federally Qualified Health Center. School-based health centers have been recognized nationally as an effective and sustainable means for providing quality healthcare to children and adolescents living in poor communities. Being where children are, providing care irrespective of the patient's ability to pay, and providing care in a coordinated, integrated system where all providers are working under the same roof and in communication with one another make school-based healthcare delivery an ideal model for addressing the needs of Georgia's most needy children.
Emory's Department of Pediatrics was an institutional partner in the 1994 launch of the Whitefoord Elementary School Health Clinic by its former Chair, Dr. George Brumley and Dr. Veda Johnson. In support of that effort, Dr. Johnson was named the Department's Director of Community and School Based Clinics in 1994. In 2009, the Department launched the Urban Health Program with Dr. Johnson as its Director to replicate the success of school-based clinics piloted at Whitefoord. To better reflect the mission and its state-wide focus, the Urban Health Program was renamed PARTNERS for Equity in Child & Adolescent Health in 2015. The program has since overseen and supported the launch of 20 school-based health centers in Georgia. The program is also working in partnership with the Rollins School of Public Health to evaluate the impact of school-based health centers with funding from the National Institutes of Health.
Easter Seals of North Georgia is the largest provider of early intervention autism services in the state. Because of their reach, the Marcus Autism Center established a relationship with the organization to test its research in early screening and diagnosis of Autism beyond the Marcus client population. Marcus secured funding to research the efficacy of a new screening tool for 16 - 30 month old children. The research design limits the study to an urban population and thus funding is limited to Easter Seals' metro sites. This grant enables Easter Seals to expand the use of the tool to children served in other locales and provide early intervention services for those diagnosed.
Grant Amount: $50,000
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
Sight Savers America focuses on coordinating early identification and timely treatment of eye care needs for children whose impaired vision, if left untreated, may lead to permanent vision loss. The organization is expanding its work in Georgia from Fulton County to DeKalb, Cobb, Douglas & Clayton Counties in an effort to ensure children with severe vision impairment receive the assistive devices necessary to keep pace with their homework. The organization anticipates addressing the backlog of necessary equipment within 3 years for children in these couties.
Grant Amount: $35,000