The Power of Supportive Learning Environments at Home & in the Community
At the Imagine Learning Foundation, we aim to tap into the meaningful connection between a supportive learning environment in the classroom and expanding it outside the classroom by facilitating access to programs and activities focusing on mental and physical well-being at home and in the community. By bringing these programs into life beyond the classroom, we activate a learner’s full community and support system to ignite more breakthroughs in every learning environment.
Community support — be it from family, allies or educators — has a meaningful positive impact on students’ social and emotional health. Students will be in a better position to succeed personally and academically if their learning environments and experiences at school and beyond include access to programs and activities that focus on or help improve social, mental and physical well-being. Extending access to these programs outside of the classroom has the potential to foster healthy learning environments and address longstanding disparities in student opportunities and outcomes.
As we expand supportive learning environments into life beyond the classroom, we ignite more learning breakthroughs by engaging a learners’ broader family and community support system — making every space a positive learning environment.
We’re emerging from a period that has pushed the education system beyond its limits and brought to light many areas where our schools and students need more resources, new tools, and different ways of approaching persistent challenges.
The pandemic has challenged students, teachers, and their families and left many with feelings of anxiety, depression, and other emotional and mental health challenges. The impact has garnered attention and brought resources to problems such as inequitable access to digital devices and connectivity, but it did not adequately address the longstanding problem of learner, family, and educator well-being.
The Imagine Learning Foundation is driving the expanded use of knowledge and tools focused on student well-being in homes and communities to address this fundamental need.
How We Work
We work to support and expand student well-being at home and in the community in two key ways:
We are funding the Imagine Signature Grant Program to amplify national non-profit organizations’ efforts that advance our mission to:
- support initiatives that foster the learning and well-being of youth and their families and educators at home and in the community
- study the impacts of social, physical, mental, and emotional well-being on accelerating student achievement across diverse communities
View the details and requirements of the Signature Grant Program.
We are also funding grants initiated by Imagine Learning employees, focused on the well-being of learners and those who support them in out-of-classroom learning spaces and communities.
We invite employees to identify grant submission opportunities throughout the year. The Foundation will announce Grassroots grants and opportunities for employees to get involved through our corporate communication channels.
The Imagine Learning Foundation invites proposals from national organizations whose actions support our mission to foster the well-being of learners and those who support learners at home and in their communities. Grant application key dates and deadlines for submitting proposals for the upcoming year will be posted as available.
In 2023, the Imagine Learning Foundation has partnered with and funded five organizations whose work aligns with its mission and meets the priority areas and guidelines under the Imagine Signature Grants Program. In total, the Imagine Learning Foundation awarded $400,000 to these organizations that meet the Foundation’s funding priority areas of focus. The awarded grantees and their programs are announced below.
Grassroots submissions will also be accepted throughout 2023.
2023 Signature Grant Recipients
The Imagine Learning Foundation awarded $400,000 in 2023 Imagine Signature Grants to five organizations actively working to improve the well-being of learners beyond the classroom. ILF and these five nonprofits are dedicated to meeting the critical needs of young people and their families throughout the country.
WPSU (Penn State University Philanthropic Fund) is a public media station dedicated to sparking discovery, enriching learning, and strengthening communities. ILF awarded WPSU a $100,000 grant to support the creation of Learning Grief, a free website, supplemented with community workshops and at-home learning materials, that will support grieving children. Learning Grief will provide age-appropriate lessons to help children navigate grief and teach families and communities how to support grieving children.
Our Minds Matter (OMM) is a national nonprofit dedicated to fostering a world where no teen dies by suicide and where all teens have access to needed mental health resources. OMM implements student-led clubs where teens engage with activities designed to promote help-seeking behavior, positive coping skills, and other proactive suicide prevention efforts. OMM currently serves 3,000 students in over 150 schools nationwide. ILF awarded OMM a $100,000 grant to expand into 50 new schools across the country.
Genesys Works is a national nonprofit dedicated to providing young adults in underserved communities with access to skills training, meaningful paid work opportunities, and mentorship to support each learner’s career path and upward mobility. ILF awarded Genesys Works with an $83,000 grant to implement new evaluation tools designed to measure changes in students’ adaptive mindset and career readiness for their 2024 and 2025 graduating classes.
Big Sky Youth Empowerment (BYEP) is a nonprofit dedicated to providing teenagers in Montana with group mentorship, experiential adventures, and life skills curriculum designed to foster success and help them become contributing members of society. ILF awarded BYEP a $58,000 grant to develop an age-appropriate suicide prevention and awareness curriculum as well as fund professional development for the BYEP team to assist teens who are experiencing a heightened state of crisis.
Erika’s Lighthouse is a national nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness and educating youth, families, and the community about adolescent depression and related mental health issues. Erika’s Lighthouse was an inaugural Imagine Signature Grant recipient in 2022. ILF is renewing their commitment with an additional $50,000 grant to expand the family engagement program. The new funding will allow Erika’s Lighthouse to increase marketing efforts and staff capacity to engage more school communities and make Erika’s Lighthouse’s resources available to students across the country.
Inaugural Grant Recipients
We are delighted to announce Erika’s Lighthouse and Up2Us Sports as the inaugural recipients of the Imagine Learning Foundation’s Signature Grants. Each organization received $100,000 to support social and emotional learning beyond the classroom.
Erika’s Lighthouse is a Chicago-based non-profit organization dedicated to educating and raising awareness about adolescent depression, encouraging good mental health, and breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health issues. The grant will fund Family Engagement resources including a Family Handbook, a series of Family Workshops, and educational videos all designed to educate families about youth depression, crisis intervention, and best practices for helping their children navigate their mental health.
Up2Us Sports is the nationwide leader in engaging and training sports-based youth development coaches, practitioners, and organizations to address the most pressing issues facing youth in under-resourced urban communities. The grant will fund the first major national research study to measure the impact of sports-based youth development (SBYD) programming on social and emotional skill development. This study will help inform the growth of SBYD as a proven methodology for fostering social and emotional skills in schools across the country.
How does the Imagine Learning Foundation measure the impact of our initiatives?
Measuring the depth and breadth of our impact on students, their families, educators, and communities is a critical part of fulfilling our charter. We will conduct studies and surveys to assess the reach and impact of our efforts and partnerships.