The Children’s Opportunity Fund Announces Initial Grants in Montgomery County

July 17, 2017 -- The Greater Washington Community Foundation has announced the Children’s Opportunity Fund’s (COF) first grants of $625,000 to three high-impact nonprofit organizations in Montgomery County, Maryland.  All three groups provide life-changing educational opportunities for low-income children and reflect the COF’s innovative and systemic approach to closing the opportunity gap for children and youth in Montgomery County.  These first three grants include nearly $625,000 in public funding and will leverage an additional $625,000 in private matching funds, totaling a $1.25 million investment. 

Children’s Opportunity Fund Grants June 2017

The Children’s Opportunity Fund's initial grants will serve over 1,200 students in the following ways:

Building Educated Leaders for Life (BELL) works to create high-quality learning opportunities for the children who need them most, so that they, too, can develop the skills, interests, and determination to excel.  BELL builds educational equality by mobilizing schools and communities and expanding learning time beyond the traditional school day and school year.  BELL exists to transform the academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities. The grant from COF will support educational services to students currently attending Montgomery County Public Schools Summer Program in partnership with the Norman R. and Ruth Rales Foundation, Montgomery County Government and MCPS.

The Urban Alliance Foundation, Inc. partners with businesses to empower under-resourced youth to aspire, work, and succeed through paid internships, formal training, and mentorship. The grant from COF will expand the Urban Alliance High School Internship Program into Montgomery County by providing career preparation and internships to low-income high school students in the east county area.

Family Services, Inc. (FSI) provides high-quality services for newborns to adults to foster health and well-being in the home, school, and community.  FSI currently serves over 27,000 of the most vulnerable residents through more than 36 programs throughout Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. The grant announced today supports the coordination of work around early childhood care and education for participants of the newly formed Thriving Germantown Collaboration.

Although Montgomery County is the 11th richest county in the United States, most people are shocked to discover that over 200,000 people are living below self-sufficiency levels and over a third of MCPS students quality for free and reduced meals  — widening the opportunity gap for children and families.  The latest U.S. Census data show 12 census tracts with poverty rates of 18 percent or more.

The Children’s Opportunity Fund is working to close the opportunity gap for children and their families; address the need for integration among health, education, and social investments for vulnerable children; and diminish the disparity in educational achievement between children from wealthy and low-income families.

About the Children’s Opportunity Fund

The Children’s Opportunity Fund (COF) is a component fund of the Greater Washington Community Foundation (The Community Foundation) and its local office in Montgomery County. Funded jointly by the government of Montgomery County, Maryland, and Montgomery County Public Schools to leverage public funds to attract private investment, COF champions, plans and funds strategic investments that improve the lives of low-income children and families in the county. With a focus on innovative, evidence-informed efforts targeted at closing the opportunity gap, COF identifies priority areas for investment based on unmet need, aligns resources toward effective multi-sector collaborations serving the county’s most vulnerable youth and their families, and seeks new funding sources.

COF is guided by and works closely with a Policy Leadership Group and Steering Committee representing leaders from government, philanthropy, business and the community. These leaders include:

 Children’s Opportunity Fund Policy Leadership Group

  • Ike Leggett, County Executive, Montgomery County
  • Nancy Navarro, Councilmember, Montgomery County Council
  • Patricia O' Neill, Member, Montgomery County Board of Education
  • Jack Smith, Superintendent, Montgomery County Public Schools

 Children’s Opportunity Fund Steering Committee

  • Uma Ahluwalia, Director, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
  • Gabriel Albornoz, Director, Montgomery County Department of Recreation
  • David Asai, Senior Director of Science Education, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Kevin Beverly, President and CEO, Social and Scientific Systems
  • Parker Hamilton, Director, Montgomery County Public Libraries
  • Anna Hargrave, Executive Director, Montgomery County, Greater Washington Community Foundation
  • Julian Haynes, Program Officer, Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
  • April Kaplan, Executive Director, Montgomery County Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families
  • Agnes Leshner, Board Member, Montgomery's Kids
  • Maria Navarro, Chief Academic Officer, Montgomery County Public Schools
  • David Petr, President/CEO, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation

For more information on the Children’s Opportunity Fund, click here.



Mala B. Thakur

Executive Director, Children's Opportunity Fund

Greater Washington Community Foundation