Coaching Prince George’s County’s Youth to College Success

This post is part of a series highlighting the amazing impact that results when our generous donors take a hands-on approach to the grantmaking process through our various Sharing funds.

Sharing Funds in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and DC represent The Community Foundation’s community-led grantmaking approach through a collection of philanthropic funds that provide financial support to local nonprofit organizations. The initiative helps donors strategically leverage their resources to create even greater impact in their own communities by pooling resources in support of effective nonprofits. It also brings donors, and other stakeholders, together to learn first-hand about the challenges facing the area’s most vulnerable residents. They engage in a peer-led grant review process to identify and support organizations that are effectively responding to the most critical needs. 

Sharing Prince George’s, operating out of the local office in Prince George’s County, helps donors to strategically leverage their resources to support the nonprofit organizations that are addressing the county’s most critical needs. It currently consists of the Prince George’s Neighbor to Neighbor Fund and the MGM National Harbor Fund.

The Sharing Prince George’s initiative is a clear demonstration of the Community Foundation’s role as a convener in the philanthropic community. By providing a mechanism for corporate members of our community to pool resources so that grants can then be distributed directly to nonprofits doing important work in our community, The Community Foundation is leveraging its expertise to create a better Prince George’s.

—     William M. Shipp, Trustee of The Community Foundation

In 2017, the Sharing Prince George’s fund granted $188,000 in awards to nonprofits in Prince George’s County, MD. First Generation College Bound (FGCB) was one of the 15 recipients in the latest round of awards.

FGCB helps youth realize that being the first in their family to earn a post-secondary degree is no longer a dream out of reach. For more than 25 years, FGCB has provided pathways through high school into college for low- to moderate-income, at-risk, and/or underrepresented youth attending Prince George’s County Public Schools.

According to the US Census, only 46% of low-income American students matriculate to college nationally. With limited opportunities for employment, low- and moderate-income students without college degrees will likely encounter a poorer quality of life, marked by inadequate housing, poor health care, food insecurity and the inability to build sustainable futures.
As a society, unless we do more to encourage first generation students to obtain college degrees, we risk becoming a more divided nation: between those who are moving forward, and those left behind.  And our most serious social problems – poverty, racism, violence, substance abuse, and mass incarceration – will grow more intractable.
General Operating Support from the Sharing Fund gave FGCB the flexibility to assure we addressed our most critical needs and gave our Coaches proper administrative and technical support to improve the quality of our services and enhance our mission’s delivery.

—     Joseph Fisher, Executive Director, First Generation College Bound

In 2016-2017, First Generation College Bound served 1,210 students across three programs: the Homework Club (27 students), College Access (223 students), and College Retention (960 students). College Access Coaches conducted a workshop series that educated high school seniors on the importance of taking the SAT, the financial aid system, the college admissions process, and how to successfully transition to college. A record number of students in the program – 98% of the 223 participants – matriculated to college.

The Community Foundation is happy to announce the next grant round for the Sharing funds is opening on June 4, 2018. To stay updated on our grant availability, visit our nonprofit page or join our mailing list.