With current momentum around afterschool and summer learning programs, we are at a unique time for education investors to maximize their reach in a sustainable way. I believe leaders can best leverage contributions by investing in strong infrastructure, incentivizing partnership development and supporting ways to research and evaluate programs.

Every funder wants their dollars to go as far as possible in order to reach the maximum number of kids for significant outcomes. When it comes to maximizing impact and reach, few strategies have been as successful as afterschool and summer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs.

In fact, the U.S. Department of Education and education stakeholders have formally recognized the powerful effect informal learning has had on Covid learning recovery with the announcement of Engage Every Student, a call to action for every child regardless of race, income or gender to have access to high-quality learning beyond the classroom, particularly using American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds to support afterschool and summer learning. This initiative and overall political climate have shepherded a period of unparalleled investment in and momentum behind learning beyond the classroom.

With an influx of ARP funds funneling in to meet tangible program needs (staff, supplies, etc.) and implementation, there’s a critical demand to invest in strengthening infrastructure to ensure the impact continues long after the federal dollars run out. Two important areas with gaps in funding right now are partnership building and research and evaluation. I think more investors should target incentives in these areas to create a sustainable impact. Here’s how:

  • Incentivize Partnerships
  • Support Research And Evaluation
  • Capitalizing On Momentum

Read the full article about investing in education evaluation by Ron Ottinger at Forbes.