2013 Annual Report

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation seeks to transform the lives of greater numbers of America's vulnerable and economically disadvantaged young people

Letter from the President

Welcome to the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s second online annual report.

Annual reports are by their very nature full of numbers and dollar signs, but figures alone cannot capture the transformative impact our extraordinary grantees are making on individual lives. So this year we are expanding our report to include videos and stories that illustrate how disadvantaged young people, with our grantees’ support, are beating the odds and becoming successful adults. I hope these stories engage and inspire you as they do us.

I am also pleased to report that, in Fiscal Year 2013, EMCF’s grantees continued to perform well despite a challenging economy. In aggregate, the 18 organizations in which we have already been investing increased both the number of youth they served and the revenues they recorded by nine percent, and we welcomed three new grantees to our portfolio. Also in this report, Lissette Rodriguez, Managing Director of PropelNext, shares news about the major strides this exciting EMCF initiative made during the year.

Rounding Out the True North Fund

In 2013, EMCF completed an open, national competition to select three to five youth-serving nonprofits for Social Innovation Fund (SIF) awards and round out our True North Fund. Over 400 organizations expressed interest, and 191 submitted applications. After advancing ten top candidates to due diligence, we made investments in three— ongoing EMCF grantee PACE Center for Girls and newcomers Youth Guidance and WINGS for kids. PACE and Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man program help youth who have been in or are at risk of entering the juvenile justice system, while WINGS provides a social and emotional learning program in elementary schools and is expanding to rural South Carolina, a geography that is a priority for EMCF in our role as a SIF intermediary.

Adding these three nonprofits to our nine original SIF grantees fulfills our commitment to select and support a portfolio of 12-14 organizations through a public/private venture aimed at scaling evidence-based programs. The success to date of the SIF and its potential for the future are borne out by the performance of our nine initial grantees; as of June 2013, these organizations surpassed their projections and served an additional 83,138 youth over the first two years while expanding in 23 states. We continue to be grateful for the opportunity to partner with the federal government and with 14 philanthropic co-investors in the True North Fund.

Growth Capital Aggregation

EMCF continues to support the grantees for which we have aggregated growth capital individually (as distinct from the portfolio approach we adopted in the True North Fund). These organizations made significant gains in 2013. For example, Youth Villages, in addition to raising $45 million from seven foundations (including EMCF) in a second round of growth capital aggregation, secured a four-year commitment from the state of Tennessee to help expand the Transitional Living program and serve every foster child turning 18 and aging out of state custody. This expansion makes Tennessee the first state to provide comprehensive services to every 18-year-old transitioning out of state custody.

Harlem Children’s Zone opened its second Promise Academy Charter School in the St. Nicholas public housing project. Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) continued to leverage federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program funding to increase the number of young mothers it served by more than 13 percent. NFP also launched an initiative to develop strategies for penetrating states more deeply and creating cost efficiencies.

Transitions at the Top

Grantees also faced their share of challenges. One of the greatest was bringing in new leadership to continue to produce exceptional outcomes for youth— and do an even better job in the future. In 2013 and so far in 2014, more than a third of our portfolio has undergone leadership transitions:

  • In February 2014, Geoff Canada announced he was stepping down as CEO of Harlem Children’s Zone, and that COO Anne Williams-Isom would succeed him. This transition, carefully planned and in the works for years, is critical to fulfilling HCZ’s promise to the children of Harlem and is an opportunity to demonstrate how a committed board and co-investors can successfully help a high-performing nonprofit advance to a new generation of leadership.
  • Nurse-Family Partnership named Roxane White, chief of staff to Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, the successor to retiring CEO Tom Jenkins.
  • Center for Employment Opportunities’ Sam Schaeffer, who served as national director for five years, was appointed Executive Director. He succeeds Mindy Tarlow, who joined New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration as Director of the Office of Operations.
  • In January 2014, Children’s Home Society of North Carolina President Ken Tutterow died unexpectedly. Brian Maness, VP of Strategy and Development, was appointed his successor in March.
  • At the Children’s Aid Society, which houses the Carrera Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program, Phoebe Boyer was named president and CEO, following Mayor de Blasio’s appointment of Richard Buery, Jr. as a Deputy Mayor. Prior to her appointment, Boyer served as executive director of the Robertson and Tiger foundations.
  • Founder Eric Schwarz announced plans to step down as CEO of Citizen Schools; Steven Rothstein, previously president of the Perkins School for the Blind and co-founder and general manager of Citizens Energy Corporation, is set to succeed Schwarz.
  • Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection hired Augustin Melendez, veteran of Eastman Kodak Company, as its new president.
  • At the National Guard Youth Foundation, which supports the National Guard Youth ChalleNGe Program, Lou Cabrera, previously the Comptroller for the National Guard Bureau, replaced the retiring Jim Tinkham as Executive Director.

While transitions are never easy, we are firm in our belief that the quality and vision of an organization’s leader is a critical factor in its success, so we provide assistance in – and continually encourage our grantees to pursue  efforts that strengthen leadership, such as executive coaching, recruiting and retaining talent, and succession planning. We are confident our grantees will manage their leadership transitions successfully and we look forward to reporting on their progress in future reports.

In the meantime we welcome, as always, your comments and suggestions.  

Nancy Roob
July 2014