BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life)

BELL provides intensive academic and enrichment support to young “scholars” (grades K–8) most at risk of failing in elementary or middle school. Its summer program combats summer learning loss among low-income students.

The organization's programs feature rigorous, research-based curricula aligned with state and national learning standards; small-group instruction in literacy and math; mentoring; a wide range of enrichment courses such as science, entrepreneurship, health, and leadership development; community service; and parental engagement.

BELL provides each scholar with individualized support in small classroom settings with a student-to-instructor ratio no greater than 10 to one. Programs are delivered in conjunction with community partners, mainly schools and school districts, during the summer and, on an afterschool basis, during the school year.

2014 Highlights

  • BELL received additional EMCF and True North Fund grants to increase the number of youth it serves, refine its middle school programs, and advance its partnership with the Y-USA. 
  • It expanded its Power Scholars Academy partnership with the Y-USA to provide summer programming for nearly 1,200 scholars in conjunction with local Y affiliates, introducing new sites in Denver, St. Paul, MN, San Antonio, Clearwater, FL, Montgomery, AL and Washington DC.

  • It launched a new operating region, BELL’s sixth, in Ohio and began serving scholars in Dayton. A multi-year partnership with two school districts is in place there to sustain services.
  • Leveraging what it learned from the recent randomized controlled trial evaluation of its summer program for middle school students, BELL is testing several refinements of the model and receiving guidance from a Middle School Advisory Council of nine experts and practitioners in the field.

Youth Served

Revenue (in millions)


Months gained in literacy (summer program)


Months gained in math (summer program)
Note: Outcomes were modified in 2013 due to a shift in testing methods.
  • Legend:
  • Actual
  • Projected