nited Way for Southeastern Michigan and Ballmer Group Philanthropy recently introduced “Summer Discovery”. This innovative learning initiative is set to empower schools and students in Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties by providing essential funding and support for instruction and enrichment activities tailored to qualifying K-8 students during the upcoming summer. United Way for Southeastern Michigan will offer the program to students and families at no cost.
“Ballmer Group is proud to invest in summer learning and exploration for students in Southeast Michigan,” said Steve Ballmer, Co-Founder of Ballmer Group and Detroit native. “We know the importance of summer in maintaining students’ progress and providing enrichment. We’re supporting schools to offer opportunities to kids in Southeast Michigan who wouldn’t have the same chances as kids in other parts of Michigan. The importance of access to opportunity cannot be overstated.”
According to a recent survey conducted by United Way for Southeastern Michigan, 76% of parents and 82% of community leaders agree that there are not enough summer enrichment programs for students in the region, and 68% of parents cite transportation and cost as barriers to enrolling their children in the limited programs that are available.
“This investment in summer programming fills a long-standing gap in equal access to providing all children, regardless of zip code, with a safe learning environment over the summer,” said Dr. Nikolai Vitti, Superintendent of Detroit Public Schools Community District. “DPSCD is grateful for this meaningful, thoughtful, and strategic investment in our Detroit families, students, and community.”
Summer Discovery is a regional effort designed for students and families in Southeast Michigan, where many students need more access to learning and activity opportunities during the summer break. The program will offer enrichment activities that increase exposure and interest in careers, engage families, and provide fun learning experiences.
“We are thrilled to launch Summer Discovery with these amazing partners. Together, we’re working to ensure that students in Southeastern Michigan have access to high-quality summer learning opportunities,” said Dr. Darienne Hudson, president and CEO of United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “These proven, effective, and engaging enrichment activities will help students maintain and grow their learning after the school year ends. Summer Discovery will prevent learning loss, close opportunity gaps, and foster a love of learning and a sense of belonging among our students.”
Ballmer Group has engaged Building Impact Partners and United Way for Southeastern Michigan to develop this program. Building Impact Partners (BI), a philanthropic advising organization that has successfully implemented and managed similar programs in New York and Indiana, is leading the project. BI comes to this work with deep roots in supporting philanthropic partners through launching high-impact grantmaking initiatives and will provide project management and support for applicants throughout the process.
Interested schools are invited to apply now through March 1. Schools across Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties may apply as a Summer Discovery site. All sites will have access to a math and English/language arts curriculum created by Lavinia Group that is aligned with Michigan state standards, teacher training, and other resources to successfully administer the program if the Lavinia curriculum is selected.
Grantees have the flexibility to create programs that resonate with the needs and interests of their students, teachers, and families. Sites that use the Lavinia RISE curriculum are eligible for teacher training resources. The grants, up to $2,000 per student, can be used to introduce or enhance existing programs or reduce barriers such as transportation.
These guidelines are designed to ensure that each program funded by Summer Discovery enhances academic skills, fosters a love of learning, nurtures student interests, and provides a comprehensive summer experience that benefits both students and their families.
Interested schools can visit https://www.summerdiscoverymi.org/ for more details or to apply for this grant. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2024. Questions about the application or the Summer Discovery program can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.