Advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need

Linguistic Competence and Global Citizenship Emphasized in Innovation Fund Awards to Benefit At-Risk Youth



LANSDOWNE, VA -- An increasingly interdependent world economy, recent international events, and national security concerns bring home the importance of foreign language and international study programs in the United States. Unfortunately, such programs are not widely available to America's top working-class students.

Today, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is awarding seven grants totaling more than $1 million to fund programs supporting international study and language immersion for high-achieving, low-income high-school students across the United States. These at-risk "strivers" will participate in international study programs in fields as varied as technology, health care, fine art, music, and geography as well as in language programs ranging from Chinese to Spanish to Arabic.

"Despite the recognized importance of international study programs to the development of linguistic competence and global and cultural awareness, opportunities for these students to study abroad are extremely limited," stated Dr. Matthew J. Quinn, the Foundation's executive director. "By providing these high-achieving, low-income students with access to language immersion and international study programs, we will foster the development of the core skills -- global awareness, cultural sensitivity, and proficiency in a foreign language -- they will need to fulfill their potential and to succeed as leaders in an increasingly complex world."

Each year the Foundation's Innovation Fund provides one-time grants to programs in a particular field about which the Foundation seeks to gain information that informs its scholarship program planning and operations. This year the Foundation selected grant recipients that hold special promise as model foreign study programs for high-achieving high-school students with financial need. A call for proposals drew nearly 100 applications from non-profit organizations in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Serving students from across the United States, the recipients are among America's most innovative and successful programs in international study and language immersion.

The seven recipients are:

  • Asia Society (New York, NY): Founded in 1956, Asia Society is the leading global organization working to strengthen relationships and promote understanding among the people, leaders, and institutions of Asia and the United States. With the Foundation's support, Asia Society will implement a new summer program that provides a three-week international educational experience in China for 24 students and four educators over two years, coupled with an in-depth exploration of China open to the 3,200 U.S. students and educators in Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network. Grant: $149,997 over two years.
  • Center for International Education at Washington International School (Washington, D.C.): Founded in 2003, the Center for International Education (CIE) helps public and private schools produce more globally aware students in the Washington, D.C., region by incorporating an international component into their curricula. With the Foundation's support, CIE will expand a piloted program titled LearnServe, which sends teacher-student teams to foreign countries, including China, Ethiopia, and Paraguay for a two-week global studies immersion and service learning experience. The grant will permit 30 high-achieving, low- to moderate-income high-school students to participate in the program. Grant: $150,000 over two years.
  • Center for Talented Youth at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, MD): Founded in 1979, the Center for Talented Youth (CTY) provides high-achieving students with challenging educational opportunities to develop intellect, encourage achievement, and nurture social development. With the Foundation's support, CTY will offer 15 scholarships to students from low- to moderate-income families to participate in each of three new China-related programs: a study-abroad experience in Nanjing, a Mandarin Chinese language immersion program, and an online Chinese language program. CTY will also use Foundation funds to develop curriculum for the new programs. Grant: $197,015 over two years.
  • Concordia Language Villages (Moorhead, MN): Founded in 1961, Concordia Language Villages, a program of Concordia College, is dedicated to preparing young people for responsible citizenship in the global community. With the Foundation's support, Concordia Language Villages will serve 50-to-75 high-achieving, low-income high-school students in summer language and cultural immersion programs. Students will study Arabic, Chinese, Korean, or Russian during their four-week session and will receive one full year of high school credit. Grant: $150,000 over two years.
  • Friends of Woodstock School (Mukilteo, WA): Founded in 1972, the Friends of Woodstock School raises funds and sponsors programs for the benefit of the Woodstock School, a highly regarded, 150-year-old residential elementary and secondary school in North India. With the Foundation's support, the Friends of Woodstock School will expand its Studies Abroad for Global Education (SAGE) Program by creating a scholarship fund that will initially allow 15 high-achieving, low-income high-school students from the Los Angeles and greater Washington, D.C., areas to attend a three-week summer study program in India. Grant: $148,000 over two years.
  • Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore, MD): Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) educates professional artists and designers. With the Foundation's support, MICA will implement a nationwide scholarship recruitment initiative to support its Pre-College Summer Study Abroad Program in Aix-en-Provence, France. The program will identify 40 low- to moderate-income young artists and enable them to attend MICA's 2007 and 2008 programs. Grant: $150,000 over two years.
  • Youth for Understanding USA, Inc. (Bethesda, MD): Founded in 2002, Youth for Understanding (YFU) USA is a nonprofit educational organization partnered with a worldwide network of interdependent YFU organizations in more than 50 countries. The YFU network has been a premier provider of international student exchange programs since 1951. With the Foundation's support, YFU will offer 23 summer home-stay exchange scholarships over two years through its Face of America Scholarship Program. Scholarship recipients will spend four-to-six weeks immersing themselves in a different culture by interacting with their host families and participating in community activities in one of 13 countries: Brazil, China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, Uruguay, or Venezuela. Grant: $144,210 over two years.


The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is a private, independent foundation established in 2000 by the estate of Jack Kent Cooke to help young people of exceptional promise reach their full potential through education. It focuses in particular on students with financial need. The Foundation's programs include scholarships to undergraduate, graduate, and high-school students and grants to organizations that serve high-achieving students with financial need. 






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