Foundation Awards $1.1 Million in Grants to Promote College Access and Academic Enrichment

Students participate in an event hosted by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. The Coalition is a 2017 recipient of the College Access and Success Grants.

Jack Kent Cooke Foundation awards grants to innovative programs working to close excellence gaps

Lansdowne, VA – The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced today the award of $1.1 million in grants to six programs focused on closing excellence gaps. These Academic Enrichment and College Access and Success Grants extend the Foundation’s commitment to preparing high-achieving students with financial need to succeed at the nation’s top colleges and universities.

“These organizations support exceptional students with tremendous ability and limited resources to advance their educational goals,” said Seppy Basili, the Foundation’s executive director. “These grantees provide a proven framework of programming to help close these excellence gaps and enable students to reach their fullest potential.”

Foundation research demonstrates that high-achieving high school students with financial need are less likely than their higher-income peers to continue performing in the top academic quartile. These excellence gaps persist and, in many cases, widen as students continue through their K-12 years.

This year’s grantees include:

Loudoun County Public Schools Edge Academy – $200,000 Academic Enrichment Grant
Edge Academy engages high-achieving students in an intensive exploration of STEM content with the goals of developing them into thinkers, communicators, creators, and contributors, and preparing them to enroll and succeed in honors level courses in middle and high school. The Foundation provided seed funding through a 2017 Good Neighbor Grant to pilot Edge Academy; current funding will support the expansion of Edge Academy to additional elementary schools, tripling the number of participating students over the next two years.

High Jump – $100,000 Academic Enrichment Grant
Through rigorous coursework, intensive summer instruction, and leadership development, High Jump ensures that high-achieving 7th and 8th grade students in Chicago are strong candidates for and are prepared to thrive in rigorous college prep high schools and top post-secondary institutions. Funding will support all key program areas related to direct student services.

Base 11 – $200,000 College Access & Success Grant
Base 11 uses a STEM Accelerator model to connect students with skills, tools and knowledge to transform them into STEM industry professionals. The grant will support summer fellowships and academic-year internships for high-achieving community college students to receive guidance and mentorship from professors and graduate students at leading research universities and to gain real-world experience in a STEM field.

SCS Noonan Scholars – $200,000 College Access & Success Grant
SCS Noonan Scholars provides targeted admissions counseling, academic preparation, and college and career support for high-achieving students from their junior year of high school, through college graduation, and into their first job. The six-year program provides a continuum of support that directly addresses the unique barriers high-achieving students with financial need face in enrolling in and thriving at selective institutions. The grant will support bridge scholarships to reduce students’ financial burden and ensure they start strong in their transition to college.

Steppingstone Scholars – $200,000 College Access & Success Grant
Steppingstone Scholars supports more than 400 of Philadelphia’s highest achieving students and their families from 5th grade through college by providing targeted academic enrichment, guidance for application and admission to top middle and high schools, and college and career choice exploration. Funding will support the expansion of Steppingstone’s work preparing students to pursue honors and advanced placement course trajectory at their schools.

TEAK Fellowship – $200,000 College Access & Success Grant
The TEAK Fellowship provides transformative education experiences to exceptional New York City middle school students beginning in the 6th grade and continuing for an entire decade, helping them thrive at the nation’s most academically rigorous high schools and post-secondary institutions. Funding will support program expansion to serve additional students.

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The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation is dedicated to advancing the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. Since 2000, the Foundation has awarded $190 million in scholarships to nearly 2,500 students from 8th grade through graduate school, along with comprehensive counseling and other support services. The Foundation has also provided over $100 million in grants to organizations that serve such students.

Media Contact: Amber Styles, 571-442-0772,


Photo header: Students participate in an event hosted by the Coalition for Access, Affordability, and Success. The Coalition is a 2017 recipient of the College Access and Success Grants.