Targeted funding will help 7,500 local students pursue high-quality academic programs, college access initiatives, and arts education

Lansdowne, VA — Today the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced that the Clarke County Education Foundation is among the 12 nonprofit organizations from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC that will receive a total of $250,000 from its annual Good Neighbor Grant program. Since 2012, the Foundation has provided 74 Good Neighbor Grants totaling over $1.7 million to 57 local youth-serving organizations. The 2019 Good Neighbor Grant recipients will collectively serve over 7,500 students in a broad variety of programs focused on providing high-quality academic programs, college access initiatives, and arts education.

The Clarke County Education Foundation has been awarded $20,000 to support the launch of its STEM+ Academy and to provide financial assistance for students to participate in Clarke County Public School’s 6th annual STEM+ Summer Camp. With the help from the Good Neighbor Grant, CCEF and CCPS plan to implement a newly devised after school program for 4th and 5th grade students, that will meet weekly for 12 weeks in the fall and 12 weeks in the spring.  This program will be targeted to high ability, low achieving students. In each weekly meeting, a snack will be provided, followed by rigorous and challenging STEM activities, guest speakers, and special field trips.  The Division plans to offer transportation at the conclusion of each meeting, to eliminate this barrier to parents. The program will be coordinated by Debbie Biggs, Division Curriculum Specialist.

“We are thrilled to help begin this new program in Clarke County,” said Beth Williams, Executive Director of the Clarke County Education Foundation.  “We are so thankful to the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation who sees value in Clarke County students and programs and has provided this funding for us to start this new program.”

“Though we have a national focus, the Foundation remains committed to supporting high-ability students in our own backyard,” said Seppy Basili, executive director of the Foundation. “Students who have the potential to achieve at a higher level need opportunities to reach that next level of academic excellence. The Foundation is proud to support high-quality programs in our region through the Good Neighbor Grant program.”

A detailed listing of 2019 Good Neighbor Grant recipients is below. Programs marked with an asterisk(*) represent continued Foundation investment in a program or organization.


American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras* — is awarded $25,000 to support its 2019-2020 Tuition Assistance Program, which enables students from low to moderate-income families to participate in AYPO’s youth orchestras, instrumental ensembles and chamber music programs. AYPO is recognized as one of the nation’s top youth orchestra organizations, providing rigorous, conservatory-quality orchestral training and performance experience for 460 of Northern Virginia’s most gifted young musicians ages 9 to 21.

Clarke County Education Foundation — is awarded $20,000 to support the launch of its STEM+ Academy and to provide financial assistance for students to participate in STEM+ Summer Camp. Clarke County Public Schools (CCPS) is a rural school division in northwest Virginia serving a little  over 1,900 students with approximately 20 percent of whom qualify for free and reduced lunch.

George Mason University Foundation* — is awarded $26,436 to support the Mason Game & Technology Academy’s (MGTA) financial aid program, ensuring the participation of students with financial need in Mason’s rigorous summer advanced technology courses, such as computer science, game design and digital animation. With Foundation funding, the program will recruit talented middle and high school students from the regions closest to its three campus locations, to enroll in its high-level, engaging courses.

Loudoun Education Foundation* — is awarded $10,000 to support additional college visits for students participating in Loudoun County Public Schools’ CAMPUS program – a college outreach initiative to prepare first generation, underrepresented, or low-income students in grades 9-12 for success in college. CAMPUS has proven to be a successful college access model: 97 percent of the 115 seniors from the graduating class of 2018 are enrolled in college as of fall 2018.

Mosby Heritage Area Association — is awarded $10,000 to support the Local History in the Schools program, which helps connect the region’s rich history with in-classroom curriculum, providing context within the communities where students live. Founded in 1995 with the goal of educating about and advocating for the preservation of the historic landscape in the northern Virginia Piedmont and Lower Shenandoah Valley, Mosby Heritage Area Association now offers a variety of programs for elementary, middle, and high school students, serving 5,000 students on average each year.

StoryBook Treasures — is awarded $20,000 to support a reading enrichment program for students in grades K-3 at select schools in Loudoun County. StoryBook Treasures helps nurture the love of reading at a critical time when students are developing reading and comprehension skills. The program provides books and resources to students, trains teachers to create engaging and rigorous literacy experiences, and connects classrooms and homes with literacy support and family engagement.


Collegiate Directions, Inc. — is awarded $21,500 to support the CDI Scholars Program which provides comprehensive college access and success programming to students in Montgomery County who have high financial need. The CDI Scholars Program provides academic tutoring, test prep, college and financial aid guidance, and wraparound supports to students for at least six years (with a new cohort of 50 students selected annually), from the end of sophomore year of high school through college graduation.

Young Artists of America at Strathmore — is awarded $25,000 to support the Reach for the Stars program, which awards scholarships for participation in the Summer Performing Arts Intensives (SPAI) to enable promising young performing artists from low- and moderate-income families to study with top teaching artists. Young Artists of America at Strathmore offers world-class training in a professional and nurturing environment, providing a gateway for students to reach the highest levels of professional success in their chosen field of study.


826DC* — is awarded $20,000 to support the Young Authors’ Book Project, 826DC’s flagship publishing program, a year-long effort that partners students from Washington, DC schools with professional writers to produce an anthology of student work that gives voice to the students’ unique experiences. 826DC’s work to provide students with a hands-on professional experience in writing and publishing has been recognized for its innovative approach and high-impact results.

Building Bridges Across the River — is awarded $25,000 to support the iCAN Technical Theater Internship Program – a unique year-long program which provides talented high school students with an intensive learning experience in their chosen focus area (sound engineering, lighting, video, stage management/arts administration, or scenic design) under the mentorship of highly-respected professional theater technicians. The program also provides college access programming, which includes frequent field trips to colleges to expose students to theater education programs at four-year colleges and universities, as well as an opportunity for program alumni enrolled in college to return and work as professional contractors during summer breaks.

E.L. Haynes Public Charter School — is awarded $31,064 to support the E.L. Haynes Pre-College program which provides transformative, experiential learning and community service opportunities, internships, and academic support to ensure students are fully prepared to succeed in college. The Pre-College program plays a vital role in ensuring that the school’s highest performing students are applying to, enrolling in, and persisting at the college of their choice.

Washington Urban Debate League — is awarded $16,000 to support the program’s expansion to five new schools, providing their high-quality afterschool debate program to 100 additional talented students. The program recruits teacher coaches, provides extensive curricular resources, evidence briefs, professional development and other technical assistance to support the project at each school. Since its establishment four years ago, the program has grown rapidly to serve 500 students across Washington, DC and Prince George’s County.

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The Clarke County Education Foundation (CCEF), a non-profit organization with a current board of 14 members and a part-time executive director, is dedicated to providing private support to the Clarke County Public Schools (CCPS) to enhance its tax-supported programs.  Founded in 1991, the CCEF has provided more than $2.5 million in student scholarships, teacher grants, system demonstration grants, and donor-defined projects through a combination of fund-raising and endowment income since its inception.

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.


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