— Dropout Prevention Program Secures $3M Investment from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to Implement Its Strategic Growth Plan —

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (January 19, 2012) – Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC), a Hillside Family of Agencies affiliate, announces its second multi-year investment from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. The grant will help the program to implement the second phase of its comprehensive strategic plan to expand its impact on high school graduation rates and improve student outcomes for at-risk youth in high-need school districts across New York State.

Partnership History

HW-SC’s evidence-based model and 25-year track record of consistently improving high school graduation rates for at-risk youth first garnered the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s attention in 2006 as a promising model for growth and replication. Operating at the time in Rochester and Syracuse at a relatively modest scale, HW-SC and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation worked collaboratively to develop a comprehensive business plan to help refine key elements of the program’s model and to pursue a replication strategy that included expansion outside of New York State into Prince George’s County, M.D.

Today, HW-SC has achieved key milestones identified in its initial business plan including:

  • Ability to grow to scale across an entire school district to help greater numbers of youth at-risk of dropping out:
    • Built district-wide presence across all secondary schools within the Rochester City School District (serves 2,500 students annually) while maintaining performance.
    • In 2010, 64 percent of HW-SC participants graduated on-time as compared to Rochester City School District’s on-time graduation rate of 51 percent. HW-SC’s five-year graduation rate was even higher, at 69 percent.
  • Leverage private investment support to develop a sustainable public-private funding model:
    • Achieved total alignment with Syracuse City School District’s school improvement plans, crafting a multi-year engagement agreement with the district resulting in a joint capacity-building effort to meet the needs of nearly 1,000 at-risk youth in 2011-2012 (program grew from less than 100 students in 2008).
  • Replicate HW-SC’s model in a new environment outside of New York State:
    • Forged new partnerships in Prince George’s County, MD, successfully replicating the program’s core services framework and adapting its model to meet the regional needs of a new community in a non- urban school district.
    • Today, HW-SC operates its program in five school sites across the Prince George’s County Public School District and has just recently secured multi-year funding from the district to help support its operations.
  • Apply data to improve program outcomes and optimize the delivery of services:
    • Developed sophisticated data tracking system and redefined processes for verifying student data to ensure accuracy in the program’s evaluation and to provide real-time content to help inform and improve student student performance.
    • Targeted key elements of HW-SC’s core model to enhance replication across different communities while ensuring program fidelity and efficacy.

New Investment

With these elements now complete and with the support of a second investment by the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, HW-SC has entered its second phase of growth to build its capacity and extend deeper in New York State. HW-SC will also ready the program for potential widespread replication across the country as a best practices model for dropout prevention, youth workforce development and college readiness for at-risk youth.

“We are thrilled to receive recognition from the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation once again for our work in combating high school dropout,” said Dennis Richardson, CEO of Hillside Family of Agencies. “HW-SC is among the very few organizations that have received renewed funding from the Foundation – a true testament to our organization’s positive impact in the community. We are proud to have been awarded a substantial multi-year grant that will allow our innovative program to continue to become a leading provider of wraparound services for youth at risk of failing to graduate”

In part with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation’s $3 million investment, over the next three years HW-SC will further develop its strategic operations to support the following initiatives:

  • Development of HW-SC’s financial sustainability plan for all markets. Key targets include creating successful public-private partnership funding models to support the expansion of HW- SC services in under-performing schools and deepen the program’s strategic partnerships with its school district partners to optimize the program’s effectiveness across school sites.
  • Continued commitment to program evaluation and efficacy. HW-SC seeks to attain the highest level of evaluation to ensure consistent, measurable results for its program participants and will continue to incorporate research and evaluation into its practices in order to validate the program’s outcomes and its long-term impact on the lives of program participants.

“Based on HW-SC’s past accomplishments and its commitment to ongoing improvements, we believe the organization will continue to carry out its mission of improving the lives of the young people,” said Woodrow “Woody” McCutchen, vice president and senior portfolio manager at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. “We are pleased to support the organization’s efforts to expand its footprint in New York State and Maryland, and test a well-thought-out, school district-centered funding model to further drive growth and sustainability.”

With the recent addition of Buffalo Public Schools (March 2011), HW-SC is on-track to meeting its growth targets, including expanding to two new sites across New York State by 2014, as well as an additional out-of-state replication site. HW-SC’s partnership with the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is another step forward to ensure that HW-SC can continue to serve as an invaluable resource for its school partners, students and their families in providing a positive pathway to graduation, college and career.

Edna McConnell Clark Foundation

The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is a leading national organization that focuses on advancing opportunities for low-income youth in the United States. The Foundation believes that making significant and long-term investments in non-profit organizations — with proven outcomes and growth potential — is one of the most efficient and effective ways to meet the urgent needs of low-income young people. The Foundation provides growth and capacity-building capital to exemplary organizations that have evidence of the effectiveness of their youth services. The Foundation’s aim is to help develop and expand a pool of organizations that can serve thousands more low-income youth each year with proven and measurable programs.

Since 2006, the Foundation has invested $4.25 million in HW-SC to help develop and implement its business plans.

Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection

Founded in 1987, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection is an affiliate of Hillside Family of Agencies. The program serves nearly 4,000 youth at-risk of dropping out of school in Rochester, N.Y., Syracuse, N.Y., Buffalo N.Y., and in Prince George’s County, M.D. Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection’s youth development model is comprehensive and unique-combining long-term mentoring with job training, part-time work experience and year-round academic support.

Hillside Family of Agencies

Hillside Family of Agencies is a youth and family services organization that provides child welfare, mental health, youth development, juvenile justice, special education, and developmental disabilities services across central and western New York and in Prince George’s County, M.D. Hillside Family of Agencies is comprised of affiliates Crestwood Children’s Center, Crestwood Children’s Foundation, Hillside Children’s Center, Hillside Children’s Foundation, Hillside Shared Services, Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection, and Snell Farm Children’s Center.

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