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An Investment with 3x Returns

May 1, 2024
Four people in suits pose in an elegant hallway next to the US flag.

President and CEO Simeon Banister recently discussed summer learning — a key strategy in the Biden-Harris Improving Student Achievement Agenda — at the White House alongside representatives from Rochester City School District and the City of Rochester. 

Spending on summer and after-school programming is one of the best investments we can make for our community. According to a report from the Afterschool Alliance, every dollar invested in out-of-school time programs saves at least three. These programs inspire an interest in learning beyond the school day, provide physical activity and emotional safety, and offer working parents peace of mind. 

One study highlighted in the Biden-Harris agenda found that when students consistently participate in high-quality after-school enrichment programs, it adds about four months of student learning to the academic year.

Young kids do a technology activity with wires and circuits.
Students doing a STEM activity in a GRASA partners program

Making sure these enriching experiences are available to all youth requires a well-funded landscape of high-quality programs, staff with the best available training in education and play, reliable transportation, and nutritious meals to fuel growing minds. It takes intentional efforts to tackle inequities based on where children live and their race, ethnicity, and gender. 

Partnering for Impact

The Greater Rochester Afterschool and Summer Alliance (GRASA), an initiative of the Community Foundation, facilitates the Out-of-School Time Funders Group consisting of local private and public funders who support summer programs in Monroe County. This year, the collaborative is investing $1.2 million in summer programs. But that won’t be enough to meet the need for programs and slots. In Monroe County alone, there is a persistent gap of $1 million dollars or more every year for summer programs and transportation.  

As an advocate for out-of-school time staff and families, GRASA will be launching innovative pilot programs this summer. One such program will equip classrooms with state-of-the-art math software that personalizes the learning experience. Research shows how efforts like these can close academic achievement and opportunity gaps during crucial summer months. 

How You Can Help

The Community Foundation is working to raise $30,000 to fully fund three key programs and serve more youth this summer. Every dollar helps. Please spread the word and consider an online donation.

Did You Know?

More data from the Afterschool Alliance makes a compelling case for funding out-of-school time programs.

“Afterschool programs are important to me because they help me with homework, they give me healthy food, they help me with having fun, they help me learn new things, and they take me on fun field trips.”

– Michael, age 12

Visit the GRASA website to learn more about what we’re doing to help youth thrive in school and in life.

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