The Webber Family Foundation offers grants to organizations that are aligned with its mission of helping lower-income youth perform at the highest levels of achievement in academics and the arts. Currently there are three areas of focus:
- School readiness/early literacy
- Out-of-school time programs for grades 6-12
- Charter schools
Each is discussed below in more detail. The report: Achievement Trap: How America is Failing Millions of High-Achieving Students from Lower-Income Families published by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in September 2007 may be useful in better understanding the Foundation’s areas of focus.
School readiness/early literacy
The objective of this initiative is to increase the number of lower-income students who enter Kindergarten as high-achievers (at or above grade-level norms). Grants will fund preschool programs that provide structured, school- or center-based education for children ages 3-5, with a focus on early literacy and parent engagement.
Out-of-school time programs for grades 6-12
The objectives of this initiative are to increase the number of lower-income students who 1) enter high school as high-achievers; 2) are prepared for and enroll in selective colleges; and 3) develop artistic skills and talents without regard to financial barriers. Grants will fund long-term, intensive programs that serve lower-income students in grades 6-12 who are exceeding grade-level norms. Specific interests include:
- Enrichment programs that help students fulfill their potential through academics and/or the arts. This initiative does not include development of leadership and/or social skills, mentoring (except in the context of academics or the arts), nor remedial programs to help struggling students achieve grade-level expectations. In the arts, grants will fund programs that allow students to study music, dance, visual arts, and/or theater in depth. Artistic skill development – not exposure – is the goal.
- College preparation and guidance programs that encourage high-achieving, lower-income students to attend selective colleges.
The objective of this initiative is to expand the capacity of outstanding charter schools that serve predominantly lower-income students. Grants will fund schools serving grades 6-12 that produce exceptionally well-prepared graduates.