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Robin Hood Announces its first $3.85 Million in Grants From $25 Million Learning + Technology Fund

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - September 13, 2017) - Thanks to the support of the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund, 2,500 students and their teachers are heading into a new school year ready to model how technology can elevate learning across our schools.

Established in 2015 by Robin Hood, the Overdeck Family Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment with a donation of $25 million, the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund aims to unlock the potential of technology to transform learning and advance achievement for low-income students in New York City.

"A quality education is one of the most important factors in breaking the cycle of poverty," said Wes Moore, Robin Hood's CEO. "In today's digitally-driven world, that quality education must involve innovative solutions that leverage the role of technology. The Fund partners directly with school leaders and educators who are on the front lines of this fight to identify solutions for the modern era and bring them to children in communities across the city."

Over the next five years, the Fund will partner with high-poverty schools across New York City to build whole-school demonstration sites for two potentially powerful learning strategies:

  • Blended Literacy: Combining the advantages of a personalized and blended approach with content-rich literacy instruction across subject areas
  • Integrated Computational Thinking: Embedding computing education and computational thinking across the K-5 curriculum

"An achievement gap in reading and writing has held back poor New Yorkers for decades. We believe that a content-rich, blended strategy holds great promise to allow kids to achieve their potential," said John Overdeck, Co-Chair of the fund.

"It is imperative that we move beyond the view of technology as just a tool to prepare students for a technical job," said David Siegel, Co-Chair of the Fund. "Our integrated computational thinking strategy is an opportunity to demonstrate the power of technology to teach our students a new type of literacy and personal expression that prepares them to be thinkers and producers in our global knowledge economy."

The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund's first three grants, serving students in 24 schools in 2017-18, reflect the mission of fund in their support of:

  • Computer Science for All (CS4All): $2.5M over five years to extend public investment of CS4All to up to 40 New York City Department of Education elementary schools
  • Achievement First: $750,000 to replicate the Greenfield model -- an innovative new approach to learning that incorporates blended literacy -- at its new Aspire Middle School in Brooklyn
  • Education Development Center: Up to $600,000 for deep qualitative and quantitative research over three years in five elementary schools integrating computational thinking schoolwide

"Technology has transformed our society, but it has yet to achieve its full potential across the education system," said Amber Oliver, the new Director of the Fund. "The Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund presents a unique opportunity to collaborate with visionary school leaders, educators, and organizations to reframe how we think about technology in our schools not as an end in itself, but as a tool to spark and deepen learning. Our first three grants put us on the path to achieving this mission."

The Fund is guided by an advisory board that includes:

  • John Overdeck, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder, Two Sigma Investments, LLC and co-chair of Advisory Board
  • David Siegel, Co-Chairman and Co-Founder, Two Sigma Investments, LLC and co-chair of Advisory Board
  • Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, Founder, SV2 Stanford Center on Philanthropy
  • Michael Horn, Chief Strategy Officer, Entangled Solutions
  • Dan Huttenlocher, Dean and Vice Provost, Cornell Tech
  • David Saltzman, Former Executive Director and Chair of Education Committee, Robin Hood

About the Robin Hood Learning + Technology Fund
Established in 2015 by Robin Hood, the Overdeck Family Foundation, and Siegel Family Endowment with an investment of $25 million, the Learning + Technology Fund aims to unlock the potential of technology to transform learning and advance achievement for low-income students in New York City.

About Robin Hood
Robin Hood, New York's largest poverty-fighting organization, finds, funds and creates over 200 of the most effective programs, to help 1.8 million New Yorkers learn and earn their way out of poverty. Because our board of directors underwrites all operating costs, 100% of your donation goes directly to organizations helping New Yorkers in need. Facebook: Twitter: @robinhoodnyc

About Overdeck Family Foundation
Overdeck Family Foundation's mission is to help all kids achieve their greatest academic potential. We aim to support change in the field to create the next generation of engaged, passionate, creative thinkers. We bring our data and partnership oriented mindset to education challenges by developing creative solutions with our partners: building proof points, shining spotlights on what works, and scaling successes broadly. We recognize the complexity of the issues we explore and invest in, and believe in the power of collaboration to bring innovative solutions to persistent challenges.

About Siegel Family Endowment
Siegel Family Endowment is a private family foundation focused on understanding and shaping learning in our technology-driven world. SFE supports people who do work at the intersection of technology, education, and career-readiness, and we champion organizations whose work contributes to making a world that's prepared for rapid digital transformation.

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Victoria Grantham
Robin Hood

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