City Year received a major investment in its work to expand educational equity and nurture the next generation of civically engaged leaders—a $21 million gift over five years from Ballmer Group, co-founded by Connie and Steve Ballmer.
The investment comes as part of Ballmer Group’s renewed commitment to organizations across the country striving to improve economic mobility in wide-ranging impact areas, including K-12 education.
“City Year is honored to receive Ballmer Group’s continued support,” said City Year CEO Jim Balfanz. City Year’s work in schools focuses on providing holistic support to students who are furthest from opportunity at hundreds of our nation’s most systemically under-resourced schools.
“We are enormously grateful for Ballmer Group’s investment, which will enable us to execute our strategic plan for increased impact across the country,” said Balfanz, a 1994 City Year alumnus. “This includes advancing our fast-growing teacher pathways work, building upon our equity-focused research and learning agenda, which is helping to inform policy shifts and best practices, and expanding and helping others replicate our evidence-based student success coach model in more schools.”
Ballmer Group’s investments “reflect the incredible accomplishments and progress made by our grantees,” said Connie Ballmer, co-founder of Ballmer Group Philanthropy, in Ballmer Group’s announcement. She added that the investments also “represent Ballmer Group’s commitment to long-term partnerships, to flexible funding, and to trust in our grantees.”
In addition to a five-year, $20 million investment in City Year’s general operations, this gift will dedicate another $1 million to further support students’ recovery from the impacts of the pandemic. City Year will use this funding to invest immediately in the National Partnership for Student Success (NPSS), which City Year collaborated to establish with cross-sector partners.
This investment will provide critical capacity for the NPSS Hub and support City Year’s work to replicate its student success coach model beyond the organization’s footprint. The NPSS Hub, housed at Johns Hopkins University’s Everyone Graduates Center, will organize technical assistance efforts and foster collaboration among federal agencies, leading youth serving organizations, school districts, and local providers of evidence-based student supports including tutors, mentors, student success coaches, wraparound support providers, and post-secondary transition coaches.
Ballmer Group also generously supports three City Year sites that align with the organization’s regional presence —City Year Detroit, City Year Seattle, and City Year Los Angeles—and champions the importance of AmeriCorps as a civic rite of passage and leadership opportunity for young adults through their investment in Voices for National Service.
“The Ballmers’ commitment to expanding opportunity so all students can thrive and their steadfast belief in the power of national service to benefit both communities and AmeriCorps members themselves have been transformative,” said City Year Chief External Engagement, Policy, and International Officer AnnMaura Connolly, who also serves as president of Voices for National Service.
“Without this kind of leadership and support, our country would be far less equipped to tackle the challenges and maximize the opportunities before us right now,” said City Year Board of Trustees Chair George Nichols III. “This includes ensuring that more students have access to the welcoming learning environments and positive relationships with caring adults that research shows they need to succeed in school and in life.”
City Year helps students and schools succeed, while preparing the next generation of civically engaged leaders who can work across lines of difference. Diverse teams of City Year AmeriCorps members, who serve as student success coaches, provide holistic support to students, classrooms and the whole school.
A 2020 study shows that the more time students spend with AmeriCorps members, the more they improve on academic, social and emotional skills—skills that help students thrive in school and contribute to their community. A proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network, City Year is supported by AmeriCorps, local school districts, and private philanthropy. City Year partners with public schools in 29 U.S. communities and through international affiliates in the U.K. and South Africa.