The Community Foundation launches program to overcome summer learning loss for students within Madison County

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - The Community Foundation of Huntsville/Madison county hopes the money in its Community Catalyst Fund keeps growing so they can continue awarding grants to local agencies.

"The intent is that this endowment will be used for making grants to support the quality of life in the community in perpetuity," President and CEO Stuart Obermann said. "It's a permanent fund, anybody can contribute to it. As this endowment grows, that will give the Community Foundation the capability of making increasing sizes and numbers of grants to support nonprofit activities throughout the city. That can be anything from education like the SAIL Program, economic development, environmental, health and human services, basic needs."

Along with the Schools Foundation, the Community Foundation is launching a new effort to combat summer learning loss. It's called the SAIL Program which stands for summer adventures in learning. It's goal is to overcome summer learning loss in each of the school districts in Madison County.

"Anytime that students have extra time on course material,extra time learning in a fun environment because that is the point of summer and the SAIL program, they're going to be better prepared walking into the school year in August," Elizabeth Fleming of the Schools Foundation said.

The Summer Learning Association says that every summer, many students lose two to three months in reading and two months of math skills. The foundations will offer SAIL in three sites which will serve Huntsville City, Madison City and Madison County students.

"They have all agreed to follow a quality assurance framework," Fleming said. "This quality assurance framework is what guarantees the program sites have a road map ahead of them, but also keeps the accountability measures in place."

This criteria doesn't just assist students but also helps bring in more donations for grants.

"Funders are starting to look for measurable outcomes," Obermann said. "They want to see impact in the community, so that's one of the criteria that funders place very highly when they are evaluating where are they going to make their grants."

The Schools Foundation and the Community Foundation are partnering to provide backbone support for this collective impact project. For more information visit www.communityfoundationhsv.org.