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Great Learning - High School Completion

Grants to Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Organizations for
Programs to Increase High School Graduation Rates

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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William Penn Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/26/19 For requests over $82,500; requests under $82,500 are reviewed on an ongoing basis.


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Grants to Greater Philadelphia, Pennsylvania organizations for programs that encourage area students to complete their high school education. An Inquiry form must be submitted prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support projects that improve high school readiness for middle school students, secure a solid start to high school, guide students with college and career planning, and ensure graduation from high school.

High school completion is a crucial milestone that predicts later success in life, with high school graduates being more likely to be employed, healthy, and contributing members of their communities and societies. The good news is national and local high school graduation rates have been rising, and the Foundation supports work that helps ensure this positive momentum continues. Programs and systems that help students transition into high school, get support as they progress, and prepare for their post-secondary paths help boost the number of high school graduates. To this end, the William Penn Foundation's Great Learning High School Completion program supports projects that help students transition into high school, and assists in the implementation of evidence-based specialized pathways to enable more high school students to graduate ready for post-secondary education and/or employment. This is accomplished in the following ways:

- Efforts to facilitate successful transitions to high school: (1) Improvement of systems to support middle school students’ levels of high school readiness, and (2) Programming to support a strong start in high school.
- Specialized pathways and systems to increase rates of high school completion: (1) Effective dropout prevention practices in high schools, (2) High-quality reengagement programs, with a specific focus on career preparation/readiness, for students who have dropped out, and (3) Coordinated efforts and infrastructure to provide high school students with college/career planning.

Projects should demonstrate one or more of the following outcomes:

- Increased graduation rates.
- Improved readiness for high school.
- Increased clarity about and preparedness for post-secondary activity.

Selection criteria:

- A strong evidence base to support the proposed approach.
- Organizational track record of improving outcomes for students.
- Collaborative approach to working with school and district staff.
- Ability to sustain project’s impacts after the conclusion of the grant period.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 184684

Estimated Size of Grant:

It is Foundation policy not to fund more than 25% of an organization’s operating budget for more than three individual years in any given five-year period. The Foundation may make exceptions on a case-by-case basis under limited circumstances, subject to approval by the board of directors.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The William Penn Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life in the Greater Philadelphia region.

The Foundation typically provides funding for projects rather than general operating support. However, direct costs can include funding for staff, materials, and other organizational costs associated with the project, and applicants are encouraged to include funding to support related indirect costs or overhead in the project budget.

Pre-Application Information:


- Inquiry Due: November 30, 2018
Proposal Due: January 18, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: April 26, 2019

- Inquiry Due: February 23, 2019
Proposal Due: April 5, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: July 19, 2019

- Inquiry Due: June 14, 2019
Proposal Due: July 26, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: November 1, 2019

Application Process:

The Foundation has a two-stage online application process which includes an initial inquiry and an invited full proposal.

- Step 1: Inquiry

Organizations that are new to the Foundation begin by creating an online account as part of the initial Inquiry Form. Three years of audited financial statements are required to be submitted with every Inquiry Form. Additional documentation may be needed. Inquiries are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Once an inquiry is received, organizations are typically notified of next steps within 30 days.

- Step 2: Full Proposal

If an organization is invited to proceed to the second stage of the process and submit a full proposal, the Timeline (found above) is provided as a guide for when materials are due for consideration at a board meeting. Organizations are encouraged to submit their materials by these deadlines. Your program officer will let you know when materials need to be submitted for consideration at a particular board meeting.

Grants at or below $82,500 are not required to be considered at a board meeting, and thus do not follow the deadline schedules above. However all grants are reviewed and approved by Foundation board members. Your program officer can provide more information about the timing and process for these types of requests. They typically follow the same two-step process outlined above.

Application Review: The inquiry and full proposal review process typically requires frequent communication between staff and applicant to answer questions that surface during review.

Please Note: At this time, the link to the Foundation's online Inquiry Form is under construction. In the interim, please email your ideas for funding to the Foundation, or speak with someone on the program staff. If there is further interest from the Foundation, you will receive a direct link to complete the Inquiry Form.

The Foundation will consider multiple applications from an organization, so long as total funding does not exceed the 25% threshold (see Estimated Size of Grant above).

Staff may request updates on previously funded projects as part of a new application. If you are planning to reapply for funding, please talk with your program officer before the final year of your grant to discuss the timing of your next request.

For questions about the application process, please contact the Foundation staff, who will make every effort to respond promptly.

For Information about the Application Process and Review:

For additional information on the Great Learning - High School Completion Program:

About the Foundation:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Elliot Weinbaum, Great Learning Program Director

William Penn Foundation
Two Logan Square, 11th Floor
100 North 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2757
(215) 988-1830

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Greater Philadelphia