Grants Awarded

The Foundation is currently focused on the development and evaluation of programs that are consistent with a strength-based approach and show promise of being feasible, effective and sustainable.

Please note that the Foundation used to accept proposals for multi-year projects that included both development and evaluation work in one grant. The Foundation now accepts two distinct kinds of proposals: 1) New Program Development, and 2) Current Program Evaluation. 

Program Development Grants

James B. Hunt, Jr. Institute for Education Leadership and Policy Foundation Summit: $25,000 over one year

The Hunt Institute, in collaboration with the BUILD Initiative and the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, will develop and host two multi-state summits dedicated to systems-building -- establishing comprehensive statewide early childhood systems, with a particular emphasis on strategies and programs that reach children in the first three years of life. The first summit will kick-off in early 2018 and consist of state teams from 8-12 states. The second summit will be a 50-state National Summit to be held in early 2019. The project is overseen by Casey Remer, Director of Policy and Research at The Hunt Institute.

Involving Parents in Children's Learning and Perceptions of Math Through Games: $100,000 over one year

This project aims to increase family interactions around mathematical thinking among low-income Latino and African-American families by engaging them in activities that integrate problem solving, memory challenges, and productive struggle. Building on research that shows the level of math at home and parent math anxiety are important predictors of children's achievement, MIND Research Institute has created Family Math Nights featuring ancient games from the South of the Sahara region of Africa for schools and after school partners. To continue the excitement and momentum that emerge from these events, the project team will develop a Home Kit of activities to promote mathematical thinking and assess the impact of our design in collaboration with other educators and families. Dr. Cathy Tran, principal Investigator, and Dr. Martin Buschkuehl, Co-Principal Investigator, are both at MIND Research Institute.

Food for Thought: Children learning from menus, recipes, and shopping lists: $58,938 over one year

The study aims to evaluate the feasibility of implementing a new family program called "Food for Thought" which aims to help low-income Latino parents use everyday family food practices, such as cooking and grocery shopping, as teaching opportuniities to enhance kindergarten children's mathematics, literacy and self-regulation skills. Sixty families from three schools located in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district (North Carolina) will participate. The program will involve eight monthly family meetings taking place in the schools. Parents will watch videos of other Latino parents using behaviors promoting math, literacy and self-regulation, and will practice these behaviors with their children during the family meetings. Parents will be encouraged to use these behaviors in everyday contexts (e.g., while grocery shopping, cooking and eating out) via text messages every other week. Quantative and qualitative data will be collected from parents, ESL teachers and school principals to evaluate the feasibility of the program at three time points: beginning, middle and end of the school year. Formative evaluation of the program will involve information on recruitment, attendance, implementation, and sustainability of the program. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Diana Leyva in the Psychology Department at Davidson College.

Oral Stories in the Classroom: Encouraging Preschool Teachers' Use of Cultural Funds of Knowledge: $190,920 over three years

The primary goal of this project is to improve low-income Latino preschoolers' emergent literacy and social-emotional school readiness skills by building on the cultural funds of knowledge they bring from home into the preschool classroom. Drawing on a close partnership with the East Harlem Bilingual Head Start center in New York City, this project will explore the oral storytelling traditions of low-income pan-Latino families, and use that knowledge to develop and assess the efficacy of a culturally-based classroom storytelling curriculum. Support from the Brady Education Foundation will fund the initial phase of the project. The investigative team is led by Drs. Gigliana Melzi and Adina Schick from New York University.

Literacy, Learning and Technology in Middle School: $175,000 over two years

Informed by cultural historical activity theory (CHAT), researchers from the Staton-Heiskell Telecommunications Policy Center at City University of New York (CUNY) will collaborate with principals and teachers to create and analyze a job-embedded professional development program within the framework of their existing STRETCH program. Teachers and researchers together will use diverse technology resources to develop a rigorous, culturally responsive, collaborative, a democratic curriculum in alignment with the Common Core Standards. The study includes an experimental and control school located within similar historically low-income NYC neighborhood communities.

Figuring It Out for the Child: Co-parenting Alliances Among Expectant Unmarried African American Parents: $276,910 over three years

Figuring It Out for the Child is a novel intervention designed to help expectant, unmarried, non-co-resident African American mothers and fathers build an awareness and commitment to: 1) co-parent, 2) develop skills needed to support this, and 3) co-create a personal co-parenting plan for their baby. The goal is to increase the likelihood that both parents will be participants in daily activities that promote early brain development, social-emotional adjustment, and preschool readiness. Community stakeholders in Pinellas County, Florida partnered with university researchers to author, review and adjust this new curriculum. The Principal Investigator is Dr. James McHale of the University of South Florida.

Partnerships for Early Childhood Curriculum Development: Readiness through Integrative Science and Engineering (RISE): $118,328 over two years

The primary goal of RISE is to improve school readiness for dual language learners (DLLs) by developing resources and strategies that enable educators to engage linguistically diverse preschool learners in meaningful science, technology, and engineering (STE) activities while building home-school connections. Participants will be educators, children, and families who are part of ABCD Head Start and Children's Services programs in Boston and drawn from two programs that represent subgroups of Latino and Chinese populations. Support from the Brady Education Foundation supplements a larger three-year project funded by the National Science Foundation and will allow the inclusion of assistant teachers during both the initial development work and the intensive ethnographic portion of the study. The investigative team is led by Drs. Christine McWayne and Jayanthi Mistry from Tufts University.

Program Evaluation Grants

Evaluation of the Effectiveness of the Food for Thought Program: $315,768 over three years

This project will evaluate the effectiveness of the Food for Thought program (FFT) using a randomized control trial design. The FFT is a culturally-sensitive family literacy program for low-income Latino kindergartners and their parents that aims to improve child language and literacy outcomes through family food routines such as cooking and grocery shopping. Seventeen public elementary schools and over 1,000 children and their parents in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg district (NC) will participate in this project. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Diana Leyva at Davidson College and the co-PI is Dr. Christina Weiland at the University of Michigan.

Family Influences on the Effectiveness of the PreKindergarten Program in Baltimore City: $107,766 over one year

The goal of this project is to extend the evaluation of Maryland's PreKindergarten Expansion program, which is employing a Regression Discontinuity Design to determine the benefits of the PreK program on low-income children in Baltimore City Public Schools. The specific aims of the Brady-funded project are: 1) to examine the moderating role of family factors (including protective factors) in the impact of PreKindergarten on participant children; and 2) to explore if and how the PreKindergarten experience buffers children against the impact of toxic stress. To this end, we will collect data in children's homes to learn more about the contexts in which they are reared. Specifically, we will interview parents to obtain information on family demographics, parental physical and mental health, and family structure and processes, as well as observe parenting processes and the home environment. This project is consistent with the mission of the Brady Education Foundation in that it examines efforts to reduce the achievement gap between low-income children and their more advantaged peers, and addresses the environmental factors associated with poverty. The Principal Investigator is Brenda P. Jones Harden, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland

Evaluating the Effects of Music Education Programming in Low-Income Communities: A Randomized Control Study: $346,066 over four years

This project aims to better understand the effects of orchestral training programming for low-income youth participants. The project is in partnership with Kidznotes, a North Carolina-based orchestral program that uses the Venezuelan El Sistema model to alter the life trajectory of historically underprivileged youth. The project involves additional collaboration from two school districts: Durham Public Schools (NC) and the Wake County Public School System (NC). Using a randomized control design, the study will evaluate the effects of Kidznotes programming on youth processes and outcomes in social emotional development and executive function, which are associated with longer-term academic success. To this end, the study will implement original data collection with Kidznotes' youngest participants - kindergarteners and first graders - and their teachers. In addition, the investigative team will work with program leadership to integrate aspects of this evaluation into regular program processes, and it will aim to develop resources for other similar programs; this is meant to enhance evaluation capacity and sustainability. The Principal Investigator is Jessica Sperling, Ph.D., of Duke University's Social Science Research Institute (SSRI) and Education and Human Development Incubator (EHDi).

Evaluating Co-Constructive Elaborative Storytelling for African and African-American Preschoolers: $241,324 over two years
Co-Constructive Elaborative Storytelling is a classroom storytelling program that trains teachers to bridge home-school practices by using rich, elaborative language as they incorporate oral storytelling interactions during their circle-time routines. CET draws on home and community-based cultural oral discourse practices to support children's development of oral language, early literacy and socio-emotional skills necessary for a successful transition to formal schooling. The current evaluation project aims to: 1) adapt Co-Constructive Elaborative Storytelling (CET) for use in prechool classrooms serving low-income African-heritage children, and 2) assess the efficacy of CET in supporting children's school readiness skills. The investigative team is led by Drs. Adina Schick and Gigliana Melzi from New York University.

Early Bridges: Impact of a Preschool Theatre Arts Program on Low Income preschoolers' School Readiness Skills: $310,570 over three years

The aim of this project is to conduct a randomized control program evaluation study to document the potential direct and moderated impact of a preschool theatre arts program, Early Bridges (EB), on the school readiness of ethnically diverse, low income preschoolers, including English language learners. We will examine the impact on oral language (storytelling), theatre arts and learning-related social skills, and play, and examine whether different groups of preK students benefit from EB differently from other groups of preK students (e.g., ELL vs. non-ELL). Early Bridges is a program of the Children's Theatre Company, located in Minneapolis, MN. Dr. Amy Susman-Stillman, Principal Investigator, and Dr. Michelle Englund, co-Principal Investigator, are both at the Center for Early Education and Development, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota.

Enhancing Child Development through a University-Library Partnership: Evaluation of Books Can....: $289,283 over three years

Books Can...© is a 6-week interactive parent/child program that provides adults with strategies for using joint book reading to engage in positive interactions that support their child's social-emotional development and school readiness. Using a randomized control trial (RCT), this project will evaluate the effectiveness of Books Can...© on changes in parent knowledge, perceptions of libraries, and behavior, as well as children's self-regulation and language development. This program also seeks to highlight and promote the value of community-based program offerings, particularly at the public library, as a way for parents to develop knowledge and skills important for helping children enter formal schooling ready to learn. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Michelle Taylor and Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Megan Pratt of the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University.

Educare Randomized Control Trial and Age 5 Assessments: $792,225  across three different grants

Grounded in research, Educare is a full-day, full year early care and education program for low income children birth to age 5. It is focused on narrowing or closing the achievement gap by kindergarten entry as a foundation for success in school and in life. Using a randomized clinical trial design researchers consented, conducted initial assessments and randomly assigned 239 children and their families (from five Educare schools) to treatment and control groups. They began following the children and their families, measuring children's cognitive, language, social-emotional and excecutive functioning outcomes, including a longitudinal follow-up of the children before they enter kindergarten. This project is led by Drs. Noreen Yazejian and Donna Bryant at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Public Montessori Preschool Outcomes in a Low-Income Community: $400,000 over seven years

This longitudinal study is following 3-6 year old children in two high-fidelity Montessori magnet schools and a control group of 3-6 year old children in business-as-usual schools located in Hartford, CT. Using a randomized wait list control group deisgn, this study assigned about 140 children into treatment and control groups. The principal investigator, Dr. Angeline Lillard of the University of Virginia, conducted a pilot study published in Science in 2006 showing that children at public Montessori schools in Milwaukee had significantly better outcomes than lotteried-out counterparts at other Milwaukee area schools. 

Family Academy: Researchers and Practitioners Improving Outcomes for 0-3 Year Olds: $365,000 over three years

This longitudinal project studies the promising family-centered Family Academy model and tests its efficacy using a randomized wait list control group deisgn. This unique model was developed through a grassroots community engagement process with participants, practitioners and researchers. Located in Minneapolis, MN, the Family Academy is the early childhood parent education component of the Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ), a zone-based approach to building a continuum of eduational and social support for children, birth to age 18, and their families, ensuring that all children in the NAZ are college-ready. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Lauren Martin from the Center for Early Education and Dvelopment at the University Research and Outreach/Engagement Center (CEED@UROC) at the University of Minnesota.

Improving Self-Regulation and School Readiness in Preschoolers: $280,414 over three years

This project will develop and evaluate the initial effectiveness of an intervention training executive functioning, metacognition, and self-regulation in preschoolers attending certain high poverty Cincinnati preschools. Studies show that these skills are critical for school performance, and that children with better executive functioning have better long term outcomes. It is also important to intervene early when children are most likely to profit because their brains are rapidly developing. There are some promising programs targeting these skills in preschoolers, but few are available to teachers for implementation in the classroom setting. The specific aims of this study are: 1) to adapt a promising clinic-based program for the preschool classroom environment, and 2) to test the feasibility and initial impact of the adapted program on executive functioning and school readiness in schools with a high proportion of children from low income families. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Leanne Tamm at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Development and Effectiveness of the Minnesota Math Corps: $218,745 over two years

Minnesota Math Corps (MMC) is a tutoring program for students in grades 4-8 who struggtle with math. MMC focuses on helping students develop algebra-ready math skills by using evidence-based intervention approaches, a data-driven model, and dedicated coaching to support program tutors. This two-year project aims to refine the MMC program, evaluate its effectiveness using a randomized control trial (RCT), and test whether its effects are moderated by family income. The first year of the project will include intensive development and refinement in collaboration with various stakeholders and experts. In the second year, MMC will be evaluated in an RCT across 20 schools serving predominantly low-income famlies. The Principal Investigator is Dr. David Parker with ServeMinnesota (Minnesota's AmeriCorps commission). Dr. Peter Nelson, at Pennsylvania State University, serves as co-Principal Investigator.

Collaborative Coaching: Improving Teacher Classroom Practices and Student Achievement in High Poverty Schools: $272,365 over three years

This project aims to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a collaborative coaching model in certain high poverty New Jersey elementary schools through a generalized randomized block research design (wait list-controlled trial) study. The specific aims are: 1) to examine the quality of implementation of the coaching model; 2) to increase teachers' use of evidence-based instructional and behavioral management strategies embedded in the coaching model; and 3) to enhance academic engagement and achievement. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Linda Reddy and Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Elisa Shernoff of Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology.


Please note that the Foundation is currently awarding Program Development and Existing Program Evaluation grants only. These grants were awarded prior to this current focus.

A Unified Assessment System to Inform Early Care and Education (ECE) Professional Development and Instructional Practices in New York City: $287,379 over two grants

This project searched for a common metric that linked across all early childhood education child assessment instruments being used by New York City agencies to track children's progress and inform classroom instruction. The goal was to develop a common child assessment metric system that feeds back into the professional development systems across all City agencies so that New York City might have a tool to improve school readiness and work to close the achievement gap before children reach kindergarten. The Principal Investigator was Dr. LaRue Allen of New York University.

East Durham Children's Initiative: $100,000 over two years

The East Durham Children's Initiative (EDCI) was formed in 2009 to provide a comprehensive continuum of supports that address the challenges of chronic and inter-generational poverty. The goal is to offer a conveyor belt of services from infnacy through high school to support chldren's social, emotional and academic growth. The EDCI model is based upon the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) in New York City. Researchers from the Center for Child and Family Policy at Duke University measured the program efficacy of two interventions and began to build a comprehensive, longitudinal database for all EDCI programs.