“I continue to believe that if children are given the necessary tools to succeed, they will succeed beyond their wildest dreams!” David Vitter

The McConnell Foundation focuses its Children, Youth and Education efforts on working with community partners, investing in long-term programs to create a pipeline for student success from birth through college/career, ultimately resulting in productive, involved citizens for all of our communities.

We want ALL children and youth – no matter their community, no matter their background, no matter their situation – to have all opportunities open to them from infancy through school and beyond. We believe all students should graduate high school ready for any opportunity they choose. We believe that the futures of all students should not have been limited by a lack of opportunity or by decisions made by their schools and communities.

Consequently, since 2015, the framework that underlies the Foundation’s Children, Youth and Education program area involves targeted, strategic investments that:

  • Help create a student success pipeline from cradle through career to productive, involved citizen
  • Align with the work of our partners in our five-county region
  • Have the potential to leverage other funding, grants, or investments
  • Enable the Foundation to make a difference in our communities and not supplant other funding OR potential funding, and
  • Are “ripe” and ready for investment

Positive change takes time, and the Foundation recognizes that this is work with a lengthy time horizon. This work involves both culture and systems change and involves all segments of our communities. Working to change systems and cultures involves changing mindsets, both about our communities and our children.

For communities, the work is believing communities can grow, progress, and thrive while maintaining meaningful ties to their past, and that healthy, vibrant communities are ones where all people, of all ages, can achieve great things.

For our children, the work involves changing mindsets towards one of growth and hope: that children can and do rise to challenges in life and in the classroom, that children can believe in a better future and have the agency to work towards that future, and that all children can achieve more if we believe in them, eliminate unnecessary barriers to success, and give them adequate supports.

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, are designed to serve as a “shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet now and into the future.” The 17 SDGs are integrated—they recognize that action in one area will affect outcomes in others, and that development must balance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
The McConnell Foundation’s Children, Youth, and Education programs contribute to the following global Sustainable Development Goals: Almost 100% of our CY&E funding supports initiatives aligned with 4 – Quality Education. In addition, since our CY&E grants support initiatives aligned with more than one SDG, our CY&E funding also supports 2 – Zero Hunger (2.1 and 2.3), 3 – Good Health and Wellbeing (3.1, 3.4, 3.6, and 3.7), 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth (8.3 and 8.6), 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities (11.2, 11.7, and 11.a), and 15 – Life on Land (15.1, 15.4, 15.5, 15.8, and 15.c).


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