Summertime Kids, Learning Links Empower Creative Education

March 28, 2019

“Summer slide” isn’t a shiny metal conveyance into a swimming pool — it’s the academic regression, or learning loss, that students experience over their summer breaks from school. According to the Brookings Institute’s “faucet theory,” the flow of learning is available to all students during the school year, but that flow of resources can ebb dramatically during the summer months, especially for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. The loss of academic year learning — for the average student, a month per summer — can intensify subsequent achievement gaps.

Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), in partnership with our generous donors and the longtime support of the Charles H. Dater Foundation, believes that all students should be able to make a sustained splash with opportunities for learning throughout the year. That’s the purpose of GCF’s Summertime Kids grants — grants of up to $1,000 to promote learning with enriching, fun programs for kids that run between June 1 and Aug. 31.

Nonprofit organizations may submit up to two applications, either for distinctly different programs or the same program in two locations. From new experiences that expand students’ horizons and create a lasting impact on youth with the greatest need to serving a diverse location or population and engaging parents or guardians, we’re seeking to support innovative programs that deliver a learning flow to effectively reduce “summer slide.”

That same immersion in impactful learning splashes over into the 2019-2020 school year with GCF’s Learning Links grants, which support creative projects envisioned by K-12 educators. We look to fund projects that inspire innovative, fun ideas that encourage student participation; promote diversity, multicultural or intergenerational events; have lasting impact on students and staff; engage parents/guardians and the community.

Here’s how you can help: Join us at the grantmaking table and help decide which summertime programs and which schools to fund. GCF partners with donor, nonprofit and community volunteers to review applications in small groups and make collective recommendations on which projects receive the grants. It is a great opportunity to take a rewarding, hands-on role and learn more about community needs and effective approaches to those needs. Or, if you’d prefer to financially support these grants to help us fund more programs and schools, you can recommend a grant from your GCF fund.

For the Summertime Kids grants, GCF will convene two lunchtime review meetings on April 9 and April 18; for Learning Links, lunchtime review meetings will be held on June 11 and June 21. For further information, and to volunteer, contact Laura S. Menge, GCF Philanthropic Advisor, at 513-768-6170 or