Community Investments Update

Communities in Schools
Plans are moving forward to launch the Communities in Schools program in at least two schools in the School District of the City of York this fall.

The WGC is a partner in the pilot project, initiated by York County Community Foundation and United Way, to develop and coordinate services to support students and their families. The program will be administered by Communities in Schools which works with school districts around the country and has a proven track record in reducing dropout rates and improving student academic experience.

WGC funding ($25,000/ year for three years) will support a half-time staff position at William Penn Senior High School as part of a team of 1 1/2 site coordinators at the school who are charged with developing and administering program services, supported and monitored by a community advisory committee. The grant was recommended by the WGC Education Study Group, chaired by Jean Treuthart, which spent the past year researching promising investment opportunities focusing on at-risk city children and youth.

Gates Project
Work began last Saturday on the installation of safety gates in York City's Northeast Neighborhood. Two new funders...Think Loud Development and First Presbyterian Church...have joined the WGC and its continuing partners for gates in the neighborhood. To date, over 300 safety gates have been installed in the city's West End and Liberty Court neighborhoods. And crime statistics confirm they're working!

Funders Forums
Marge Petruska, Senior Program Director, The Heinz Endowments, was a guest presenter at the May 20 Funders Forum. Her topic: How to tackle tough community problems and accomplish great community change through collective action. This was the second in a series of Funders Forums supported by a WGC grant and coordinated by Lise Levin, project consultant. An initial forum in April featured best grantmaking practices with local presenters.

We've had good attendance and good feedback from both forums. Now what? We'll be talking about that with members of the Funders Forum Advisory Group. Stay tuned!

Truancy Prevention Initiative News
Remember when the WGC stepped forward as the first investor in staff support to build the capacity of the then all-volunteer Truancy Prevention Initiative (TPI)? Since then York County's school truancy statistics have declined sharply. Recently we received a report on the Youth Court program at William Penn Senior High School, launched two years ago through the TPI, indicating that attendance statistics have improved significantly and that 100% of parents said the program has had a positive impact on their son/daughter. You'll want to read the report here.