The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Academic Support for Low-Income Youth

Grant Information
Categories Education
Location Texas
Cycle Year 2012
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Marjorie Saul
Phone 512-417-2765
5407 North IH-35, Suite 400
Additional Information
Used for Support will be used for qualified tutors and supplies to help Austin's low-income students complete their school work, technology equipment, and educational supplies. We seek to target Austin's highest-need children and bring them academic supports that help them do well at school, and graduate on time. The top three goals related to our Academic Success programming address TAKS test scores, grade advancement which in turn encompasses grade achievement and attendance levels, and graduation rate for our senior Club members.
Benefits Because of our programs, thousands of youth will have access to tutors, quiet spaces to work, engaging learning activities, advanced technology, and a safe place to spend the hours after school when many parents are still at work. Club members will become successful, contributing and dynamic members in the community, fulfilling the heart of our mission: to enable youth to break the cycle of poverty and achieve their aspirations. Our overarching goal is to see all Club members graduate from high school, ready to either enter college or seek a career that will enable them to support themselves independently.
Proposal Description The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area (BGCAA) is a valuable resource for our community, helping bring positive changes to the lives of over 12,000 children who attend our Clubs every year. Since 1967, Austin’s Boys & Girls Clubs have provided the city’s young people with a fun and productive environment after school and all day during summertime. To fulfill our mission - to inspire and enable all young people, especially those who need us the most, to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens – we provide programs for kids ages 6 to 18 in three Core Focus Areas: Academic Success; Character and Leadership; and Healthy Lifestyles, all incorporated into our Formula for Impact and working together to maximize our impact upon the lives of Austin’s young people and fully address their needs. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area sees a crucial need to combat the negative effects of poor education, dropping out of school, and summer learning loss in Austin’s low-income students. According to an on-line Education Week ( report, the Austin ISD’s graduation rate for all students in the class of 2008 is just 59.1%.The Austin Chamber of Commerce’s Austin ISD 2009 Education Progress Report states that just 19% of economically-disadvantaged 8th graders were on or above grade-level in math (according to state-mandated tests). The report also states that just 51% of this group was prepared for high school-level science. Among economically-disadvantaged 4th graders, only 22% were at or above grade level in math. Just 71% of middle-schoolers were found to be ready for high school-level science classes. Together, these statistics about Austin’s economically-disadvantaged young people create a continuum of low STEM academic achievement throughout primary and secondary school which culminates in low high school graduation rates.

The problem of low academic achievement is especially critical for at-risk youth. Due to the effects of social isolation, crime, violence and drugs, kids living in areas of concentrated poverty perform worse during the school year than their peers living in more affluent areas. Additionally, research indicates that these young people are critically influenced by the patterns set in their early years of formal schooling. By the end of the third grade, most children are settled into academic achievement-related behavior that they then follow for the rest of their school years. By the fourth grade, many of these young people lose their curiosity and interest in learning. Once in middle school, many students face additional feelings of uncertainty, increasing levels of alienation, and diminishing engagement in learning, and exhibit increasing rates of absenteeism from school. Over half the high school dropouts in Austin ISD were lost in 9th grade – immediately after completing middle school.

In-depth research conducted over a 10-year period by the Harvard Family Research Project suggests that sustained participation in well-structured programs and activities, often provided by out-of-school time (OST) nonprofits, help youth attain the knowledge and array of skills necessary for success in the 21st century. However, only 30% of school-aged children in Austin’s Travis County have access to out of school programs and the cognitive benefits they provide. Our goal is to continuously expand the number of youth we serve to give more kids the opportunity to benefit from our life saving programs.

Club members participate in Academic Success programming every day, starting with Power Hour as soon as the Club's doors open, and the program is the most vital part of enabling our Club kids to break the cycle of poverty by graduating from high school, and continuing their education or securing a career. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area is unique in Austin in that it takes a holistic approach: each Core Focus area is supported and strengthened by the others to truly enable a child to reach his or her fullest potential. For example, we know that a child cannot do their best in school if they are malnourished or sick, and a child who feels like a failure is less likely to display positive character attributes or put their best effort forth on school work. Tutoring, homework help and other education programs prepare young minds for Academic Success while the sports, physical activities, nutrition education and healthy food provided in our Healthy Lifestyles programming work to keep our youth physically healthy. At the same time, we provide guidance, strengthen spirits and develop good character through community service, prevention programs and promotion of unity and camaraderie within the Club between peers and different age groups, in our Good Character & Citizenship programs.