Past Press Releases

$2.1 Million Awarded for 5-Year Afterschool Matters Initiatives to National Institute on Out-of-School Time at Wellesley Centers for Women


April 14, 2008

The Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) is pleased to announce that the Robert Bowne Foundation is awarding more than $2.1 million dollars over five years to the Centers’ National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST) for the National Afterschool Matters Initiative which will promote research and professional development for the out-of-school time industry.

"The Wellesley Centers for Women is committed to making the world a better place for women and their families through our research and action programs. NIOST’s careful evaluation programs, comprehensive trainings, and advocacy for professional standards are examples of how we do this," says Susan McGee Bailey, Ph.D., WCW executive director. "Expanding the Afterschool Matters Initiative through NIOST advances both the field of out-of-school time and our organizational mission."

The primary objective of this award is to ensure the continuation of the well established Afterschool Matters Initiative, which includes a Practitioner Fellowship Program; the production of the Afterschool Matters publications; the Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. Research Grantee program; and the Research Roundtables, a forum for connecting research and practice.

"Out-of-school time remains a critical issue for working families in the U.S. and I am proud that the Robert Bowne Foundation is entrusting this important initiative to us—it is an ideal fit," says Ellen Gannett, M.Ed., director of NIOST. "For more than three decades now, NIOST has broken ground to move this industry forward and our work with the National Afterschool Matters Initiative will only further enhance the quality of OST programming and the preparation of staff who support our children and youth."

The Practitioner Fellowship program for out-of-school time professionals emphasizes reflection on practice towards improved program quality and outcomes for children and youth. Its goals include identifying and disseminating effective practice and strategies for program improvement; building a network of practitioners, scholars, educators, and policymakers working in and studying out-of-school time programs; and contributing to basic knowledge and the improvement of practice and policy in the area of out-of-school time programs.

NIOST is excited to be partnering with the National Writing Project (NWP) in the national expansion of the Practitioner Fellowship program. Additionally, Sara Hill, Ed.D., who has directed this project for the Robert Bowne Foundation for the last five years, will continue to bring her expertise to the Initiative.

The Afterschool Matters Journal is a high quality, peer reviewed journal which will continue to be a vehicle for disseminating cutting-edge research in the field of out-of-school time and also provide a forum for practice and program improvement findings from the Practitioner Fellowship program.

The existing Edmund A. Stanley, Jr. National Research Grant program of the Afterschool Matters Initiative will also continue under NIOST’s direction. Currently, four grants of $10,000 are awarded to support research about community-based youth programs during out-of-school time hours. The grantees join with the practitioner fellows to present their work at Research Roundtables.

"We need to continue to examine the many facets of out-of-school time—environments, professional development, programming, engagement, funding—so that we may recommend best practices and policies that will not only improve outcomes for kids, but also further improve the industry benefits for youth workers and educators," stresses Georgia Hall, Ph.D., senior research scientist at WCW and Afterschool Matters project co-director. "The National Afterschool Matters Initiative allows us to expand practitioners’ opportunity to reflect on and improve program practices which we know can make a real difference to these professionals and to youth outcomes."

Since 1974, the Wellesley Centers for Women has helped shape a better world through its research and action programs. Work at the Centers addresses three major areas: the status of women and girls and the advancement of their human rights both in the United States and around the globe; the education, care, and development of children and youth; and the emotional well-being of families and individuals. Issues of diversity and equity are central across all the work as are the experiences and perspectives of women from a variety of backgrounds and cultures.

For almost 30 years, the National Institute on Out-of-School Time (NIOST), formerly known as the School-Age Child Care Project, at the Wellesley Centers for Women, Wellesley College, has successfully brought national attention to the importance of children's out-of-school time. Through research, training, evaluation, and program development, NIOST has continued to be at the forefront of advances in the field, and has acted as a leader in many areas of out-of-school time policy development, increased quality standards, professional recognition, and community action.

The Robert Bowne Foundation supports the development of quality programs that offer literacy education to children and youth of New York City, in the out-of-school hours, especially for those living in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Afterschool Matters serves as this initiative name and a statement of the Foundation’s belief: to children, adolescents, families, and communities, afterschool and other out-of-school-time programs matter a lot.