Building Hope Announces Third Annual Impact Grant Winners

$170,000 Awarded to 12 Charter Schools That Shine In Community Engagement, Educational Innovation, Student Empowerment, And Model Charters; $10,000 Awarded To Two School Volunteer Leaders

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 26, 2024) – Building Hope, the non-profit leader in charter school facilities, financing, and services, celebrated the remarkable achievements of leaders from 12 inspirational charter schools and two charter volunteer leaders nationwide. Last night, at the conclusion of its third annual Building Hope IMPACT Summit, Building Hope awarded a total of $170,000 in grant awards. The grants were presented in recognition of the outstanding contributions of these schools in community engagement, educational innovation, student empowerment, and charter school leadership.

“Each year the IMPACT Summit provides an opportunity to honor and celebrate trailblazing charter schools, education leaders and volunteers,” said President and CEO of Building Hope William D. Hansen. “Congratulations to our 2024 winners for their outstanding contributions to the charter school community. Thank you for your dedication to shaping the future of education, uplifting our youth, and strengthening our nation.”

The Building Hope IMPACT Summit provides an annual opportunity for charter school leaders, authorizers, industry partners, and associations to connect and collaborate on solutions to address the most pressing challenges in public Kindergarten through 12th grade education. The 2024 IMPACT Summit featured more than 30 thought-provoking presentations, interactive workshops, and networking opportunities with the goal to inspire and empower attendees to create positive change through quality, accessible education.

“It’s so inspiring to know that the future of education is already here, at these innovative, engaging, and empowering schools,” said Building Hope’s Chief Impact Officer and Chair of the IMPACT Selection Committee Sherilyn Moore. “We hope that by shining a light on the impact they make on students, families, and communities, we inspire more of these amazing schools to grow.”

 

These IMPACT Award winners represent 12 different states and U.S. territories from across the nation:

 

S. Joseph Bruno Charter Leadership Award

The $20,000 grant award winner is:

HIVE Preparatory School, which serves 845 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade in Miami, Fla. HIVE Preparatory School values high expectations, inquiry, versatility, and excellence. The student-centered, adaptable learning environment emphasizes rigorous academic and social preparation and promotes dignity, courtesy, discipline, responsibility, and high expectations so that students achieve academically and become productive citizens. The school adapts to its stakeholders instead of requiring stakeholders to adapt to it, changing standards, curricula, student demographics, teacher quality and availability, and educational landscape to improve enrollment, academic, and extracurricular outcomes.

“Our model ensures that students are well suited for the ever-evolving landscape they will face in today’s world,” said HIVE Preparatory School Director of Schools Carlos V. Gonzalez. “Rigorous academic and social preparation become a blueprint for students to create and attain their goals in life.”

 

The $10,000 grant award winners are:

Arizona Autism Charter Schools, Inc., which serves 875 students in Kindergarten through 12th+ grade in Phoenix, Ariz. Arizona Autism Charter Schools has highly trained teachers and staff who make high-quality, specialized education accessible to students with autism and other neuro-diversities. The school’s innovative educational model embeds behavioral, speech and other therapy supports into the classroom to facilitate access to academics and data-driven instruction. Students engage in developmentally appropriate academics and hands-on STEAM programming through a curriculum designed to get them workforce ready in high tech fields.

River City Science Academy, which serves 4,500 students in Kindergarten through 12th grade in Jacksonville, Fla. River City Science Academy applies a STEAM-based educational model and character education that ensure all students reach their maximum potential in a diverse, structured, and nurturing environment and are prepared for a future in science, technology, engineering, and math. River City Science Academy continually adapts to educational trends, becoming increasingly data-driven, standards-based and financially secure, without losing sight of its innovative vision and character education. A driving force in the community, River City Science Academy has mastered its approach to integrated learning while maintaining a caring and collaborative culture.

 

 

Student Empowerment 

The $20,000 grant award winner is:

Monument Academy, which serves 127 students in 5th through 8th grade in Washington, DC. With rigorous academic programming and family-style apartment living, social-emotional learning, mental health services, and opportunities for enrichment and career exploration, Monument Academy is both school and home for its students, 70% of whom are designated at-risk. Staff model expectations through words, actions, and behaviors, and students physically depart school with the necessary tools to access resources they require as adults.

“As we plan for our expansion to high school, student input will be taken into consideration every step of the way,” said Monument Academy CEO Dr. Jeffrey Grant. “Our scholars are our greatest stakeholders, and our relationships have created bonds that have proven to be simultaneously life-saving and self-affirming.”

 

The $10,000 grant award winners are:

Siembra Leadership High School, which serves 385 students in 9th through 12th grade in Albuquerque, N.M. Siembra Leadership’s entrepreneurial focus prepares academically underserved students for careers that reflect the values and needs of the community. Students learn all core content through real-world community projects, and all students participate in college dual enrollment classes, internships, or a capstone project to launch their own business. Students leave prepared for success in college and their career, having grown socially, emotionally, and intellectually.

Tapestry Public Charter School, which serves 300 students in 6th through 12th grade in Doraville, Ga. Tapestry’s dynamic curriculum weaves together academic excellence, creative exploration, and community engagement for a neurodivergent student population. The school pairs general and special education teachers in each classroom to offer students an inclusive, individualized learning environment that engages both neurotypical students and those on the autism spectrum. The academic and emotional attention received prepares students to become creative builders of their own futures.

 

 

Community Engagement 

The $20,000 grant award winner is:

Vimenti, which serves 274 students in Kindergarten through 6th grade in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Located in a public housing community with five generations of systemic poverty, Vimenti is a demonstration project with a theory of change to break cycles of poverty and catalyze community transformation. Vimenti’s high-quality, dual-language education provided through a rigorous, differentiated learning model puts student and family needs and interests at the center of the educational strategy. External mentoring and volunteer opportunities support students and develop them as whole citizens.

“When a child enrolls in Vimenti, the family unit is enrolled and works with a dedicated case manager to set goals and action plans around the barriers to economic mobility for a family,” said Vimenti Operations and HR Director Bárbara Rivera. “We are so proud of our students for raising awareness of issues and contributing to resolutions. Vimenti students not only respect themselves and others, but also act as role models for their families, communities and throughout the island of Puerto Rico.”

 

The $10,000 grant award winners are:

Academy for Global Citizenship, which serves 479 students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade in Chicago, Ill. Academy for Global Citizenship offers a dual language and international baccalaureate curriculum that cultivates mindful leaders of action who positively impact their communities and the world beyond. Through concept-driven units of study and integration with the surrounding community, students become environmentally and internationally minded. This meaningful understanding of the local community and cultural context fundamentally build their foundation for becoming civically engaged, global citizens.

Amy Biehl High School, which serves 212 students in 9th through 12th grade in Albuquerque, N.M. Founded in the spirit of a young scholar dedicated to social justice and service, Amy Biehl High School focuses its curriculum on service, college and career preparation, and restorative justice, ensuring students excel academically and engage in meaningful community service. Students’ service-learning prepares them to graduate civic-minded, college-bound, and career-ready with the intellectual, social, and ethical habits to improve their communities.

 

 

Education Innovation 

The $20,000 grant award winner is:

The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability (SEEQS) which serves 176 students in 6th through 8th grade in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. SEEQS fosters a joy of learning through collaborative and interdisciplinary investigation of questions essential to Hawai‘i’s future. Education transcends the classroom, blending academic rigor with environmental stewardship to shape empowered leaders who think globally and act locally. SEEQS’ supportive community and sustainability-focused curriculum emphasize critical thinking, leadership, and community advocacy.

“SEEQS is more than a school, it’s a place where education is a transformative journey, preparing students to become stewards of planet Earth and healthy, effective citizens of the world,” said Executive Director Buffy Cushman-Patz. “Our model is designed around intentional community-building and rigorous core content learning, combined with project and place-based experiences. Every student participates in interdisciplinary projects and place-based courses designed to help them examine complex essential questions of sustainability that face our community and environment.”

 

The $10,000 grant award winners are:

MicroSociety Academy, which serves 309 students in Kindergarten through 8th grade in Nashua, N.H. MicroSociety empowers students to acquire the heart, knowledge, and skills for thriving in today’s society by collaboratively creating and operating their own school-based microcosm of the real world. Students follow a rigorous, competency-based core curriculum, receive standards-based instruction with “real world” concepts, and apply concepts in their own small society with guidance of teacher facilitators. Ultimately, students learn how to create a community that is safe and useful for everyone.

Northwest Passage High School, which serves 155 students 9th through 12th+ grade in Coon Rapids, Minn. Northwest Passage High School has created a curriculum that combines advisory, student-centered, project-based learning, interdisciplinary seminars, and academic overnight learning expeditions for all students. Students build caring, inclusive, adult relationships through long-term advisories and individualized academic and social-emotional support. Northwest Passage fosters creativity, innovation and life-long learning, while also supporting post-secondary career and college readiness. Students rekindle hope, explore the world, and seek their path while building a community.

 

In March, Building Hope also honored Sujei DaSilva and Danielle Sell with the Shellie-Ann Braswell Shine Brighter Awards for their volunteer leadership and meaningful impact. This prestigious award acknowledges charter school volunteers and their unwavering dedication to creating a brighter future for students and communities. Both recipients were awarded a $5,000 grant at the Summit in recognition of their extraordinary service at their respective schools: SouthSide Elementary Charter School in Providence, R.I., and Adeline Montessori School in Oconomowoc, Wis.

 

The fourth annual IMPACT Awards application window will open in the Fall of 2024, and winners will be announced in early 2025. Visit buildinghope.org to learn about next year’s Summit.

 

Building Hope is grateful for the sponsors of the 2024 IMPACT Summit:

 

Platinum Sponsors

 

Gold Sponsors

 

Silver Sponsors

 

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About Building Hope

Building Hope is a national non-profit that empowers advancements in education through our work with charter schools providing unparalleled facility financing, real estate development, and operational services. We believe a facility should never be the barrier preventing a child from attending a great school. During our 20-year history, Building Hope has supported over $1 billion in the development of school facilities. For more information, visit www.buildinghope.org.

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Martha Holler

ShinePR for Building Hope | pr@buildinghope.org