I am pleased to announce that the Hive Chicago Fund for Connected Learning at The Chicago Community Trust has awarded $544,178 supporting 18 projects proposed by Hive Chicago Learning Network member organizations in the Fund’s first of two grantmaking rounds this year.
More than 30 organizations are partnering to offer young Chicagoans connected learning experiences that range from using Snapchat to promote allyship, to remixing interviews from the archives of Chicago legend Studs Terkel, to building an interactive machine that will highlight youth participant commutes. Seventeen different Hive members are leading those efforts.
Pathways for Innovation
A hallmark of Hive innovation stems from the way in which the Fund’s grantmaking strategy creates pathways from inspiration to implementation to scale and sustainability. At every stage, from modest Glimmer grants for planning to larger Catalyst and Lever grants, project partners are encouraged to experiment and to share their plans and outcomes with the Network so that others may learn from members’ experiences.
This trajectory was clearly on display this round, particularly in the Catalyst category. Cases in point:
(PRO)ject Us: The Creative Arts Suite
In (PRO)ject Us: The Creative Arts Suite, YOUmedia, the Commonwealth Foundation and Donda’s House are teaming up to adapt the popular STEAM Studio concept. Offered in 2013 and 2014, those experiences connected youth interested in fashion to professional clients through a one-week summer intensive that developed a range of skills and ultimately led to opportunities for product placement and internships.
(PRO)ject Us builds off of that model, but will offer teens a series of workshop-intensive experiences over a year rather than in a one-to-two week summer engagement. Partners also plan to expand the number of career interests from the fashion-focused STEAM Studio model renamed the Style Suite, adding the Sound Suite (music) and Media Suite. The project team will collaborate to create music, fashion, and media pathways and award badges in connection with professional mentorship that leads to internship opportunities.
All Access Pass
Inspiration for All Access Pass: The Museum Pathway Project springs from the STEAM Spaces Challenge implemented in 2013 to encourage teens already involved in a museum experience to explore other cultural institutions through a series of challenges. The organizations involved in that collaboration – Adler Planetarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Project Exploration, and Chicago Botanic Garden – made advances in understanding how to introduce youth to online challenges around blogging, digital badges, and other museums in Chicago.
All Access Pass partners are applying lessons gleaned from that effort and expanding the number of institutions to include Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, National Veterans Art Museum, and the Art Institute of Chicago. Participating organizations will attract teens from existing programming who might not know about other cultural institutions. They will also reach youth not currently involved in Hive programs through the Chicago City of Learning website. The partners will connect teens to learning experiences within their respective spaces, introduce museum learning pathways, and encourage youth to use digital media to share their experiences with friends, parents, and teachers. All of this information will be packaged as a framework with guidelines detailing the program’s impact on youth and the participating institutions, with recommendations for ensuring sustainability. The framework will be available to institutions elsewhere looking to create an All Access Pass program in their city.
The Hive Mapping Cooperative
The Hive Mapping Cooperative will continue its work from last summer in which the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Sweet Water Foundation, and Smart Chicago Collaborative worked with teens to collect, manage, analyze, visualize, and share georeferenced data through open-source mapping and data-sharing software. Although teens were successful in creating maps and visualizations using digital technologies last year, they described the process was “tedious” or “difficult to do.” This iteration of the Mapping Cooperative will tap into the expertise of Zooniverse at the Adler to develop easier-to-use data collection and analysis tools. The Student Conservation Association and After School Matters are joining project to broaden student participation and offer programs that complement those of Sweet Water and the Nature Museum.
You can check out these projects and the others being supported with Round 1 funding at the Funded Projects Showcase on May 21 at the Hive Network Meetup.
2015 Round 2 RFP
Meanwhile, we’re on to Round 2. The Fund’s second request for proposals for 2015 is open, and the application is live on the Trust’s Grant Central online system. Please visit the RFP website for more details. Proposals are due May 11, so let the innovation continue!