In early 2013, Sooch Foundation shifted its focus to programs that help low-socioeconomic young adults and adults earn higher wages and/or attain higher levels of post-secondary credentials. Under this new strategic focus, the following five new grants were approved by our board:

Assistance League of Austin: to support student success at Austin Community College through financial aid Sooch Scholarships and the ongoing support of one-to-one mentorship.

Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative: As a local funding match for a city-wide collaborative focused on reconnecting local opportunity youth aged 16-24 with effective employment and education pathways, creating a positive cross-sector impact on their options and life outcomes.

Bridge to College Success: A part of the CAMP program at St. Edward’s University, these writing workshops focus on advancing entering students academically so they are prepared to succeed in credit-earning coursework.

Goodwill Industries of Central Texas: The Good Careers Academy offers place-based, short-term workforce training programs to help participants increase their earning potential by obtaining occupational certificates in high-demand industries.

The Success Project: A collaboration between Foundation Communities and Austin Community College, this initiative offers extensive support and coordinated academic and financial services to at-risk ACC students in order to improve retention and completion of a program of study.

Additionally, the following four multiyear grants were funded prior to the mission shift but continued to serve our target population in 2013:

Austin Interfaith: to fund an education organizer helping build Alliance Communities, positively impacting public issues affecting the well-being of students and families in underserved Austin neighborhoods and schools.

English at Work: to provide customized English instruction to LEP employees at local Austin businesses, with the goal of increasing language and employment skills as well as employer satisfaction, retention, and promotion.

KIPP Austin: to support the Austin growth of the nationally recognized “Knowledge Is Power Program” network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public schools dedicated to preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life.

LifeWorks: to provide the lead gift for the East Austin Family and Resource Center, providing a myriad of services to move families from crisis to safety and success, including multiple levels of language instruction.