Rob and Jennifer Waldron Pledge Largest Gift in Organization’s History to Advance Equity and Innovation
For Immediate Release
BOSTON, March 19, 2018 — Jumpstart today announced a gift of $5 million over the next 10 years — the largest single gift in the organization’s history — from supporters Rob and Jennifer Waldron. This unrestricted donation will help the early education nonprofit continue in its mission to promote educational equity and ensure that every child has the opportunity to succeed, starting in preschool.
Research shows that early childhood education is one of the most effective ways to break the cycle of poverty, yet finding a way to deliver consistently high-quality education to young children remains a problem. Jumpstart, however, has emerged as an innovative and adaptable program to meet the needs of the nation’s youngest learners.
It was Jumpstart’s mission and scalability that inspired this historic gift by long-time program supporters Rob and Jennifer Waldron. No stranger to scaling educational solutions and giving back, Rob has spent the last decade as CEO of Curriculum Associates, building it into the nation’s fastest-growing K–12 education publishing company and ultimately making the decision to gift a majority of its shares to charity in 2016. His philanthropic priorities are also informed by rich experience as the former CEO of Jumpstart and of the K12 Tutoring Division of Kaplan Education. In addition to Jennifer’s longtime involvement with Jumpstart as a volunteer and board member, she also worked for uAspire, an organization supporting equity on the other end of the educational spectrum: college affordability. Through decades of deep involvement in the world of education, the Waldrons understand the critical importance of a strong early learning foundation to support future academic success.
“There are so many problems in the world that we don’t know how to solve,” explains Rob Waldron. “In the case of early education, there is strong evidence on what to do. We have seen firsthand how giving children the resources and support they need at an early age helps them thrive.” Adds Jennifer, “Rob and I are proud to support such a well-led organization as Jumpstart, which has found a way to do just that in a cost-efficient, replicable way.”
Founded in 1993, Jumpstart works by bringing trained college student volunteers into preschool classrooms in low-income communities to work with young children on the key skills they’ll need to succeed in kindergarten. These college students improve the adult-child ratio and support preschool teachers by offering more personalized attention to children while focusing on key literacy, language, and social-emotional skills. Volunteers form tight bonds with the children and serve as stable role models throughout the year, nurturing their confidence and easing the transition into school.
The Waldrons have partnered with the Boston Foundation to distribute the gift over the course of ten years through a donor-advised fund. The Foundation was one of Jumpstart’s earliest funders, supporting Jumpstart’s unique approach to equity in early childhood education.
“We are honored to play a role in making this gift possible,” said Paul S. Grogan, President and CEO of the Boston Foundation. “It’s a fitting partnership between donors who have spent their careers expanding educational opportunity and an organization that has developed an innovative and effective strategy to bring access to early education programs to growing numbers of children.”
“The Waldrons’ extraordinary gift allows us to keep our eyes on the future,” says Naila Bolus, President and CEO of Jumpstart. “Our aim now is to scale Jumpstart’s impact — to reach exponentially more children through innovative models of program delivery, to shape the early education workforce by inspiring future educators and supporting existing teachers, and to drive policy changes to ensure that high-quality early education is available to all children.”
Jumpstart is an early education nonprofit organization fueled by the core belief that providing high-quality early learning opportunities to all children contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty. We provide language, literacy, and social-emotional programming for preschool children from under-resourced communities by recruiting and training college students and community members to serve in classrooms where the need is highest. Our volunteers help prepare children for kindergarten, and set them on a path for lifelong success. Learn more at jstart.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter at @jumpstartkids.