Awards & Recognition

 Any awards or recognition for Way to Grow
 Since these posts would probably include a link to an article, it could also be tagged as In the News

Second Grade Success

Second Grade Success 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Way To Grow1230Since Kindergarten, Shamsa, Asma’s Way to Grow Family Educator, has been working with Asma on picture naming and vocabulary. A native Somali speaker, Asma was also enrolled in an Arabic program which initially, made English Language Learning even more challenging. Shamsa persisted, encouraging mom to attend ELL classes, to read daily with her children, and to set aside time to complete homework each night. Now a second grader at Pillsbury Elementary School, Asma scored 100% on both picture naming and spelling sight words this fall!

Asma’s family as a whole places a prominent value on education. With hopes of obtaining a degree in the field of Child Development, Asma’s mother is now taking college English classes at MCTC. These classes are helping mom learn to read and write at a collegiate level. In the meantime, Mom recognizes what an asset her increased English language skills are to teaching her children. With her own English Language Learning, mom has become more deeply engaged and involved with Asma’s education. She has become a powerful advocate for her children, and perhaps more importantly, a role model.

Social Impact Project Launches in Minneapolis

Social Impact Project Launches in Minneapolis 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

A group of next generation philanthropists has come together to launch The New Impact Fund, a social impact project. We are excited to announce that Way to Grow is one of four family and childhood-focused programs included in the first round of social investments.

“At Way to Grow, we’ve seen the lasting impact of developing a foundation of learning in the home for families in poverty. From a single parent sharing her excitement that her daughter has earned a full scholarship to college because of a strong start with Way to Grow, to a preschool-age boy who formerly lagged far behind his peers now entering school scoring 75 points higher in literacy. A strong start has a strong return for individual families and our communities,” said Carolyn Smallwood, Way to Grow Executive Director.

The New Impact Fund support will help support the programming that empowers our next generation of leaders and fuels the promise of stronger, healthier communities for us all.


Minneapolis – The next generation of Minnesota philanthropists is coming together around a new social impact project called The New Impact Fund. The New Impact Fund, which is just completing its first cohort, is rallying next generation leaders to leverage their philanthropy to take action. The New Impact Fund announces over $410,000 in investment for their first effort. Alicia Phillips of Redwood Philanthropic Advisors and Jason Blumenthal of the Fulcrum Group are launching the effort.

The first cohort of investments is focused on family and childhood programs in Minneapolis. The Fund uses all the tools of capitalism: business investments, loans, and grants to drive change in Minneapolis. We believe that ending cycles of poverty in Minneapolis is possible by training the next generation of philanthropic leaders and innovators to apply analytics and new points of leverage to pervasive social problems.

“This is only possible through the development of new critical leaders, new ways of thinking, and new ways of using capital,” Phillips said. “The New Impact Fund provides the members of the cohort with the skills to effectively evaluate opportunities in terms of innovation, results, and effectiveness in addressing the issues of poverty. We believe the four

programs in which we are investing will create strong, positive change in the lives of Minneapolis families and children in poverty,” said Susan Shank, CFA and Chair of the first co-hort.

The investments were selected for the following programs:

Way To Grow

Way to Grow provides evidence-based programming, delivered primarily through home visits, that measurably improves the lives of families by stabilizing the home and setting a foundation for a culture of learning in the households of at-risk families in Minneapolis.

Baby Space

Baby Space works to strengthen, deepen, and broaden its family engagement program in order to achieve even better academic and social emotional outcomes for the American Indian families and children they serve.

Northside Achievement Zone

Northside Achievement Zone (NAZ) uses evidence-based strategies to support North Minneapolis parents–the vast majority of whom are people of color living at or below the poverty line–in building the skills, knowledge, and confidence they need to support their children’s growth, development and school success from birth to graduation and beyond.

Joyce Preschool

Joyce Preschool is supported for programming that empowers low-income families to support the social-emotional and cognitive development of their children. The school’s comprehensive and responsive parent support programming is a major factor in Joyce Preschool’s success in achieving a100% kindergarten readiness rate for its graduates.

About The New Impact Fund

The New Impact Fund is a group of next generation philanthropic investors committed to creating wealth through business investments, loans and grants that can add jobs to the economy, increase employment and bring upward mobility to the poorest neighborhoods within Minneapolis.


Preschool Pals Teacher Lights the Way

Preschool Pals Teacher Lights the Way 150 150 Ivy Marsnik

Those of us at Way to Grow have always seen Mr. Eka, our Preschool Pals lead teacher, as an excellent educator; but this week, the word is out!  As this week’s recipient of WCCO’s Excellent Educator Award, it is no secret that Mr. Eka radiates a very special light from within, a gift positively impacting his students’ lives day in and day out.  We are honored to have Mr. Eka on our team and could not be more excited to see all of his talents, hard work and dedication being recognized!  Thank you, Eka for all you do to ensure every child has an equal opportunity to succeed in school and life.

Take a step into Eka’s classroom and catch a glimpse of him in action by watching the video below!

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Generation Next, in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way, Awards SIF subgrant to Way to Grow.

Generation Next, in partnership with Greater Twin Cities United Way, Awards SIF subgrant to Way to Grow. 150 150 Way to Grow
The Social Innovation Fund, now in its third year, is an initiative of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Generation Next, in partnership with the Greater Twin Cities United Way, was one of 20 recipients across the country and will support a strong portfolio of replicable, evidence-based youth programs.

Generation Next is an alliance of community partners focusing on youth development for children in kindergarten through college in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Funded programs are designed to improve kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, ninth grade readiness for upper-level math, four-year graduation rates, and college enrollment rates for between 1,500 and 2,000 low-income youth each year.
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