S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Legacy Collection

In December 2020, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation concluded operations. Founded in 1957, the Foundation was committed to building a productive, vibrant, and sustainable California. In 2009, the Foundation decided to invest all of its assets, or spend down, by 2020 in order to spur significant progress on the challenging issues facing the state in education and environment. This collection features knowledge produced by the Foundation and its partners during its final decade of work. Read concluding reflections from the Foundation's president and learn more about its grantmaking.

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S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation National Character Initiative Retrospective Final Report

December 22, 2020

Starting in 2019, the American Institutes for Research (AIR) partnered with the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, to capture grantees' experiences with the National Character Initiative. Specifically, through interviews and surveys, AIR aimed to describe grantees' experiences implementing the grants and participating in the supports that were provided by the Foundation and expert consultants. Findings from the retrospective may be useful to other foundations as they decide how to fund and support youth-serving organizations.

Character

How Learning Happens Video Series

October 8, 2020

In this video series, Edutopia explores how educators can guide all students, regardless of their developmental starting points, to become productive and engaged learners.

Character

Healing the Impact of Racial Injustice and Inequity: The Role of Afterschool

August 21, 2020

On August 14, 2020, the How Kids Learn Foundation in partnership with the EduCare Foundation, welcomed Dr. Shawn Ginwright to lead a presentation on the Healing Impact of Racial Injustice and Inequity: The Role of Afterschool.The COVID-19 pandemic and the long list of African Americans killed by police has laid bare the racial injustice and inequity in our society. We know that many adult staff and many of our youth participants in afterschool are people of color. In the wake of this turmoil, how can we address the needs of our staff? How can we prepare staff and redesign our programs to promote racial healing? What is the best way to facilitate discussions of systemic racism? How is afterschool positioned for this? Should we urge/support youth to engage in civic action? And, is there a way to do some of this work remotely, as programs may not re-open in the Fall? Dr. Ginwright addresses some of these questions in his presentation and later answers participants' questions.

Character

Multiple Reflections: Comparison of Frameworks for Promoting Youth Learning and Healthy Development

August 1, 2020

Every year researchers and experts on youth learning and development issue reports with new concepts and frameworks. They are developed to guide the design and implementation of community initiatives, schools and youth programs. The purpose of this paper is to compare recent frameworks and note their commonalities. This paper offers a summary or overview of many of these frameworks as well as resources to learn more. It also provides a crosswalk chart to learn where their critical features overlap. 

Character

Lessons Learned for Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Y-USA's Out-of-School Time Programs

July 21, 2020

From 2017 to 2020, Child Trends served as the evaluation partner for the YMCA of the USA's (Y-USA) Character Development Learning Institute (CDLI); through that work, we learned about efforts to improve DEI in afterschool, summer learning, camps, and other OST programs during site visits to more than 100 YMCAs around the country. In this brief, we summarize lessons learned from that research for OST programs seeking ways to be more intentional in their efforts to strengthen DEI.

Character

Promoting Character Development in Youth Programs through Professional Development for Staff and Volunteers: Findings from an Evaluation of the YMCA of the USA’s Character Development Learning Institute

July 15, 2020

This brief summarizes the results from Child Trends' evaluation of the Character Development Learning Institute (CDLI), drawing from interviews, program observations, and surveys of staff and volunteers from many of the 208 Ys that participated in the final phase of the CDLI (see Appendix 3 for a summary of Ys in each phase). Child Trends has served as the evaluation and research partner for the CDLI since 2017, when the CDLI debuted its framework for a small cohort of Ys in what they called the "Translate phase" (Redd et. al., 2017; Stratford et. al, 2018; Redd et. al., 2019; Lantos et al., 2019). The data presented here were collected from fall 2019 to spring 2020. Following a brief summary of key findings, we provide background on the CDLI, describe the study methods, and offer detailed findings on the outcomes of the study.

Character

5 Things to Know about How Y-USA’s Technical Advisors Supported CDLI Sites

July 6, 2020

Implementing a new program or set of practices can be challenging. When the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) decided to roll out its Character Development Learning Institute (CDLI), the organization offered its support to local YMCAs (or Ys) in planning, implementing, and monitoring the quality of adult practices in five key areas. One strategy that Y-USA used to support staff in local Ys was to provide participating Ys with a technical advisor (TA). TAs are outside experts hired to support program leaders as they solve problems to better and more effectively serve program recipients. In youth development programs, TAs may have expertise on child development, youth engagement, youth retention, or other programmatic components. The CDLI initially included four TAs hired by Y-USA. Later, as the CDLI scaled, Y-USA added two additional TAs, each of whom had extensive experience in either local Ys or in other youth development programs.This brief describes five important lessons learned about TAs during Child Trends' evaluation of the CDLI. The CDLI was designed to be program-agnostic and serve children and youth ages 5 to 18. As a result, the elements that made peer support useful in this initiative may be applicable in a wide variety of other youth development programmatic settings.

Character

The Development and Experiences of Character Development Learning Institute Implementation Teams

July 6, 2020

Efforts to implement new policies, programs, or practices can be challenging, especially when the individuals leading or implementing the changes must juggle multiple responsibilites - as is often the case in nonprofit organizations. When the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) launched the Character Development Learning Institute (CDLI), the organization required that participating local YMCAs (Ys) establish implementation teams to guide their CDLI efforts. This brief describes the role of implementation teams and summarizes the experiences of local Ys - both positive and negative - in using this approach during their participation in the CDLI. While these experiences were part of a Y-USA initiative, we expect that some challenges and lessons learned may be instructive to other organizations seeking to implement new policies, programs, or practices. 

Character

Education Program Snapshot: Character

July 1, 2020

Recognizing that adults -- both in and out of the classroom -- play a pivotal role in building character in young people, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation invests in youth-serving organizations in California and across the nation that are committed to using data to improve and sustain the character development practices of adult staff and volunteers.The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation envisions children and youth developing the knowledge, skills, and character to explore and understand the world around them, growing into caring, informed, and productive adults. This snapshot, prepared as the Foundation nears conclusion in 2020, documents essential aspects of the National Character Initiative.

Character

Funding Character Development: What We Did. What We Learned.

July 1, 2020

In 2014, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation launched its National Character Initiative, committing $130 million over six years to advance character development practices in youth-serving organizations. Investments were directed toward organizations working outside the traditional school day and classroom environment to support learning and development that happens during recess, after-school, summer, one-on-one mentoring, sports activities, and nature-based programming. The Foundation collaborated with 13 national youth-serving organizations, several national intermediaries, policy-focused organizations, and the California after-school system. The direct-service organizations involved collectively reach over half of youth ages five to 18 years old in the United States. This brief provides Foundation staff's reflections on the Initiative, including progress made and lessons learned.This philanthropic partnership with some of the largest youth-serving organizations in the country spans six years, involves a system of diverse supports, and builds organization and field-level capacity to advance character, social-emotional learning, and developmental outcomes in young people. The process used and lessons learned may benefit other funders pursuing similar outcomes in out-of-school time settings.

Character

Thriving, Robust Equity, and Transformative Learning & Development: A More Powerful Conceptualization of the Contributors to Youth Success

July 1, 2020

This new conceptualization of youth success draws from more than 180 sources and makes an argument for new definitions to propel practice and policy that addresses educational and racial equity. The paper:Introduces a formula and a rationale for addressing thriving, equity, and learning and development together that helps us better focus on actionable social factors;Summarizes prevailing definitions of thriving, equity, and learning and development (and related terms);Takes a deeper dive into the dimensions that contribute to individual and collective thriving;Offers powerful and aligned conceptualizations of thriving, equity, and learning and development;Describes the opportunities and conditions required to ensure that efforts to create "equitable educational outcomes" or "equitable learning and development opportunities" are as powerful and inclusive as possible.

Character

Not Business as Usual: The Needs of Low-Income Youth of Color in the Era of COVID-19

June 23, 2020

On June 23, 2020, Dr. Pedro Noguera presented on the topic of the needs of low-income youth of color during the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities of color have been hit particularly hard in terms of number of cases and deaths, negative impacts on youth due to school and program closures and poor internet access. As we consider how afterschool programs can best serve the needs of all of our youth, both during the Summer and Fall, we need to first understand these dynamics.

Character

About this collection:   Presidents reflections | Intellectual property