America Forward Coalition Members Step Up – December 2022

Every month, America Forward highlights examples of the vital work being done by our Coalition members to support students, families, educators, workers, elected leaders, advocates, and communities across the country. If your organization has resources, an announcement, or a story you would like to see included, please send it to

 Big Thought

In service of their work to empower young people in historically marginalized communities, Big Thought created The Fellowship Initiative, “A leadership program designed to support young men of color with college aspirations, prepare them for their entrance into the professional sphere, and empower them to be positive leaders in their communities all while acknowledging the realities of living as a member of a marginalized group.” Applications for The Fellowship Initiative Dallas are now open for those interested in supporting young leaders through knowledge-building sessions, social and emotional development, leadership skill-building, mentorship, and more. 

Acelero Learning/Early Shine Learning

Acelero Learning’s mission is to provide inclusive, anti-bias approaches to expand equity and empower children and families to reach their full potential in school and in life. In support of that work, they recently launched the third season of their webinar series Together We Shine in collaboration with their sister organization, Shine Early Learning. The series focuses on how to engage families in early childhood education equitably, and episodes are now available for online viewing.


Mortar is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs in marginalized communities, connecting them with resources and mentors as they work to get their businesses off the ground. Last month, Mortar announced the reopening of their Brick Pop-Up Shops, which offer their program alumni a temporary storefront space at a lower rate in downtown Cincinnati to help build experience in shop ownership and increase name recognition.

Citizen Schools

Next month, Citizen Schools will host a two-day Experiential Learning Professional Development Workshop for California school district leaders, educators, and school staff. The workshop will be held on January 25 and January 26 and will give participants the opportunity to:

  • Enhance their knowledge about the landscape of educational innovation
  • Become familiar with a process-based approach to interdisciplinary learning and creativity
  • Explore how authentic experiential learning can support their students social, emotional, and academic development 

LIFT Communities

LIFT’s work to invest in families and break cycles of poverty through personalized programming has been more critical than ever as communities continue to respond to and recover from the converging challenges of the past few years. In their recently released end-of-year report, they introduce the families they work with and detail the impact this work has had on uplifting communities and improving outcomes across the country.  

Peer Forward

PeerForward understands the power of peer influence and the pivotal role that positive peer-to-peer relationships can play in encouraging the pursuit of college and career goals. In service of this work to foster strong peer-to-peer relationships and transform the lives of young people living in low-income communities, PeerForward offers open access resources, with support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, “to support Youth Activation teams comprised of students and adults as they tackle college access and related challenges in their communities.” 

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