Partnering For

Real Change

17-Year Partnership with the Charles Hayden Foundation

Summer Search partners with foundations to deepen its impact, refine its unique Depth Mentoring approach, and influence the wider field by sharing methods, techniques, and expertise with peer organizations, universities and colleges, and corporations nationally.

2020 Grant Award

In April 2020, Summer Search Boston and New York City were awarded a $250,000 grant signifying the 17th year of partnership with the Charles Hayden Foundation, which has remained a steadfast collaborator throughout the organizational history of the Summer Search Boston and New York City sites. The grant supported general operations and was paramount to creating organizational stability and strength. 

Historical Impact

When the Charles Hayden Foundation made its first grant to Summer Search Boston in 2003, we were serving fewer than 45 students. Today, our Boston and New York City Summer Search sites are collectively serving 782 high school students and 1,093 post-secondary students: with the beneficial effects of our programming rippling to nearly 2,000 families across our two cities.

Relationships Matter

We are particularly grateful that the Charles Hayden Foundation’s commitment to its mission remains deeply personal. The Foundation’s leadership team knows our students; their names, their stories, their schools, their hopes for the future. The Foundation truly embodies its mission by investing in programs that serve youth who are most at-risk of not reaching their full potential. The  Foundation is helping us, and so many other organizations, build a stronger, more inclusive society that understands and avoids the detrimental impact of letting the talents of all young people go unrecognized and unexplored. Enormous thanks to Kenneth Merin, Carol Argento and Sonni Holland for their unwavering commitment to Summer Search students and our program. 

Black Lives Matter

While discussions of race, power, white supremacy culture and systemic racism are an ongoing part of the Summer Search mentoring curriculum, these issues have not historically been discussed in the field of philanthropy. We are particularly grateful to the Charles Hayden Foundation for their commitment to working towards racial justice in their philanthropic practice and for thoughtfully engaging their grantees in candid and trusting conversations for learning and feedback. Together, we will meaningfully impact the future of racial and social equity.   


We are enormously proud to share that 70% of Summer Search Boston and New York City students have earned a 4-year degree within six years of high school graduation, compared to 21% of their first-generation, college-going peers from the same income bracket nationally. Collectively, 1,518 Boston and New York City Summer Search alumni are now making their way in the world as purpose-driven, thriving young adults and contributing to a more powerful, effective and just society.

Transform the Field of Mentoring Youth Who Face the Opportunity Gap:

Three decades of working with young people who are likely to have multiple risk-factors has taught Summer Search that our mentoring approach needs to be culturally responsive and foster skills that lead to positive outcomes. Our mentoring practice uniquely integrates social and emotional intelligence/skill-building, identity formation, and critical consciousness (i.e. the naming and claiming of racial and cultural identity), all while being sensitive to trauma experienced by many first-generation young people of color.

Partnership Spotlight:

The Jolene McCaw Family Foundation invests in programs that promote mental health and well-being and has been an instrumental partner to Summer Search since 2015 as Summer Search has refined its unique Depth Mentoring model of supporting young people. In 2019, the Jolene McCaw Family Foundation made a $250,000 commitment to Summer Search to support the launch of Summer Search’s Depth Mentoring Institute, a key strategic initiative intended to codify an impactful mentoring practice across the Summer Search network and scale the model to other youth-serving organizations.

The $250,000 grant is funding the first two years of a four-year project plan, during which the Institute will be created and readied for scale through an internal pilot, launch of a rigorous evaluation, convening of an advisory council to develop a partnership pipeline, and an external pilot with another youth-serving organization. The Institute aims to build an understanding of the frequent generational, financial, and racial chasm that can exist between young people and well-meaning adults.