Our mission is to invest in organizations and initiatives that equip the children of Bridgeport, Connecticut with the necessary social and emotional skills to thrive academically and in life.

Our Approach

Our vision is for children in Bridgeport, Connecticut to be empowered and successful in their education and reach their full potential.

In 2012, the Tauck Family Foundation's Board of Directors adopted a new strategy aimed at investing long-term in organizations committed to Bridgeport’s children, and to strengthening each organization’s capacity to equip them with the social and emotional skills necessary to succeed throughout their education. We were guided in this shift in strategy by a desire to help create better outcomes for children from low‐income families and to focus our efforts in a way that would strengthen our non‐profit investees over time.

In 2013, we selected a small portfolio of non-profit organizations, and are investing in strengthening each organization’s organizational outcomes and performance management capacity, specifically to measure and monitor the social and emotional skills of their students.  From 2014 to 2018, each of our investees has made significant progress in their own organizational capacity, particularly in the areas of outcomes-focused management and implementing high-quality social and emotional learning strategies. Investees have also had the opportunity to meet and share their progress at annual cohort gatherings.

We have been guided in our overall logic framework, theory of change, social investing strategy, and performance management approach by our work with David Hunter of Hunter Consulting, and increasingly influenced by The Performance Imperative: A Framework for Social-Sector Excellence and its seven pillars of high performance.

We also partnered with the non-profit research firm, Child Trends, to review the research literature and identify which social and emotional skills were most critical for student educational success. We also commissioned Child Trends to develop surveys that can be used by our investees to measure and monitor the development of these skills in a performance management setting. In 2014, TFF commissioned a final report summarizing our work with Child Trends, entitled Measuring Elementary School Students' Social and Emotional Skills.

Building on our work with Child Trends, we are now partnering with Dr. Stephanie Jones and her team at the Harvard Graduate School of Education to provide social and emotional strategies training and support to several of our investees. And, each of our investees are implementing efforts to meaningfully engage families in their SEL work and beyond.

We invite you to read the logic framework that guides our strategy below, as well as the Rationale for our Mission to understand why we chose this direction.

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The Tauck Family Foundation has adopted the following Logic Framework that guides our approach:

  1. Children from low-income families generally are less likely to succeed academically than more affluent children, and children of ethnic and racial minorities are achieving well below those with white parents.
  2. Strong research shows that there are certain social and emotional skills that help children succeed in school and life, including self-control, persistence, mastery orientation to learning, academic self-efficacy, and social competence.
  3. If children from low-income families are given the opportunity to strengthen these social and emotional skills, they will have a better chance of benefitting from school in the short term.
  4. Short term academic achievement—by third grade—is highly predictive of long-term academic achievement and attainment.
  5. The social and emotional skills that help children succeed in elementary school are malleable, that is, can be improved by intentional activities and practice.
  6. Once children have the necessary skills to succeed in elementary school, it follows that they will be more likely to succeed academically in middle school. Since the habits developed in middle school are strong indicators of whether students graduate from high school prepared for college, middle school academic performance is a key to higher academic attainment.
  7. In the United States, high academic attainment is the one reliable ladder for children from low-income families to navigate poverty.
  8. If the Tauck Family Foundation invests in organizations working with children in Bridgeport, Connecticut—the largest city in the state with the widest achievement gap—and specifically select non-profit investees that are dedicated to learning how to strengthen children’s social and emotional skills, then the Tauck Family Foundation can be confident that its investments will be contributing to the kinds of short-term outcomes that will give these children a much better chance of succeeding in middle school and beyond.
  9. However, to succeed in this investment approach, the Tauck Family Foundation will ensure its investees have or develop robust theories of change regarding these matters, are delivering the specific outcome-driven activities reliably, at high levels of quality, and doing so sustainably. Further, the Foundation will support its investees in collecting and monitoring the right data for each child so that the investees know that the children are benefiting from these activities as intended.
  10. Thus, the Tauck Family Foundation will expect to see the strengthening of organizational capacities and competencies related to managing program performance at its investee organizations as the first set of investment outcomes. These outcomes will then become inputs into the child-level, social and emotional outcomes that the Foundation has selected as its focus.
For sources, please see our References section.

Learn more about our:

Rationale for Mission

Theory of Change

Structure of Investments