Sparks was an original travel education program designed, funded, and operated by the Tauck Family Foundation from 2006 to 2012, with collaboration of seven youth agencies working with middle school students from low-income families.

Each year, approximately 150 students had the opportunity to expand their historical and geographic knowledge; practice positive decision-making; gain a greater appreciation for diversity and difference; and develop positive, supportive relationships with peers and adults.

Over the seven years that Sparks was in operation, more than 750 middle school students from Bridgeport, Norwalk, Stamford, Danbury, Ithaca, and Rochester experienced new people and places. Developed by our President, Liz Walters, and former Associate Director, Kendra St. John, the program consisted of an after-school curriculum and a six-day trip in the summer to three of our country's regions:

  • "Charting Our Course" (Boston and New England)
  • "In Others Shoes" (Washington, DC and the mid-Atlantic Region)
  • "California Dreaming" (San Francisco and Los Angeles)


Although the program's final year was 2012, the Tauck Family Foundation will honor its pledge of $1,000 college scholarships to the 100 alumni who completed all three curriculums.

We remain very grateful to the youth organizations that implemented Sparks, for their ongoing friendship and commitment to their students:

Domus (Stamford, CT)

Regional YMCA of Western Connecticut / ESCAPE to the Arts (Danbury, CT)

Ithaca Youth Bureau (Ithaca, NY)

McGivney Community Center (Bridgeport, CT)

Boys & Girls Club of Stamford (Stamford, CT)

Southwest Area Neighborhood / SWAN (Rochester, NY)

Wakeman Boys & Girls Club (Bridgeport, CT)


Learn more about our:

Board of Directors



Past Grantees