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Summer grant program for youth emphasizes math and reading

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Spring is the time of year that many not-for-profits hope to land grants that will help them reach kids over the summer, and 163 of them are hearing good news on that front.

The Summer Youth Program Fund, a collaborative grant-making effort overseen by the Central Indiana Community Foundation, will provide $2.5 million for a host of enrichment activities.

The fund, launched in 1995, has its roots in making sure kids have access to swimming pools and fun activities, but lately the grant-makers also want to make sure the previous nine months of learning stick. That’s why one of this year’s grantees is Summer Advantage USA, which will reach Indianapolis Public Schools for the first time.

Created by former Harvard University law student Earl Phalen in Boston, Summer Advantage promises to pack three months’ worth of improvement in reading and math into five weeks. The program broadened its geographic footprint in 2009 when Phalen was chosen as a fellow by the Indianapolis-based Mind Trust.

Summer Advantage has reached hundreds of students in Decatur, Lawrence and Warren township schools.

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