Edward E. Ford Foundation Awards Transformative Leadership Grant to Wildwood's Institute Model Program
Posted 05/10/2018 05:07PM


Photo credit: Alexus P. '22, Wildwood 8th grader.

Wildwood was recently awarded a $250,000 matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, a premier funder of independent schools. Wildwood is one of only four schools to be honored in 2018 and is the sole awardee in the western United States. The award will be used to support the expansion of Wildwood’s Institute Model program and launch the second of three academic institutes organized and run by students—the Wildwood Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership. The inaugural director of the new Institute is Callie Kamada, who comes to Wildwood from Westminster School’s Glenn Institute for Philanthropy and Service Learning in Atlanta.

The Wildwood Institute for Social Good and Community Leadership will center on finding ways to address challenging social issues such as poverty and unequal access to resources; cultivate in students the expertise needed for grassroots organizing; and provide them with the necessary skills to serve as nonprofit leaders, volunteers, and trustees.

Wildwood academic Institutes bring together motivated scholars who develop their learning outcomes alongside professionals and graduate students. The Institute Model is a hallmark program for teaching and learning at Wildwood’s upper school. It provides a framework for the best ways to help students develop skills that are essential to success: mastering content, risk-taking, problem-solving, critical-thinking, collaboration, and navigating unfamiliar situations with comfort.

In a letter to Head of School Landis Green announcing the grant award, John C. Gulla, Executive Director of The Edward E. Ford Foundation, said, “…The Institute Model holds such promise, not just for your school but for others as well. I look forward to watching how things unfold in the years ahead.”

Wildwood Head of School Landis Green said, “The Edward E. Ford Foundation is a standard-bearer for supporting innovation and new models of working with middle and high school students, so it’s especially gratifying to have them provide such powerful support for our efforts to keep students where they belong, which is at the center of their learning.”

This is the second major grant the school has received from the Foundation in the past three years. The first, awarded in 2015, helped fund the school’s inaugural Institute—Wildwood Institute for STEM Research and Development (WISRD)—which is internationally acclaimed.

About the Institute Model
The Institute Model marries the acquisition of academic content with the development of skills such as student initiative, productivity, and leadership. Students lead Institutes organized around big, bold ideas and collaborate with universities, entrepreneurs, and nonprofits. With guidance from faculty mentors, students figure out how to acquire the knowledge necessary to do original, real-world work. Rooted in Wildwood’s deep-seated community value of “service to the common good,” and aligned with the school’s multicultural and global citizenship programming, the Institute Model addresses complicated world issues through the lens of affecting positive change.

About the Edward E. Ford Foundation:
The mission of The Edward E. Ford Foundation is to strengthen and support independent secondary schools and to challenge and inspire them to leverage their unique talents, expertise and resources to advance teaching and learning throughout this country by supporting and disseminating best practice, by supporting efforts to develop and implement models of sustainability, and by encouraging collaboration with other institutions.