2015 Awardees

The 2015 Rathmann Challenge focused on “Provisions for Personal Necessities in Preparation for Learning” and sought ways to support educators in addressing issues which interfere with PreK-12 students’ abilities to be fully present in the classroom. The applications received were extraordinary and addressed many issues: food, clothing, classroom supplies, shelter, personal care, dental, medical, mental health and legal support (e.g. immigration, juvenile and custodial issues). Of the many highly qualified organizations that applied, the following four were selected for funding.

Vision To Learn

California, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Maryland and Michigan
Vision To Learn seeks to deliver access to quality vision care for the 2 million children nationwide who lack the glasses they need to see the board, read a book, study math or participate in class. Vision To Learn solves this problem by providing free eye exams and eyeglasses via mobile clinics that travel to schools and community organizations. By providing a critical educational tool to children in low-income communities, Vision To Learn improves students’ ability to succeed in school, and in life.

In October 2016, Vision To Learn was awarded the inaugural Even Bigger Idea® grant. The funding will support Vision To Learn’s ambitious national rollout of their program to 10 new states with the potential to impact the lives of tens of thousands of children. Key components to their plan include aligning Medicaid reimbursement dollars to support student vision health and the expansion of their proven partnerships with local businesses and sports team. Building and delivering programming state by state brings Vision To Learn closer to their goal of the solving the childhood vision health problem across the United States.

The Solution Is Simple

An Even Bigger Idea by Vision To Learn

Hope House

Washington, DC
Hope House works with fathers in prison helping them stay connected to their children and families. Unique and innovative programming includes video conferencing (more than 2500 sessions completed), a family literacy program (more than 20,000 books recorded by dads in prison and sent home to their kids), and the Father to Child Summer Camp (37 behind bars gatherings held for kids and dads) running a week in length. Since 1998, Hope House has helped hundreds of families stay together through the most difficult of times.

The Health and Education Alliance of Louisiana

New Orleans, LA
The Health and Education Alliance of Louisiana* (HEAL) improves opportunities for children to succeed in school and life. HEAL believes that educators and health care providers must address physical, social, emotional, and academic development collectively. HEAL connects children with the care they need, building nurturing support and services in their schools, creating safe environments for them to live and learn, and enhancing their families and communities in the process.

*f.k.a. The Childhood & Family Learning Foundation


Baltimore, MD
Thread enrolls Baltimore City Public School System students who rank in the bottom quartile of their 9th grade class and face vast obstacles to their high school and post-secondary success, from missing fundamental academic skills to lacking stable housing. Thread achieves remarkable results by supporting students for a period of 10 years and surrounding each student with a group of volunteers - a Thread Family – who provide the student with continuous support and increased access to community resources while deeply enriching the lives of committed volunteers.