National News

New Website & Brand On the Way

05.31.17: New Website & Brand On the Way

Learn more about Spark's plans for a new website and brand refresh!


Spark Announces New Executive Director in Los Angeles

05.15.17: Spark Announces New Executive Director in Los Angeles

Spark LA's Janine Berridge advances to senior regional leadership role.


Hulu’s Partnership with Spark in Delta Sky Magazine

05.10.17: Hulu’s Partnership with Spark in Delta Sky Magazine

Read about Spark's partnership with Hulu in the Delta Sky Magazine.  “When employees are of service to the community, they become more empowered at work,” says Jim O’Gorman, Senior Vice President, Talent and Organization at Hulu in a recent issue of Delta Sky magazine.  “Being a positive, influential member of the community is crucial to growth and sustainability… A company’s success is closely related to its community’s success.”


Spark Featured on NBC’s “Give”

05.03.17: Spark Featured on NBC’s “Give”

Thanks to the generosity of the Eisner Foundation, Spark brought the "Give" crew to meet students and mentors at the Hulu office where they learned what Spark mentorships are all about!

 


Mentor Honored as Volunteer of the Week

04.05.17: Mentor Honored as Volunteer of the Week

Congratulations to Spark Chicago mentor Keith Ellis!  Each semester, Keith goes above and beyond to ensure all of the Spark students at his workplace, United Airlines, are able to explore new skills and discover their potential to achieve big dreams.


Spark Implements Mindsets Research & Resources

03.31.17: Spark Implements Mindsets Research & Resources

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence and abilities can be developed over time.  Learn more about how Spark fosters growth mindsets with support from mentors and educators.


Chief Program Officer Joins Thought Leadership Group

02.23.17: Chief Program Officer Joins Thought Leadership Group

Spark is pleased to have Chief Program Officer Kathleen S. Caliento, PhD join the ranks of 20+ thought leaders participating in EqualEd's ambition to generate discussion around positive change in the US education system. Designed to unite teachers and policy influencers including education researchers, advocates, foundation funders and lawmakers, this group will contribute to regular surveys on solutions to major issues in education. EqualEd hopes to highlight common ground and explain the reasons for diverging views. EqualEd will publish the results in newsletter and in story form.


$75,000 grant connects 300 LA students with mentors at top workplaces

02.14.17: $75,000 grant connects 300 LA students with mentors at top workplaces

The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation announced a grant of $50,000 to strengthen its strategic partnership with Spark Los Angeles.  The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation’s investment unlocked a $25,000 matching grant from Focusing Philanthropy, who partners with nonprofits to enhance fundraising and increase impact. Together, their grants will fuel Spark’s mission to inspire 7th, 8th and 9th graders from underserved communities to succeed in high school and beyond by engaging them with mentors and future careers.


TrueCar Promotes Partnership with Spark

01.26.17: TrueCar Promotes Partnership with Spark

Spark's corporate partners bring mentorships to life! Meet Spark students and their inspiring TrueCar mentors. From video games to the medical field, these mentorships have fostered a world of possibilities. 


Spark Selected for Epic Foundation Global Portfolio

01.23.17: Spark Selected for Epic Foundation Global Portfolio

Spark was selected as one of 10 organizations - among 1,900 applicants at-large - added to Epic Foundation’s existing global portfolio of 20.


A New Look on the Way for Spark

01.20.17: A New Look on the Way for Spark

Spark announces "brand refresh" with a new look on the way in the January 2017 newsletter.


Spark Los Angeles Volunteer Honored with Excellence in Mentoring Award

01.17.17: Spark Los Angeles Volunteer Honored with Excellence in Mentoring Award

Spark is proud to recognize Sam Powel, a volunteer in Los Angeles, as one of four recipients of the Excellence in Mentoring Award! 


Spark Leader Selected for Civic Leadership Academy

01.11.17: Spark Leader Selected for Civic Leadership Academy

Spark is proud to announce Chief Program Officer Kathleen S. Caliento, PhD, was selected as one 30 local government and nonprofit leaders for the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago class of 2017!


Celebrate Mentoring in January 2017

01.01.17: Celebrate Mentoring in January 2017

Get involved in the mentoring movement!  Learn more about National Mentoring Month. #MentorIRL


National Mentoring Resource Center Features Spark

09.29.16: National Mentoring Resource Center Features Spark

How does career-focused mentoring work?  Why is middle school the right time for career exploration?  Learn more in this National Mentoring Resource Center blog post from Spark's Chief Program Officer. 


Spark Featured in Report on Data-Driven Best Practices

09.12.16: Spark Featured in Report on Data-Driven Best Practices

Spark is featured in a new report designed to help organizations improve programs and succeed in their college access mission with data insights.


Building an Opportunity Nation

09.10.16: Building an Opportunity Nation

Spark joined hundreds of cross-sector business leaders, community organizations, policymakers and young adults for the 2016 Opportunity Summit in New York City. 


Celebrating September: Attendance Awareness Month

09.01.16: Celebrating September: Attendance Awareness Month

Can mentoring have a tangible impact on student attendance?  Learn more this month. 


Spark Adds Finance Executives to National Board of Directors

08.02.16: Spark Adds Finance Executives to National Board of Directors

Leadership, expertise, and experience are what finance executives, Elena Gomez of Zendesk and Ben Rowe of KHP Capital Partners, bring to Spark as they serve as the newest members of the National Board of Directors.


A Record-Setting Year: 2015-2016 Updates

07.01.16: A Record-Setting Year: 2015-2016 Updates

More mentors, more students and more schools! The 2015-2016 school year was a year of growth for Spark. Spark now serves more students and schools and has gained more inspiring mentors. 


One Mentor’s Experience

05.23.16: One Mentor’s Experience

Curious about what it's like to mentor with Spark? Scott Blair is a Spark mentor and the Vice President of Finance and Operations at Activision, a leading worldwide developer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment and leisure products. Scott shares his mentoring experience in a spring blog post. 


#CelebrateService in April

03.31.16: #CelebrateService in April

April is National Volunteer Month!  Join Spark in celebrating service and the benefits of mentoring.


Spark Presents at National Mentoring Summit

02.01.16: Spark Presents at National Mentoring Summit

Spark's Director of Program Innovation shares her National Mentoring Summit experience and the importance of successfully transitioning to high school.  


National Mentoring Month: Bringing Mentoring to Life

01.14.16: National Mentoring Month: Bringing Mentoring to Life

National Mentoring Month offers simple ways for all of us to make an individual impact in 2016 through mentoring.


Celebrate National Mentoring Month 2016

01.01.16: Celebrate National Mentoring Month 2016

Volunteer, donate and share your mentoring story in support of the 13th National Mentoring Month. 


Spark Partners to Invest Long-Term in Middle School

11.10.15: Spark Partners to Invest Long-Term in Middle School

Over the next five years, Spark and other education-based organizations from across the nation will collectively invest more than $620 million to enhance learning for over 1.3 million 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th graders through the new Expanded Learning Middle School Initiative.


Spark Bay Area Board Chair Receives Award for Excellence in Board Leadership

11.09.15: Spark Bay Area Board Chair Receives Award for Excellence in Board Leadership

Spark is proud to announce Garen Corbett, Bay Area Advisory Board Chairman, as recipient of the 2015-16 Holly Depatie Award for Excellence in Board Leadership.

 

 


Spark Celebrates 10th Anniversary

11.09.15: Spark Celebrates 10th Anniversary

 Spark celebrates its 10th anniversary with a reception for supporters in San Francisco. 


Investing in the Transition from Middle School to High School

10.19.15: Investing in the Transition from Middle School to High School

An article from Philanthropy News Digest showcases Spark's High School Readiness and Transition Initative. 


The Importance of Preparation for High School

10.13.15: The Importance of Preparation for High School

This article from Education Week discusses the importance of preparation for high school and highlights Spark's newly acquired grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. 


Multi-Year Grant Helps Students Successfully Transition into High School

10.12.15: Multi-Year Grant Helps Students Successfully Transition into High School

Spark announces $1.2 million in funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to support its High School Readiness and Transition Initiative.


Spark CEO Featured on GradNation Blog

10.06.15: Spark CEO Featured on GradNation Blog

Read Jason Cascarino's response to the new Don't Quit on Me report from America's Promise Alliance


Spark selected as one of five Lincoln’s Legacy Award finalists

09.14.15: Spark selected as one of five Lincoln’s Legacy Award finalists

Spark supporters are encouraged to vote for Spark between September 14 and October 2, 2015 to help the organization win $50,000 to further its mission.


Education Week Highlights Spark & Need for Middle School Career Exposure

07.15.15: Education Week Highlights Spark & Need for Middle School Career Exposure

Education Week's "Career Prep Moves Into Middle Schools" discusses the importance of real-world experience for younger students and touts mentoring and corporations as important resources.


Spark Announces Funding for New Content on Interactive Online Learning Platform

07.14.15: Spark Announces Funding for New Content on Interactive Online Learning Platform

Spark is pleased to announce funding from the All Points North Foundation to be used over three years in developing training and educational content for its interactive online learning portal.


Foundations for Young Adult Success

06.25.15: Foundations for Young Adult Success

A report from The University of Chicago analyzes young people's developmental needs and frameworks for success. Our Chief Knowledge Officer, Kelly Dwyer, weighs in on the changes experienced during adolescence. Our Executive Director, Kathleen St. Louis Caliento addresses the importance in forming connections between schoolwork and student's lives.


Spark Announces Vice President of California Regions

06.09.15: Spark Announces Vice President of California Regions

Spark is pleased to announce the promotion of Spark LA's Yoon S. Choi, Ph.D., to Vice President of California Regions role


Spark Board Leadership Transition

04.27.15: Spark Board Leadership Transition

Spark names Adrian K. Haugabrook Ph.D. Chair of its National Board of Directors


The Apprenticeship Approach

04.22.15: The Apprenticeship Approach

An article written by Spark's CEO Jason Cascarino was featured this month on the Association for Middle Level Education's website! Jason explains why Spark's apprenticeship approach is tailor made for the middle level grades. 


What the Right ‘Spark’ in Middle School Can Ignite

04.06.15: What the Right ‘Spark’ in Middle School Can Ignite

Wells Fargo employees give back through Spark's workplace-based mentoring program to help students build new skills and explore careers!


The Importance of a Successful Transition to High School

03.11.15: The Importance of a Successful Transition to High School

Spark’s March 11, 2015 Quarterly Investor Call featured Camille Farrington, Research Associate and Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research.


Spark Partners for Expanded Learning Summit

03.10.15: Spark Partners for Expanded Learning Summit

Spark is partnering with Citizen Schools, Higher Achievement and other leaders in the expanded learning field to host a day-long summit on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 in Washington, DC. The Summit will bring together a wide rage of voices--from policy makers to practitioners--to focus on making expanded learning opportunities the new normal for all students.


This March, Spark’s on a Mission to Advocate for Middle Level Education

03.02.15: This March, Spark’s on a Mission to Advocate for Middle Level Education

“Middle Level Education Month” seeks to build awareness that education during adolescent years is a crucial and formative experience that greatly impacts students’ futures.


All Points North Foundation Invests in Success for Spark Middle Grades Students

02.10.15: All Points North Foundation Invests in Success for Spark Middle Grades Students

With funding from the All Points North Foundation, Spark is keeping local seventh and eighth graders on track for success and raising awareness nationally to support students in the middle grades.


Wharton Social Impact - Call to Action

01.15.15: Wharton Social Impact - Call to Action

University of Pennsylvania's Social Impact Initiative encourages Penn community to mentor with Spark!


Technically Philly

01.08.15: Technically Philly

Featuring a game desgined by Spark students from William Dick Elementary at company partner RJMetrics! 


Spark Featured on Esquire Network

12.23.14: Spark Featured on Esquire Network

Esquire TV features Spark in "How to Make a Man," a show about the importance of mentoring. 


Dr. Adrian Haugabrook of Wheelock College Joins Spark Board of Directors

12.09.14: Dr. Adrian Haugabrook of Wheelock College Joins Spark Board of Directors

Spark Board Member, Dr. Adrian Haugabrook featured on the Boston Business Journal.


National Education Policy Expert Joins Spark’s National Board of Directors

12.01.14: National Education Policy Expert Joins Spark’s National Board of Directors

Youth mentoring nonprofit welcomes Wheelock College’s Dr. Adrian K. Haugabrook to the Board


Sparking the Next Generation of Students and Mentors

11.20.14: Sparking the Next Generation of Students and Mentors

Spark and Cornerstone OnDemand are working together to improve the student and mentor experience with a new online platform.


Development Executive Joins Spark National Team

09.10.14: Development Executive Joins Spark National Team

Spark Welcomes Jane Walsh, Managing Director of Development & Partnerships


Alyssa Rapp Joins Spark National Board

08.04.14: Alyssa Rapp Joins Spark National Board

Spark welcomes new National Board Member, Alyssa Rapp. 


Entrepreneur, CEO and Author Joins Spark’s National Board of Directors

07.30.14: Entrepreneur, CEO and Author Joins Spark’s National Board of Directors

Spark is pleased to welcome Alyssa Rapp as the newest member of its National Board of Directors.  Rapp is the Founder & CEO of Bottlenotes, Inc. where she runs the leading interactive media company in the U.S. for the wine and craft beer industry. She is also the author of Bottlenotes Guide to Wine: Around the World in 80 Sips.


Spark Celebrates Winning Cities in US2020 STEM Mentoring Competition

05.28.14: Spark Celebrates Winning Cities in US2020 STEM Mentoring Competition

Spark offers STEM-focused mentoring opportunities in three of the seven cities awarded!


Kim Davis Charlot Joins Spark Team

05.15.14: Kim Davis Charlot Joins Spark Team

Spark welcomes Kim Davis Charlot as Executive Director for the Bay Area region.  


Spark Board Member Named “Financial Woman of the Year”

05.12.14: Spark Board Member Named “Financial Woman of the Year”

Spark Board Vice Chair Sarah Friar was named the 2014 Woman of the Year by the Financial Women of San Francisco.


Spark CEO Presents at National GradNation Summit

04.25.14: Spark CEO Presents at National GradNation Summit

Jason Cascarino and fellow panelists present the case that investing in resources for the middle grades can reengage students and help increase graduation rates.


Spark Joins the GradNation Movement & More

03.27.14: Spark Joins the GradNation Movement & More

Catch up on Spark news, including their presentation at the GradNation Summit!


Spark Students Go Behind the Scenes at the 2014 Oscars Celebrations

02.28.14: Spark Students Go Behind the Scenes at the 2014 Oscars Celebrations

Eleven Spark LA students previewed the Oscars Winning Envelopes thanks to support from Marc Friedland Couture Communications!


Spark’s National Board Grows

02.13.14: Spark’s National Board Grows

Hilarie Koplow-McAdams joins Spark's National Board of Directors.  


Software Sales Veteran Joins Spark’s Board

02.12.14: Software Sales Veteran Joins Spark’s Board

Spark welcomes New Relic’s Hilarie Koplow-McAdams to the National Board of Directors!


Spark & the United Way Team Up to Fight Poverty

01.30.14: Spark & the United Way Team Up to Fight Poverty

This blog post from a Spark staff member addresses the challenges faced by Spark students. 


Tom Joyner Morning Show Helps Spark Recruit Mentors

01.23.14: Tom Joyner Morning Show Helps Spark Recruit Mentors

Spark Chicago calls for more mentors during National Mentoring Month on this radio show's "Community Watch" segment.  


Spark Celebrates “Thank Your Mentor Day”

01.16.14: Spark Celebrates “Thank Your Mentor Day”

Spark CEO Jason Cascarino recognizes the importance of mentoring and thanks Spark mentors for their work. 


Busch Update Radio Interviews Spark Founder

12.20.13: Busch Update Radio Interviews Spark Founder

Listen to Spark Co-Founder Chris Balme discuss social entrepreneurship with BlogTalk Radio host, Andrew Busch.  


The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring

11.20.13: The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring

"...connected learning is learning that is interest-driven, socially-embedded, and academically-oriented."  Learn more about how Spark's program model integrates connected learning in this article from The Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoring.


Chicago Business Journal

11.04.13: Chicago Business Journal

Spark's new CEO, Jason Cascarino, is featured in the People On the Move section. 


Spark Announces New CEO

11.01.13: Spark Announces New CEO

Meet Jason Cascarino, Spark's incoming CEO!


Wharton Magazine

10.10.13: Wharton Magazine

Read Spark Founder & CEO Chris Balme’s tips for quickly getting to know a nonprofit!  


The Foundation Boys Honor Spark

10.04.13: The Foundation Boys Honor Spark

The Foundation Boys honor Spark as one of their “Eight Organizations For Outstanding Community and Civic Work Throughout the U.S.”  Spark Co-Founder Chris Balme was excited to accept the Education Award!


Do Good LA

09.15.13: Do Good LA

The Challenge of Being A Good Nonprofit 
Do Good LA celebrates Spark for being at the forefront of social change. Check out how we’re getting it right!


Huffington Post

08.15.13: Huffington Post

An article by The Foundation Boys in the Huffington Post calls for a "culture of education" in the US to give children what they need: opportunity.  "By providing our kids with the tools they need to reach any goal they can imagine for themselves, we ensure that our country maintains its technological and economic strength and its innovative and competitive edge."  The article references Spark as a creative solution to America's K-12 educational challenges.  Learn more about The Foundation Boys on their website.


Wharton Entrepreneurship Blog

07.22.13: Wharton Entrepreneurship Blog

Spark's Co-Founder and CEO, Chris Balme, writes about the increasingly blurred lines between nonprofits and for-profits.  


Make It Better 2012 Philanthropy Awards

02.15.13: Make It Better 2012 Philanthropy Awards

Spark won the 2012 Make It Better Philanthropy Award for Most Inspiring Mission (National)


Advancing Philanthropy

05.04.12: Advancing Philanthropy

Advancing Philanthropy, a periodical by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, tells the Spark story.


Spring 2012 National Newsletter

04.24.12: Spring 2012 National Newsletter

From the Chicago skyline to the east coast - see what's new at Spark!


Wharton Magazine

01.26.12: Wharton Magazine

Wharton Magazine recognizes Spark Co-Founder & CEO Chris Balme as a Wharton alum making a real social impact in the world.


NoDropouts.org

11.11.11: NoDropouts.org

Spark featured on NoDropouts.org, a blog that facilitates an ongoing conversation about all the ways in which students, parents, teachers, administrators and community allies are fighting — and winning — the battle against the dropout crisis.


NBC’s Today Show

10.05.11: NBC’s Today Show

Learn about Spark from current Chicago students, a Spark alum, and Executive Director Chris Balme.


Christian Science Monitor

11.08.10: Christian Science Monitor

Read what it’s like during orientation at Horace Mann Middle School where students, their families, and their mentors meet for the first time.


Spark inspires 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to succeed in high school and beyond by connecting them with mentors in leading workplaces and supporting their academic journey with skill-building and resources. By engaging working professionals and connecting businesses with local communities, Spark empowers the next generation to perform better in school, graduate on time and lead fulfilling careers and lives.

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