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11/3/11 - Funding for City Kids and Teens to Geek Out Anytime, Anywhere

Contact: Ani Hurwitz, VP, Communications
212.686.0010 x224 | | @nycommtrust

Funding for City Kids and Teens to Geek Out Anytime, Anywhere:
$590,000 for 12 Groups that Help Kids Connect and Learn through Digital Media

11/3, New York—They’re always on their cells or tapping away on laptops and tablets. They create and plan their social lives digitally and can find the right app for anything. But for all their perceived savvy, many teenagers haven’t begun to explore technology’s vast potential for learning. In recent years, museums, libraries, and other nonprofits have stepped into the breach, but much more can be done. In a major effort to expand the possibilities for digital learning, The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and The New York Community Trust created the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in 2010.

Grants from this fund support a network of New York City nonprofits tapping into teens’ digital lives to encourage their creativity, interests, and learning. All grantees are members of the Hive Learning Network NYC, housed at the Mozilla Foundation, and are required to work together on projects and share their progress with each other, illuminating what works—and what doesn’t—in the ever-evolving world of digital media.

The grants below, approved in October, will help develop and expand projects that use smart phones, iPads, social networks, and programming skills to help students become media makers as well as consumers, connecting the social and academic and making the world a better place. Working with groups such as the New York Public Library, Urban Word NYC, MOUSE, and others, young people will create GPS-based scavenger hunts; develop online media platforms; map skateboard parks throughout the City; stream live recordings of original poetry; create online journals; and shoot, produce, edit, upload, and share digital media.

“In order for programs to be successful, they must be intrinsically motivating and relevant to kids and teens,” says Chris Lawrence, director of Hive Learning Network NYC. “This is what drives us to work with subcultures and interests such as skateboarding, gaming, and science fiction, while at the same time increasing young people’s digital literacy and encouraging them as makers.” And when kids create, they jump at the chance to show off their skills. A grant to MOUSE will organize youth in the Hive Network to join and help lead Emoti-Con!, a digital media and technology competition and festival in June 2012.

“With this round of grants, we are eager to gather research on our emergent definition of Connected Learning—how we understand the connection between learning and social interactions, passions, educators, and mentors—and to investigate how these projects help us tell stories,” says Connie Yowell, director of education at the MacArthur Foundation, the lead funder of this effort.

 “The New York Community Trust’s role is not just to fund these projects, but to bring funders together to magnify impact and use our knowledge about local arts and education to identify effective nonprofits developing digital media learning projects,” says Kerry McCarthy, arts program officer at The Trust. “Together, these funders are helping kids discover their interests, connect with others who share their passion, and tie it back to what they are learning in school.”

Below is a complete list of October grants from Hive Digital Learning Network Fund in The Trust.

American Museum of Natural History, $50,000 for teens participating in the Urban Biodiversity Network to use mobile devices to seek out hidden alerts at urban sites in Manhattan and at the Bronx Zoo, where they make a field observation or solve a riddle. With help from the Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum, they will share findings on an online platform that the teens will help customize.
Brooklyn Museum, $25,000 for teenagers to research and create an online guide to collections at the Brooklyn Museum and the Museum of African Art.

City Lore, $25,000 to pair Reel Works teen filmmakers with skateboarders to make and share online videos about skateboarding and to create a digital map of skate parks in all five boroughs. Bank Street College is advising on the project.

The DreamYard Project, $25,000 for workshops in graphic and web design; and video, audio, and music production for Bronx youth. The students will also advise on future programs at a new Bronx media and social center.

Girls Write Now, $25,000 for a creative writing program that will end with a digital portfolio of finished stories. 

Global Kids, $25,000 for teens involved with the Brooklyn Public Library to create an outdoor treasure hunt that uses GPS-enabled devices to get their peers involved in neighborhood issues; and $15,000 to work with Mills College to evaluate the program.

Museum of the Moving Image, $25,000 for a digital game-design camp during spring break that will produce a replicable game-design curriculum. The Institute of Play will provide mentors for participants.

MOUSE, $100,000 for teens to plan and implement 2012 Emoti-Con!, a competitive digital media festival in which young designers, programmers, filmmakers, and technologists demonstrate their work, collaborate on social action projects, and meet professionals in the industry.

Museum of Modern Art, $25,000 for a series of digital media and art-making classes, CLICK@MoMA.

New York Public Library, $100,000 for NYC Haunts, a mobile scavenger hunt in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island that connects local history to contemporary problems. Teens create and post possible solutions.

People’s Production House, $50,000 to train youth to use digital multimedia storytelling to capture, edit, and publish news not covered by the mainstream media.

Urban Word NYC, $100,000 for young people involved with Global Action Project and the YMCA to write and share poetry through in-person workshops and through Urban Word Live, an interactive website, as well as live-stream and digitally publish their writing.

About The Hive Digital Media Learning Fund and Hive Learning Network NYC
In December 2010, The Trust joined with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to create Hive Digital Media Learning Fund to promote adolescents’ learning anytime, anywhere through digital media. With additional contributions from the Joan Ganz Cooney Fund in The New York Community Trust, $1.525 million has been raised for grants this year. The Fund is governed by an advisory committee comprising representatives of its major donors, including the MacArthur Foundation’s director of education and Kerry McCarthy, arts program officer at The Trust, and the commissioner of the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs. To foster collaboration and information sharing, all grantees become part of Hive Learning Network NYC, a project of the Mozilla Foundation.

For more information, follow: @HiveLearningNYC and @SpotlightDML, and visit and



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