What if our region’s 100 largest corporations adopted the 100 lowest-performing schools?

Landing in my mailbox last week was the 2007 J.C. Nalle Report: “Where Children Thrive” (pdf). It describes WG member Freddie Mac Foundation’s and Freddie Mac’s partnership with an elementary school in the Marshall Heights community of D.C’s Ward 7. Over the past ten years, the Freddies have made investments to help J.C. Nalle provide a wide array of programs and support services, and have helped turned the school into “a haven of hope and promise for children and their families.” The school is based on the Children’s Aid Society model.

If another grantmaker were interested in doing something similar, reading the report–with sections on “The Community School Model,” “Measuring Results,” and “Experiences and Insights”–would be an excellent first step. (There’s also a video about the partnership.)

During the 2005–2006 school year alone, more than 200 Freddie Mac employees volunteered as mentors, tutors, public speaking coaches, and pen pals….

“Reflecting on the evolution of this involvement, Cheryl Clarke, director of foundation giving at the Freddie Mac Foundation, noted: “Other companies may look at the commitment we’ve made and fear that it’s more than they can handle. But they need to know that it wasn’t done all at once, but in small steps, over time. Looking back, if someone had come and said, ‘We want you to invest five or six million dollars,’ we would have said it’s too much. But we came in on one employee’s suggestion, added another employee and then another, and now if someone said we had to walk away from J.C. Nalle Community School, we couldn’t do it.”