About the Grant

Discover the story behind the grant’s founding, how organizations can qualify and our criteria for selecting recipients.

The Man Who Inspired Us

Paul Purcell's leadership lives on in Baird's associates, our commitment to clients and genuine care for the communities we serve.

More than $1.6 million


Discover the Difference We Make Together

Big Shoulders Fund logo
Big Shoulders Fund

Chicago, Illinois

Founded in 1986, Big Shoulders Fund is an independent charitable organization supporting a network of 92 schools that provide a quality, values-based education for students in under-resourced neighborhoods.

This grant will launch Teach From Within, a pilot program to support future Chicago teachers interested in serving their home communities.

City Year Milwaukee logo
City Year Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

City Year’s mission is to build democracy through citizen service, civic leadership and social entrepreneurship, with a focus on improving education outcomes and helping all students graduate from high school.

This grant will deploy diverse teams of AmeriCorps members to tutor and mentor more than 300 students in Milwaukee’s Carver Academy.

COA Youth & Family Centers logo
COA Youth & Family Centers

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

COA Youth & Family Centers nurture children, support families, and build strong resilient communities – one child, one family and one community at a time.

This grant will fund their College and Career Readiness Program, which helps drive personal and academic growth among Milwaukee youths.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School logo
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School – Twin Cities

Minneapolis, Minnesota      

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School – Twin Cities strives to provide access to a Catholic, Jesuit, college and career preparatory education to unlock the potential of students of any culture, faith or creed and transform their communities.

This grant will support their Corporate Work Study program, where students receive hands-on professional experience working at one of 131 organizations in the Twin Cities.

Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Adacemy logo
Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Dr. Howard Fuller Collegiate Academy seeks to nurture scholars capable of transforming their world by sending them to and through college and helping them become productive citizens who contribute to society.

This grant will help fund the construction of state-of-the-art high school and middle school facilities in Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Cultural and Entertainment District.

Freedom Scholar Partners logo
Freedom School Partners

Charlotte, North Carolina

Freedom School Partners inspires their scholars to love reading and learning, believe in themselves and create extraordinary futures.

This grant will fund the operations of their summer learning site, which helps build the literacy and social-emotional skills of more than 50 Charlotte-area grade school students.

Minds Matter Colorado Logo
Minds Matter Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Minds Matter connects driven and determined students from low-income families with the people, preparation and possibilities to succeed in college, create their future and change the world.

This grant will support their College Access Mentoring Program, which provides their students with college readiness, admissions prep and financial assistance.

Nazareth Prep logo
Nazareth Prep

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Nazareth Prep is an independent Catholic high school that provides an affordable, innovative education focused on college and career readiness.

This grant will fund their cutting-edge internship program, where students receive mentorship from leaders at top organizations across the Pittsburgh area.

St. Joan Antida High School logo
St. Joan Antida High School

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

St. Joan Antida High School embraces the individuality of each student, engages her intellect, and empowers her to positively impact the community with confidence.

This grant will fund their Career Pathways Program, which enables their students to explore their potential in fast-growing career fields like business, engineering, IT and health sciences.



The Pittsburgh Promise logo
The Pittsburgh Promise

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The Pittsburgh Promise promotes high educational aspirations among urban youths, funds scholarships for post-secondary access and fuels a prepared and diverse regional workforce.

This grant will fund two Promise Coaches who provide career exploration and post-secondary planning assistance to students in three of Pittsburgh’s predominantly low-income high schools.

United Community Center logo
United Community Center

Milwaukee, Wisconsin                                     

United Community Center seeks to transform the lives of Hispanics, families and individuals of all ages by providing the highest-quality comprehensive services in education, human services, health, community development and cultural arts.

This grant will invest in after-school programming, parental involvement programs and a new math curriculum for low-income children in Milwaukee.

Academy for Urban School Leadership

Chicago, IL

The Academy for Urban School Leadership is a nonprofit organization that provides equity-focused programming to improve educational outcomes for students in underinvested communities.

The grant will support specialized training for aspiring teachers of K-3rd grade students with identified disabilities. Specifically, five teacher residents will be supported as they receive their master's degrees and state licenses, and will learn in the classroom under the guidance of an experienced mentor teacher. The support of this educational cohort will have an impact to an estimated 120 children/year.

ACE Scholarships
ACE Scholarships

Denver, CO

Our mission is to provide children of low-income families with scholarships to private schools in grades K-12, and to advocate for expanded school choice.

The grant will help provide educational scholarships for 40 economically disadvantaged K-12 students in Colorado, providing life changing access to quality education. Additionally, ACE forges partnerships with schools and families to support each individual student as they progress though secondary school and beyond.


All-In Milwaukee
All-In Milwaukee, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI

All-In Milwaukee is a college completion program that provides financial aid, advising, program and career support to 320 high potential, limited-income, diverse Milwaukee students to complete college, build meaningful careers and transform the Milwaukee community.

The grant will help expand career programming to an additional 125 diverse and limited-income college scholars. This grant will be used to provide cutting edge career assessments, eight career development sessions, as well as support a Scholar Advisor staff person. This dedicated person will be focused on scholars' career development, internship and job placement to build out diverse talent pipelines for the City of Milwaukee and beyond.


Chicago, IL

Our mission is to inspire hope and offer opportunities so youth facing systemic obstacles can achieve positive futures.

The grant will help expand the "BUILDing Futures" program to support an additional 20- 25 diverse high school students as they pursue non-traditional post-secondary education such as two-year colleges, community colleges, technical colleges, and trade schools. The program provides these youth with integrated mentoring, tutoring, family coaching, resources, mental health care and college counseling, as well as a stipend for more basic needs like application fees, food, interview attire, and transportation.

City Forward Collective
City Forward Collective

Milwaukee, WI

The mission of City Forward Collective is to secure Milwaukee's future by ending educational inequity and ensuring every child has the opportunity to attend a high-quality school.

The grant will fund an investment into an Opportunity Accelerator Learning Cohort, which will support 10 Milwaukee schools to ensure their students have equitable access to quality education. Specifically, four key resources are analyzed and coached that research shows are critical to successful outcomes: grade-appropriate assignments; strong classroom instruction; deep engagement in learning opportunities; and teachers with high expectations. The program is characterized by data driven research and hands-on, in the classroom analysis and feedback, and is supported by the school leaders and teachers.

Invest in Youth
Invest in Youth

Seattle, WA

We enhance the academic abilities, self-confidence and life prospects of young learners in Seattle Public Schools.

The grant will help provide tutoring and mentorship to 3rd-5th grade students that are at-risk of falling behind or dropping out of school. Students are provided with targeted intervention with one-on-one diverse tutors, following their formula of one hour + one child + one day a week = a lifetime of dividends. This program is in partnership with Seattle Public Schools and has a focus on academic outcomes including test scores, teacher surveys and parent surveys.

Journey House
Journey House, Inc.

Milwaukee, WI

Journey House empowers families living on Milwaukee's near Southside to move out of poverty by offering adult education, workforce readiness, youth development, and family engagement programs.

The grant will support a year-round, project-based learning THRIVE STEAM Forward Training Program for 150 youth. Students will receive multidisciplinary, hands­-on design experience through projects focused on visual arts, architecture and design, engineering (biomedical, mechanical, sound), computer science, construction, robotics and entrepreneurship.

Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana
Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana

Louisville, KY

Junior Achievement's mission is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. With interactive programs tailored to elementary, middle and high school students, Junior Achievement introduces young people throughout our community to the realities and possibilities of the working world and personal finance.

The grant will enable Junior Achievement of Kentuckiana to implement the 3DE high school reinvention model in four Louisville, Kentucky schools. 3DE is an innovative model proven to accelerate student engagement and academic outcomes in traditional public high schools. Students will be provided with four years of education including integrated learning through dynamic Case Challenges, collaboration with peers in teams, and access to industries to gain exposure and build skills.

Junior Achievement of Wisconsin
Junior Achievement of Wisconsin

Milwaukee, WI

The purpose of Junior Achievement is to inspire and prepare young people to succeed in a global economy. The mission is that Junior Achievement will ensure that every child in Wisconsin has an opportunity to obtain an understanding of the free enterprise system.

The grant will help provide over 2,000 historically underserved 5th-12th grade students with the opportunity to participate in the JA Capstone Career Exploration Project. This will increase access to JA programs that are considered capstone experiences (BizTown, Finance Park) with unique hands-on curricula that teaches students about the world of business & money.

Still Winning One Year Later

Discover how our inaugural recipient organizations have put their Paul Purcell "Kids Win!" Annual Baird Education Grant funds to work for students in their communities since 2021.

Watch the Video          Read the 2021 News Release

In His Own Words – Paul’s Commitment to Education

Learn about the man who inspired the mission and gave his name to the Paul Purcell "Kids Win!" Annual Baird Education Grant.

Meet Our Inaugural Grant Recipients

The leaders of the organizations that received the first-ever Paul Purcell "Kids Win!" Annual Baird Education Grants explain how the funds will be used in their communities.

Cristo Rey Jesuit High School Milwaukee is a Catholic high school for young women and men of all faiths and limited financial means that integrates rigorous academics, professional work experiences and spiritual development to empower graduates to succeed in college and life. This grant will support development of a transformational, hands-on learning Innovation Center that will include a design lab, 3D printing and fabrication space, robotics (coding/circuitry) space and a media/podcasting production area. The center will help reduce educational inequalities with resources, tools, and inspiration, significantly enhance hundreds of urban students’ 21st century skill development and support a more skilled, inclusive, and diverse workforce for Milwaukee.

Serving children and youth in the Nashville area, Martha O’Bryan Center is a community organization that empowers individuals in poverty to transform their lives through work, education, employment, and fellowship. Grant funds will support the Center’s Post-Secondary Pipeline program, which provides low-income, first-generation college students with persistence coaching and support services in preparation of and throughout their post-secondary careers. This ensures students have successful transitions, retention, and degree attainment. The program has divergent pathways based on students’ post-secondary and career aspirations and is flexible, easily allowing students to seamlessly transition from the college readiness program (Post Secondary Success) and employment support (Youth Employment Hub).

Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, a Catholic high school in Waukegan, Illinois, empowers young people of limited economic means to become men and women of faith, purpose, and service. Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, integrated with relevant work study experience, Cristo Rey St. Martin students graduate ready to succeed in college and life. Grant funds will support an entrepreneurial endeavor, La Mesita de Martin, which is an extension of their Corporate Work Study Program. La Mesita de Martin will be an in-school coffee and snack shop, where students will learn the skills required to run a small, private enterprise including budgeting, inventory management, receipt reconciliation, customer relationships, marketing and sales.

The mission of Teach For America - Greater Chicago-Northwest Indiana is to find, develop, and support a diverse network of teachers who expand opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate. Baird’s support of Teach For America will fund programs to raise up the next generation of educators and therefore increase opportunities for youth living in low-income neighborhoods in Chicago-Northwest Indiana. This supports youths’ goals of graduating from high school and college, obtaining a career where they can financially thrive, and realizing the hopes and dreams they have for themselves and their communities.

Golden Apple Foundation for Excellence in Teaching, an organization focused on teacher development and recognition, has a vision in which every classroom has a great educator. To realize this, Golden Apple is committed to making a material difference in resolving the teacher shortage in Chicago and throughout the state of Illinois in schools-of-need. This grant will support the Golden Apple Scholars program, which develops and supports largely diverse, first-generation aspiring educators. This multi-year program recruits aspiring educators in Illinois, supports them throughout undergraduate study, prepares them with intensive in-residence training each summer, helps them find a right-fit placement in a school-of-need and mentors them throughout their first years in the classroom to become highly effective teachers who stay.

The mission of Nativity Academy at St. Boniface, a school in Louisville, Kentucky, serving students in grades 6-8 and also offering programs that prepare motivated students all the way through high school and college, is to transform the lives of students who have a commitment to achieve and whose families demonstrate financial need. Funds from the grant will support the expansion of Nativity Academy’s College Cares Program, providing first-generation college students of color with tools and assistance to ensure success. This includes financial assistance, emergency fund assistance, mentoring, coaching, and general connectiveness and support.

Teach For America - Milwaukee finds, develops, and supports a diverse network of leaders who expand opportunity for children from classrooms, schools, and every sector and field that shapes the broader systems in which schools operate. The organization remains guided by the priority to recruit and support outstanding and diverse teachers and cultivate long-term alumni impact in Milwaukee. Through this grant, TFA Milwaukee will be able to recruit, select, train, and support up to 10 corps educators for the 2021-2022 school year, thereby building out talent pipelines for the City of Milwaukee and ensuring that over 500 Milwaukee Kids Win!

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