BeFoundation’s mission is to support dramatic improvement in the educational outcomes of disadvantaged students and the vitality of their communities.
BeFoundation encourages innovation and strengthens what is already working. Amidst the ongoing debates about education reforms, BeFoundation chooses to focus on areas of common ground.
One such area is the need more student-centered, personalized, and extended learning opportunities – both in and out of school. Another area of common ground is the need of strong wrap-around support in combatting poverty—involving families, schools, community-based organizations and the business community.
BeFoundation invests in organizations that share a commitment to expanding the pathways available for college, career and life success while building creative, smart and engaged communities.
The technologies and contexts for learning today are radically different than just 20 years ago. Our expectations for college and career success require next-generation approaches that personalize and expand learning time, enhance the careers of educators, and build connections between school and community. BeFoundation welcomes inquiries from organizations seeking to build the supply of innovative learning settings. Learn more
The arts are a gateway to self-discovery, self-expression, and academic achievement. The arts are also an essential part of a community’s cultural fabric. We believe all young people should have the opportunity for engagement in music, drama, dance, and visual arts. BeFoundation welcomes relationships with organizations dedicated to enhancing the quality and scope of arts education in schools and the community.
The ability of students, parents and educators to engage constructively in improving education depends on high-quality information and authentic opportunities to learn and participate. BeFoundation welcomes inquiries from organizations dedicated to improving the quality of public information and community engagement.
Moving from a system where students that start behind stay behind to a system where they catch up and succeed.
BeFoundation is a private, independent family foundation established by Gregory S. Young. Our vision is that all students graduate ready for college, career and life success and become meaningful contributors to their communities.
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Richard Wenning is executive director of BeFoundation, a family foundation devoted to dramatic improvement in the educational outcomes of disadvantaged students in Connecticut and the vitality of their communities. BeFoundation invests in a portfolio of youth-serving organizations that share a commitment to expanding the pathways available for college, career, and life success while building creative, smart and engaged communities. Richard is delighted to be back in his home state after more than 25 years in Washington, DC and Colorado.
A national expert on education policy, Richard has worked with federal, state, and local agencies and nonprofits. He served until June 2011 as the associate commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education and headed its office of performance and policy. At CDE, Richard led the design and implementation of Colorado’s next-generation accountability system, including SchoolView® and the Colorado Growth Model. Before joining CDE, he served as executive on loan to the superintendent of Denver Public Schools, where he helped strengthen the district’s performance management practices and led development of its nationally recognized school performance framework. Richard also served as vice president for quality & accountability at the Colorado League of Charter Schools.
Prior to moving to Colorado from Washington, DC, Richard was president of the Education Performance Network, an affiliate of New American Schools, where he led a consulting practice focused on education accountability and new school development. Previously, he served as senior policy advisor to the CEO of the DC Public Schools during its takeover by the congressionally appointed DC Control Board. While at DCPS, he directed the offices of intergovernmental affairs and educational accountability and led implementation of charter school legislation enacted by Congress. Before working for DC Public Schools, he served as professional staff for the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, where he worked with the Subcommittees on the District of Columbia and on Labor, Education, and Health and Human Services.
Richard holds a Master of Public Administration from The American University and was awarded a Presidential Management Fellowship. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Ithaca College and was a doctoral student in social psychology at the University of Maryland before working for the United States Senate.
Greg Young is a devoted father and husband, philanthropist, and Connecticut business owner. A lifelong Connecticut resident, Greg dedicates his life to his family and making Connecticut a better place for all children.
Greg and his wife Cathy have recently taken on restoring Maple Hill Farm in Redding to a working community farm and home for their five children. The property has several pre-revolutionary buildings that they recently restored. In addition, the farm is now making maple syrup, honey and growing produce intended for donation to the Connecticut Food Bank. Greg converted a barn to a performing arts space and makes the space available as a recording studio and intimate venue for fundraisers and musical performances. An avid drummer, Greg enjoys taking advantage of the drum kit at the Barn at Maple Hill Farm as often as he can.
Greg’s philanthropic focus is on improving the educational outcomes of children in Connecticut through BeFoundation, his family foundation. BeFoundation is devoted to improving the educational outcomes of low-income students and the vitality of their communities. The Foundation’s priorities include education innovations that expand and personalize learning time, arts education pathways in schools and communities, and engaged and informed parents.
Greg is an enthusiastic supporter of the expansion and continued development of Fairfield Theater Company as a vital community arts space with a strong youth educational component. He is also extending the reach of his philanthropy to a national level with SpreadMusicNow, a fund he is establishing to develop emerging artists.
Greg got his start in the commodities business shortly after graduating from Ithaca College and became a managing partner of the commodities giant Glencore Ltd, where he worked for 25 years in Stamford, CT. Giving back was always on his mind while at Glencore and in 2012 following a successful IPO Greg founded BeFoundation.
Greg has also become a business owner of companies that give back to BeFoundation. Ola! Foods in Norwalk, which donates 100% of profits to BeFoundation and Peachwave Frozen Yogurt, which donates a portion of profits, collectively employ more than 130 people in Fairfield and Westchester Counties.