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Out-of-School Time Funder Network (OST)

The OST network shares effective practices and forges collaborations among funders to build systemic support for the field, strengthen and deepen connections within the OST grantmaking community, and expand high-quality learning opportunities for young people.

Out-of-School Time Funder Network



Funders' Guide to Quality in Out-of-School Time

Participating in out-of-school time (OST) programs can be transformational in the lives of young people, but only if the efforts are high quality. This guide provides recommendations to grantmakers about how they can increase quality in OST through local, regional, statewide and national grantmaking and other strategies. Download the report »

Grantmakers and Thought Leaders on Out-of-School Time

GFE's Out-of-School Time (OST) Funder Network released a new report containing survey and interview data gathered in 2013 from a diverse group of grantmakers, practitioners, researchers, educators, and advocates. Among the report’s findings were the four most desired outcomes of OST grants: improved academic achievement, increased student engagement, positive youth development, and 21st century skill building. Download the report »


Out-of-school time (OST) and expanded learning opportunities (ELO) programs play an increasingly vital role in improving educational equity for all children. Research shows that high-quality programs can narrow achievement gaps and provide critical developmental supports young people need to become successful adults. Yet a small percentage of all U.S. children in grades K-12 are enrolled in OST/ELO programs. Leading education grantmakers are working in partnership with schools, government, non-profit organizations and the private sector to address the complex and difficult challenges to ensuring children and youth have access to high quality OST/ELO programs, including:

  • Building public awareness of the value of high quality learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
  • Investing in systemic efforts to increase the quality of OST/ELO programming.
  • Facilitating collaborations among intermediaries, providers and schools to enrich young people’s learning within and beyond the school day.
  • Securing sustainable financing and sound public policy.
  • Developing a skilled and stable workforce.
  • Increasing participation of low-income children.
  • Measuring the positive impact of program participation.


The OST funder network was launched in 2009 to build collective knowledge and impact around the out-of-school time field. Acknowledging there are many different terms in use by the field, we use the phrase out-of-school time inclusively to mean programs that:

  • Take place before and after school time, during evenings, weekends and summers.
  • Take place during expanded school days in conjunction with community partners.
  • Take place in school buildings or community settings.
  • Are run by schools or community organizations, serving children and youth ages 5 to early adulthood.

The network develops online and on-site programs, and issues a monthly newsletter outlining activities and opportunities in the OST/ELO field. Network members also help in choosing topics and lead web seminars, meetings and other events.


Membership in the OST network is open to all GFE member-eligible education grantmakers. Current participants include a mix of active GFE members as well as nonmembers. There is no cost to join the network, however membership with GFE is encouraged.

For more information about the OST network or to find out how to join, contact Brenda McLaughlin, OST network coordinator.