Closing the Opportunity Gap

The youth of our communities deserve every opportunity to reach their full potential. Our goal is to ensure that all kids in Southwest Alabama have the opportunity to thrive – from cradle to career.

In 2017, the Community Foundation of South Alabama started one of its most significant collective impact projects – to address the growing opportunity gap within our communities.

The “opportunity gap” refers to a nationwide trend of unequal access to education and out-of-school opportunities for youth of all ages. Our kids across Southwest Alabama face a growing opportunity gap that, for many, hinders their ability to reach their full potential and threatens our communities’ future prosperity.

Our collective impact agenda includes strengthening Southwest Alabama’s system of early childhood education to make sure all kids get a great start; supporting parents, families and youth in underserved and rural communities; and helping opportunity youth (ages 16-24 not in school and not employed) get the higher education and workforce training they need to succeed.

Each area of investment for our Community Foundation includes strategic partnerships with the public sector, nonprofits, faith-based organizations, educational institutions and businesses. Closing the opportunity gap is vital in building strong, thriving children who grow into capable, contributive adults for a prosperous and sustainable community.

Together, we are Building Community for our children.

Grant Awards

In addition to convening community leaders and hosting critical conversations around the pressing issues facing today’s youth, in 2018, the Community Foundation awarded over $125,000 to the following partner organizations committed to narrowing the opportunity gap – Alabama 4H Foundation, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Alpha Women’s Resource Center, Boys & Girls Club of South Alabama, Gulf Regional Early Childhood Services, Mobile Symphony, Palmer Williams Group, PASSAGE of University of South Alabama and Prichard Preparatory School.


In schools serving low income youth, only 1 in 4 students have access to sports. Gender, race and family income have a direct impact on child participation in sports. Our goal is to get every child in the game.

Sport For All, Play For Life!

Need More Information?

Contact Jena Berson, Director of Communications & Programs, at or call 251-445-6295 to learn more about our collective impact strategy for Closing the Opportunity Gap.

Interested in applying for a 2019 competitive grant? Visit Apply For A Grant to review grant cycle timeline and guidelines.