On April 18, 2017, The Boone Family Foundation,Rainwater Charitable Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Texas(CFT) will present Michael Lamb from Turnaround For Children, as part of CFT’s forward-thinking Cause-Minded Conversations series on philanthropy.

Michael Lamb, a leader in education, will talk about how adversity isn’t something that just happens to children—it happens inside their brains and bodies through the biological mechanism of stress. Children living in poverty often endure stress from adverse experiences, such as exposure to violence, loss of a loved one or homelessness. The good news is the brain is malleable. Science offers reasons for optimism for schools struggling to educate children growing up with adversity.

“Turn Around Children’s approach to learning helps educators understand how to develop the skills and mindsets to prepare students from early childhood to K12 to engage in their own learning and become independent regardless of their start in life. It’s a framework grounded in science and equity that addresses what is teachable versus personality traits”, said Cynthia Yung, Executive Director of The Boone Family Foundation.

Research has shown that supportive, buffering relationships with adults can prevent and even reverse the negative effects of prolonged exposure to stress. Schools can be designed to become supportive, trustful environments for children, where they can develop the skills and mindsets that are requisite for success in school, work and life.

Lamb joined Turnaround for Children in 2013 as Director of District Engagement and in 2014 was promoted to Executive Director, Washington, D.C. Before Turnaround, Michael was at the U.S. Department of Education, where in 2009 he was appointed Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, and helped lead the Office of Civil Rights’ strategic planning process and technical assistance efforts. In 2011, he became Senior Policy Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of Elementary and Secondary Education on school turnaround, high school redesign and Title II programs and policies. Michael worked as an organizer on Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and spent his most treasured years to date teaching seventh and eighth-graders at a turnaround school in the Harold Ickes Homes, a housing project on Chicago’s South Side.

“Knowing how to best support students dealing with chronic stress—and the teachers supporting those students—is mission critical,” said Sarah Cotton Nelson, chief philanthropy office of Communities Foundation of Texas. “We are thrilled to partner with The Boone Family Foundation and Rainwater Charitable Foundation to host Michael Lamb to learn more about the impact of stress on student development.”

CFT’s Cause-Minded Conversations are a series of informational events for donors and other community leaders that highlight important issues in our city and in the world of philanthropy. The events are designed to spur conversation long after the program concludes. This program is free and open to the public. Seating is limited.