Rathmann Challenge Finds Even Bigger Idea

Vision to Learn Receives Inaugural $300,000 Funding Opportunity



ANNAPOLIS, November 12, 2015 – The Rathmann Family Foundation announced the inaugural recipient of the Rathmann Challenge which recognizes organizations with the entrepreneurial ethos, directed passion and innovative spirit to make a positive difference in the world. The 2015 Rathmann Challenge sought to identify and fund a nonprofit organization that addresses an issue interfering with PreK-12 students’ abilities to be fully present in the classroom.

Vision To Learn was selected as the inaugural Recipient for their work to address the widespread problem of students lacking the glasses they need to succeed in school, and in life.  An estimated 1.5 million U.S. children have untreated vision problems. Established in 2012 and focused on high-poverty neighborhoods, Vision To Learn brings mobile optometric clinics to school campuses – free of charge.  Vision To Learn’s Founder and Chair Austin Beutner thanked the Rathmann Family Foundation for its support. “Vision To Learn is honored and humbled to be recognized by the Rathmann Family Foundation.  Vision To Learn give kids a chance to succeed in school and in life.”

Vision To Learn, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit, has served over 42,000 children to date. Research conducted by UCLA shows VTL’s solutions have a direct impact on educational outcomes. http://visiontolearn.org/impact/ucla-study-impact-analysis-of-vision-to-learn/.  “We look forward to working with the outstanding team at Vision To Learn to help support their efforts on behalf the hundreds of thousands of additional children still in need,” said Rick Rathmann, Executive Director of the Rathmann Family Foundation.

The Rathmann Challenge was launched in 2014 as a means to engage those with forward-thinking ideas who are willing to challenge themselves and their professional colleagues to come up with a better solution.  A Challenge Recipient is an organization with a proven ability to implement a successful program and an Even Bigger Idea™ that, if given the opportunity, could benefit the world.  The Rathmann Family Foundation anticipates selecting and awarding $100,000 to the Challenge Recipient, as well as $5,000 for at least two Honorable Mentions. The Challenge Recipient then has up to six months to submit an Even Bigger Idea™ Application – and with it an exclusive opportunity to receive a $200,000 grant, payable as $100,000 for each of the next two years.

Three Honorable Mentions were awarded in 2015:

  • Hope House: Dedicated to helping incarcerated fathers stay connected to their children and strengthening their families. hopehousedc.org
  • The Childhood & Family Learning Foundation: Connecting children to the care they need to succeed in school, and life, by collectively addressing physical, social, emotional and academic development.  childrenarewaiting.org
  • Thread: Providing support to Baltimore City Public School System students who rank in the bottom quartile of their 9th grade class and face vast obstacles to their high school and post-secondary success – from missing fundamental academic skills to lacking stable housing. thread.org

About the Rathmann Challenge
The Rathmann Challenge, www.RathmannChallenge.org, engages with those that have forward thinking ideas and are willing to challenge themselves and their professional colleagues to come up with a better solution. Providing opportunities for Even Bigger Ideas™ is the primary objective of the Rathmann Challenge. The Challenge seeks those possessing the creativity, entrepreneurial ethos, and innovative spirit to make a positive difference in the world through their directed passion, new ideas, and energy.

The 2017 Rathmann Challenge will focus on the environment.  The specific issue to be addressed by the Challenge is currently under development.  The Rathmann Challenge is a program of the Rathmann Innovation Center, www.RathmannInnovation.org, which is administered by the Rathmann Family Foundation.

About the Rathmann Family Foundation
The Rathmann Family Foundation, www.RathmannFamilyFoundation.org, seeks to leverage the talents, experience, and passion of its members and the communities in which they live by funding those displaying the desire, skill, and energy to make a difference in the world around them.  In addition to traditional grantmaking, the foundation uses program-related investments, direct charitable activities, direct programming, active management and governance participation, and expenditure responsibility for non-501c3 organizations.  The Foundation also provides in-kind technical assistance to strengthen governance, expand institutional capacity and programming, and develop fundraising strategies.


Media Contact:
Mr. Rick Rathmann
Executive Director
The Rathmann Family Foundation