2016-2018 was an extremely busy time for the Foundation and for it’s Founder Taylor Wilson Thompson. A new Big Problems Big Ideas competition was held and included twenty invitees from across the country to be a part of the national conversation on problem solving.  A final list of 8 schools representing states vied for $4000.00 prize. The winner of Big Problems Big Ideas 2017-18 was Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica at Early College High School Brownsville. The students at Brownsville’s topic was “Mental Health: The Need For Educating Hispanic Communities About How Mental Health Can Affect Young People And The Educational Experience.”


In addition to the Big Problems Big ideas Competition, Taylor authored several article for national distribution and to be shared with schools, parents and communities across the country. “Ten Steps to Improving your Childs’s Academic Performance” was a pre enrollment reminder to parents about the things they should do to become engaged and help their children adjust and do well in the school year; it also shared key pointers with schools, counselors and principals on things they might do to help make the school year successful. “Ten Steps To Improving Your Child’s Language Ability” was aimed at Pre-K and early elementary student’s parents to encourage them to take action to improve their children’s language skills and offered helpful hints for things they could do at home to assist in developing phonic, word identification and reading skills. “Box Theory” was a critically thoughtful piece that asked teachers and principals to rethink the pedagogy off educational instruction.


Some of the foundation best work was a direct response to stormed ravaged Jacksonville and Houston whose schools were ravaged by hurricanes and forced to shut down for long periods of time. The foundation give direct financial support, reading materials and other aid to insure that student were able to continue their education inspire of the difficult circumstances they were facing.

Big Problems, Big Ideas, the foundations signature program was developed and implemented in the third year of the foundations operation. The program was the culmination of the previous two years experiences and offered the opportunity for young people and their schools to participate in a focused leadership development that asked students to utilize their research, analytical and communicating abilities, within a group setting, to problem solve . From an identified list of 30 schools, 9 were selected to take part in a competition that asked teams of of your people to choose a domestic or international problem and offer solutions to that problem. Each school was a worthy participant and in most, the activities extended beyond the school to the school communities. Three schools were winners of the competition and received leadership award grants. More than 300 students took part directly in the activities and more than 4,000 students were impacted by the Big Problems, Big Ideas program.

Based on her earlier findings from the previous year and on discussions with the field, Taylor and the board of advisors developed a far reaching plan to fund 12-15 schools that would link teachers, administrators and young people together to help build leadership skills in young people. This strategy asked teams from selected schools to create year long activities that would create a cadre of young leaders who were willing to share what they had learned with others young people within and outside of their school. Each site developed a “community of leaders” who shared their insights through, workshops, assemblies and training sessions.


During the inaugural year of the Taylor Wilson Thompson Family Foundation, Taylor and the board of advisors sought out new ways to give voice to young people seeking to take part discussions focused on the world around them. Through discussions with other foundations, student leaders, and schools around the country, the foundation developed the strategy of working directly with schools and social agencies that encouraged leadership development among middle and high school students. The foundation sought develop the leadership skills of young people by providing schools with small grants that would allow for leadership activities and training for young people. During the year a number of small awards were made to schools to initiate leadership activities and provide for leadership conference participation.