Gateway Giving
Gateway Giving
Apr 12, 2021
#9 - The Little Bit Foundation - Rosemary Hanley
Play • 56 min

By: David M. Foster, CFP®, CAP®

Hello, listeners, and welcome to the 9th episode of the Gateway Giving Podcast!

My guest today is Rosemary Hanley, the CEO and Co-Founder of the Little Bit Foundation, a non-profit that is committed to breaking down barriers to learning for students living in poverty through partnerships and programs that serve the needs of the whole child. Their aim is to empower students to achieve their academic goals and dreams for the future, while leaving an imprint of love and hope on young lives for whom a little bit means a lot.

That phrase, “a little bit means a lot,” is a concise summary of their theory of change. Little Bit only partners with schools where at least 90% of the kids attending qualify for free or reduced lunch. The idea here, is that kids in those schools perpetually lag behind, academically, because they lack many of the basics that most of us take for granted. They might not have shoes that fit, or a warm coat in the winter, or 3 square meals per day. If my feet hurt, or I feel cold or hungry, I am inevitably going to perform worse at whatever task I am engaged in, and so I think it makes perfect sense that solving those relatively minor, but chronic problems would likely lead to better academic results down the line.

Although Little Bit doesn’t yet have the data to directly link their program to improved academic performance, they do have data that suggests that their program leads to less absenteeism, and there is academic literature that links absenteeism in school to worse outcomes in school and later in life.

One final note, about a week after we recorded this podcast, Rosemary announced that at the end of the year she would be retiring from Little Bit after dedicating the last 20 years of her life to building this organization. So, Rosemary, if you are listening, I’d like to personally wish you all the luck and happiness you can handle in the next phase of your life!

As always, if you have any questions, requests, or suggestions for people or organizations for me to interview, you can email me at Now, without further ado, here is my interview with Rosemary Hanley!


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