The 2021 Summer Learning Awards application is now open! (Application closes January 15, 2021)

NSLA knows last year was an exceptionally challenging season for summer learning programs, yet we want to acknowledge the many programs that pivoted during the crisis and found innovative ways to keep kids learning, safe and healthy. If you were unable to hold your program last summer, you are welcome to submit an application for your 2019 program.

Each year, the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recognizes the outstanding work done during the summer months on behalf of our nation’s youth. Candidates for the Summer Learning Awards are exceptional summer programs, models, and systems that keep children and youth learning, safe and healthy during the critical summer months. They show strong outcomes in helping students cement the skills they have learned during the academic school year through creative curricula, unique programming, and effective family engagement strategies.

Apply for the 2021 Summer Learning Awards

Preview the 2021 Application


There are two categories of Summer Learning Awards for 2021:

New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award:
Since 2005, the New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award, defined by its rigorous application and selection process, has recognized enrollment-based programs employing staff who work directly with supporting underserved youth.

NSLA Founder’s Award:
Established in 2015, this award recognizes informal programs and other non-traditional forms of summer learning innovation that are critical to serving the diverse needs of schools, families, and children.

Each award-winning program receives:

  • A $10,000 donation, supported by the New York Life Foundation;
  • National recognition at NSLA’s Summer Changes Everything™ annual conference;
  • An official award seal for use on their website and in program publications;
  • Connection to a network of award-winning leaders in the field and NSLA’s professional development opportunities; and
  • Visibility through national and local media outreach, along with acknowledgment from their local elected officials.

2021 Summer Learning Awards Timeline:

  • Round 1 application opens – October 19, 2020
  • Deadline for Round 1 application – January 15, 2020, by 6 p.m. ET
  • Semi-finalists notified – late February 2021
  • Finalists notified – Late April 2021
  • Finalists’ site visits – Summer 2021
  • Winners announced – August 2021

Dates are subject to change.

2020 Summer Learning Award Winners