PROVIDENCE – Khalil Fuller, CEO of NBA Math Hoops, was named the youngest Echoing Green fellow in the fellowship’s history.
The Echoing Green fellowship funds social entrepreneurs with bold goals for changing the world. The program has provided early funding for some well-known nonprofits, including CityYear and Teach for America.
Fuller – who is 19 but turning 20 this week – was one of eight fellowship awardees and the only Rhode Islander to win an Echoing Green Black Male Achievement fellowship this year.
Fuller’s company, NBA Math Hoops, is partnered with the National Basketball Association and aims to improve math literacy among urban youth by making fun educational tools that harness the power of the NBA.
“We have formed a unique and groundbreaking partnership with the [NBA] to create a supplemental math curriculum, which is centered around a basketball board game,” Fuller told Providence Business News, adding that the game makes math fun and “culturally relevant” to children.
According to Fuller, in a pilot study, students’ math scores improved 51 percent after playing NBA Math Hoops with a collection of support activities, prompting the company to expand the game into a “Classroom Kit” with more in-depth math activities.
The Classroom Kit follows the common core state standards and targets middle school students.
“A strong foundation in math is vital for success in high school and college, and the lack of math skills among our nation’s youth is shocking. The numbers are dizzying, specifically among lower-income students,” said Fuller.
Across the country, 83 percent of students from lower-income families are not proficient in math, according to Fuller, who added that failing a math class in middle school is one of the leading early indicators of dropping out of high school.
“We hope to keep them engaged in class and excited to learn math. We’re creating math champions, one game at a time,” said Fuller, who is taking a leave from Brown University after completing his sophomore year.
NBA Math Hoops plans to launch nationally in the fall.
The Echoing Green Black Male Achievement Fellowship is a joint project of the Open Society Foundations and Echoing Green which invests in emerging leaders committed to generating new ideas and best practices for the field of black male achievement .
Echoing Green an organization with a 25-year track record of identifying and supporting emerging social entrepreneurs who launch new organizations that go on to have long-term, systemic impacts on society"