Welcome to BELL


Welcome to BELL

BELL is a non-profit that strengthens schools and youth-serving organizations’ capacity to deliver evidence-based summer and afterschool learning experiences to close the achievement gap.

Our education solution includes best practice strategies, professional development, technical assistance, and a suite of smart tools to deliver holistic learning experiences. School districts and partners use BELL to create holistic learning experiences that blend rigorous academics with hands-on enrichment and community engagement, preparing scholars for lifelong success. Year after year, data show scholars in BELL-powered programs gain 2 to 3 months of literacy and math kills, preventing summer learning loss from holding them back

Delivered by license partners, BELL is the largest evidence-based summer learning program in the nation. In our 25+ year history, our award-winning program has reached over 120,000 scholars and empowered over 10,000 educators who have delivered over 20 million hours of expanded learning time in 34 states.


Our mission is to transform the academic achievements, self confidence and life trajectories of children living in under-resourced communities. Our vision is for all children to excel.


In the early 1990's, a group of Black and Latino students at Harvard Law School began a community service project at a local public school. Between pick-up basketball games, the volunteers quickly realized many of the children could not read, write, or perform math operations at grade-level proficiency. Inspired by the opportunity to transform children's lives, the group, led by Earl Martin Phalen and Andrew L. Carter, began working with parents, teachers, and experts at Harvard University to create an educational afterschool program that integrated best practices in academic tutoring, enrichment, and evaluation. The rest is history.

BELL was incorporated in 1992 and named in honor of Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr., Harvard Law’s first Black tenured professor. With guidance and support from BELL board chair emeritus Professor Charles J. Ogletree and former board member Dr. Robert S. Peterkin, the BELL afterschool program reached 20 students in its first year of operation. Since then, we have evolved to become a national leader in summer and afterschool programming. Learn more in our Through the Years historical timeline.