Travel to Learn

The best way to learn is to do!

The experience of visiting and seeing different places helps people learn and understand more about the world they live in.

Every child should have this kind of opportunity.

Travel to Learn provides educational travel scholarships to children.

Travel to Learn (or TTL) is a philanthropic program that funds educational travel experiences for children whose families do not have the financial resources to travel. Each year, TTL will fund one trip for an elementary or middle school student (and an accompanying adult) to a domestic or international destination that is personally meaningful to them.


Experiencing different cultures and meeting new people is very important in life because it expands people’s knowledge of the world. This is increasingly important in our global society. TTL will provide opportunities for children whose families do not have the resources to travel. The mission of the program is to help children experience and learn about their ancestors, historical places, cultures, languages, or anything that students feel would enhance and enrich their classroom learning.  TTL would like to give children in our community a chance to experience all these things!


TTL promotes the vision that all children should have an opportunity to learn about the world through first-hand experience . Traveling is important because it helps people learn about societies and cultures that might not be like their own, and to discover similarities that may not be obvious.  Often, when we travel, we learn how different people interact with each other. Reading about different places is invaluable. But actually  visiting historically and culturally important places– really experiencing them– stimulates and enhances interest, understanding, and a desire for further learning. Some people love to travel and others chose not to travel based on personal preferences. But some kids do not have the choice about whether to travel.


Travel to Learn was founded in 2014 by Eli Pollak, a middle school student in Madison, Wisconsin.  Eli loves traveling and believes that these experiences have changed how he thinks about the world, and how he approaches many different subjects in school. He wants more kids to get that great experience, so he is dedicated to doing all that he can to make sure that they have this opportunity. Eli believes that exposure to different places and people is an important part of cultural understanding, which is one of the biggest problems currently facing our society. He is concerned that without having some travel experience, some people might never realize how important travel is. And he appreciates that high costs put travel beyond the reach of many families.


Some families enjoy travel, others do not. But for many families, the costs involved makes travel not even an option. Madison has a truly amazing public school system that serves ever-increasing numbers of children living in poverty. The best way to learn is to do, and this program will increase educational opportunities for highly-motivated Madison public school students in need. TTL funded travel awards will:

  • Help children understand more about a subject that the educators are teaching;
  • Give children first-hand experience that will help them become engaged with the curriculum, more motivated to do well, and learn more on their own;
  • Foster love of learning by making the units from the Core Curriculum seem more relevant to everyday parts of life;
  • Become a source of pride for teachers, schools and families, helping reinforce the value of cross-cultural and historical understanding.


Any elementary or middle school student enrolled in the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD)  is eligible to apply. Travel Awards will fund one domestic or international trip for a child and an accompanying adult. Children will submit an essay describing the place they want to travel, their reasons for selecting the destination, and the ways in which the trip connects with an aspect of their school curriculum. Applicants must also demonstrate a compelling financial need. In addition, each application must be accompanied by a letter of support from an MMSD teacher.  TTL is administered by the Foundation for Madison Public Schools, which will manage disbursement of and accountability for the travel awards. The selection committee each year will include Eli Pollak, two MMSD teachers, an administrator from the MMSD Superintendent’s Office, and a member of the Board of the Foundation for Madison Public Schools.


Wisconsin State Journal, September 7, 2015 (front page article)


TTL is administered by the Foundation for Madison Public Schools, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to using private funds to enrich educational opportunities for Madison public school students.

Gifts and donations to TTL are tax deductible as allowed by law.


There are two ways that you can help support this important program.

You can mail us a check. Simply download this form and be sure to write TTL or Travel To Learn  on the line that says “Name of Fund

Or you can visit the donation page and contribute by credit card or PayPal.   If you do contribute on line, please follow these steps to ensure that your gift reaches Travel to Learn.

1. Open the FMPS donation page.

2. Scroll down the page to the link that says “Give a gift to an ABC fund” (this is the last option at the bottom of the page) and click Continue.

3. Under Donate Online, there is a pull down menu that says “My donation should be made to. . .”  Select Travel to Learn Fund on the pulldown link.


Thank you!


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