Philanthropy in Education
City-based funders focused on education are eager to invest in technology-based initiatives to address education’s most complex problems. However, many funders are struggling to figure out how to most effectively and expeditiously realize technology’s potential in schools. This white paper—published by the Cities for Education Entrepreneurship Trust (CEE-Trust)— identifies and catalogs the core components of education technology markets that city-based funders might support, and how they might support them. Interviews with funders and education technology experts yielded thoughtful observations about options for city-based funders in two categories: intervening directly in education technology markets to fund creators or users of cutting-edge technologies, and catalyzing activity or funding, to educate the field or create conditions favorable to the creators and users of education technology.
This report – co-authored by CEE-Trust and Public Impact – profiles three high-impact city-based organizations that are taking significant strides toward reforming their cities’ education systems: The Mind Trust in Indianapolis, New Schools for New Orleans, and The Skillman Foundation in Detroit. Through these organizations’ efforts, the report identifies a core set of lessons learned for leaders in other cities: (1) Find the right leader or leadership team; (2) Embrace strategies and theories of change that reflect local markets; (3) Develop a bold, comprehensive plan for reform; (4) Grow talent pipelines; (5) Support a strong, high-quality charter sector; (6) Invest in innovation; and, (7) Engage stakeholders in the community to accelerate reform.
[pdf] Drawing on lessons learned from cities trying to kick-start a new charter market, as well as from some of the most developed markets in the country, this white paper offers guidance for philanthropies on how to invest wisely as part of a city-based strategy. It also identifies potentially high-yield investments in the charter sector. This white paper is part of a three-piece series continuing the discussion from a National Charter School Resource Center / U.S. Department of Education conference exploring emerging city-based movements that embrace high-quality charters as an integral component of their reform strategy.
Commissioned by Baptist Community Ministries (BCM) in 2010, this report examines how philanthropic organizations in four American cities—Albany, N.Y.; Denver, Colo.; Harlem, N.Y.; and Houston, Tex.—have affected the charter sector. This scan includes information about how a select number of philanthropic organizations in each city developed their investment strategies, made investment decisions, and evaluated the impact their investments are having on public education. Read more…
A Road to Results: Helping the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Education Program Implement Results-Based Accountability.
A Road to Results: Helping the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Education Program Implement Results-Based Accountability
This series is part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s multi-year effort to develop a “results-based accountability” (RBA) approach to its K-12 education portfolio. Though still a work in progress, the Foundation’s experience with RBA can help other philanthropic organizations and individual donors develop their own approaches to producing and documenting the results of their investments. Public Impact’s Sarah Crittenden and Bryan Hassel have been helping the Foundation with a series of reports on its approach. The first [pdf], describes the Foundation’s overall approach to RBA. The second [pdf] explains the Program’s vision, theory of change and theory of action. The third [pdf] is a guidebook to help Program grantees understand performance measurement, select performance measures, set performance goals, and report performance results. It also includes an Excel template for reporting on performance measures.
[pdf] Charter schooling remains one of the nation’s most promising efforts to produce more excellent public schools, especially for low-income and minority students. Almost 20 years after the first charter school law was passed, however, questions in the sector largely focus now on quality and expansion: How can we help take the best of the charter sector to scale, while at the same time maintaining high standards of quality? Drawing upon the experience of many of the sector’s most active funders, Public Impact prepared this guidebook for The Philanthropy Roundtable to offer a menu of strategies that donors can use to support a high-quality charter school sector, including:
- Building a robust supply of high-quality new schools;
- Priming the teacher and leader pipeline;
- Addressing critical operations challenges;
- Defining and improving quality; and
- Forging charter-friendly public policies.
The guidebook examines these five priorities by describing how current funders are addressing them, providing suggestions for new donors and exploring the next phase of philanthropic support in the charter sector. Excerpts from the report (pdf) also appear in the spring 2009 issue of Philanthropy Magazine.
[pdf] In this report, authors Bryan Hassel and Daniela Doyle note that to improve upon the successes of entrepreneurial providers and raise student achievement, more districts and states must be willing to give new education services a chance. Districts, however, are hesitant to hand over schools and school functions to outsiders. The authors suggest that performance guarantees, similar to car warranties or a home builder’s bonded contracts, could provide an incentive for districts to experiment with new services by shifting risk from the district to the provider. The report explores a range of design issues that districts, providers, and investors could work through as they set up viable performance guarantees.
[pdf] This report of the May 2004 meeting “Creating New Schools: Promising Strategy for Change?” was published by Grantmakers for Education and The Philanthropy Roundtable. This meeting convened over 40 donors and grantmakers from foundations across the country to consider the effectiveness of a “new schools” strategy for philanthropy. With support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the meeting offered two days of conversation and reflection on the rationale for a new schools strategy, emerging evidence on its viability and the challenges grant-makers need to confront to support successful new schools initiatives.
Co-authored by Bryan Hassel and Amy Way as a chapter in Frederick Hess’s 2005 volume With the Best of Intentions: How Philanthropy is Reshaping K-12 Education (Harvard Education Press). The chapter aims to shed light on the question: How extensive is choice-related philanthropy in the United States? By evaluating the top 50 donors in K-12 education for the extent and nature of their financial support for school choice we determined a successful movement will focus on creating high quality options for students and finding ways to reach the scale needed to make up a significant portion of the educational market. To achieve this we need a broader set of donors willing to enter into this controversial movement.
[pdf] Co-authored by Education Sector co-director Thomas Toch, this installment of Ed Sector’s “Connecting the Dots” series describes the Walton Family Foundation’s impact on the charter sector via its investments in individual charter schools, charter management organizations and networks, support organizations, advocacy, and research and information.