Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Education Philanthropist Of The Year Her Leadership And Support Have Nurtured Two Very Different But Significant Innovations In Education–A Transformative Approach To Revitalizing Failing Public Schools And A Groundbreaking School For The Gifted. A philanthropist is someone who engages in philanthropy; that is, someone who donates his or her time, money, and/or reputation to charitable causes. The term may apply to any volunteer or to anyone who makes a donation, but the label is most often applied to those who donate large sums of money or who make a major impact through their volunteering, such as a trustee who manages a philanthropic organization.

Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber lives, works and gives in ways that have a notably positive impact on the lives of children. For the past six years, she has been the Founding Chairwoman of the Board and proud champion of Turnaround for Children, whose school-change model has won over teachers, principals, parents, children and key education policymakers and philanthropists across the country with its extraordinary success at transforming some of the most challenged elementary and middle schools. On another important education front, Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber is one of the founders of the Speyer Legacy School, the city’s first independent school for the gifted, now in its second year, which is emerging as a groundbreaking model for the education of advanced learners—the kind of kids who have the potential to one day become our leading scientists, thinkers, artists, politicians and CEOs. These two innovative initiatives come on top of her “day job” as the Director of the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital.

For her leadership with both Turnaround For Children and The Speyer Legacy School—and with a nod to her monumental work on the treatment of depression and the prevention of suicide—we honor Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber as our Education Philanthropist Of The Year.

Philanthropy Education
A Legacy of Giving is an innovative academic service learning program under Austin Community Foundation (ACF), a 501(c)(3) public charity. Unlike traditional direct service charities, Legacy teaches children through academic service learning to become effective community trustees, thereby setting the stage for philanthropic activity now and in the future.
Legacy staff consists of seasoned educators and curriculum writers who develop lessons that integrate current TEKS into our overall approach to teach philanthropy in a way that empowers students and makes them excited to learn and teachers excited to teach. We encourage integration of all core subjects into our study of philanthropy.
Students learn what a community is, what a philanthropist is, how to research a social concern, how to advocate for others, how to run a service project, and how to analyze and reflect upon the results. Our goal is to equip students with academic vocabulary words so they are familiar with terms such as “community” and “civic engagement.”

The New Philanthropists

Education Next Issue Cover

Can their millions enhance learning?

The Money Pours In
American philanthropy, by local and national foundations, corporations, and wealthy individuals, has played many important roles in K–12 education: creating new schools, underwriting research, funding scholarships, testing hypotheses, generating new curricula, invoking ideals, setting agendas, bolstering training, and building a case for policy changes. Foundation money is so widespread, and so sought after, that few in education are unaffected. Indeed, institutions with which both this author and this journal are affiliated receive support from several foundations mentioned here...

Even though some foundations have reduced their involvement in K–12 education or shifted their education investment to prekindergarten or afterschool programs, far more philanthropists are entering the scene than are leaving, says Bill Porter, executive director of Grantmakers for Education...
according to the Future of Philanthropy project, an analysis done by a Cambridge, Massachusetts, consulting group, the number of foundations involved in education is expected to swell. Over the next two decades, Americans will pass on to their heirs huge sums, approximately $1.7 trillion of which will go to charities and to endow foundations...

The New Philanthropists
Plenty of other heavyweights in the world of business are contributing heavily to education causes already. They include Jim Barksdale, the former chief operating officer of Netscape, who gave $100 million to establish an institute to improve reading instruction in Mississippi; Eli Broad, the home builder and retirement investment titan, whose foundation works on a range of management, governance, and leadership issues; Michael Dell, the founder of Dell Computers, whose family foundation is valued at $1.2 billion and is a major supporter of a program that boosts college going among students of potential but middling accomplishment; financier and buyout specialist Theodore J. Forstmann, who gave $50 million of his own money to help poor kids attend private schools; David Packard, a former classics professor who also is a scion of one of the founders of Hewlett-Packard and has given $75 million to help California school districts improve reading instruction; and the Walton Family Foundation, which benefits from the fortune of the founder of Wal-Mart, and which is the nation’s largest supporter of charter schools and private school scholarships (see “A Tribute to John Walton,”)...
The $500 million challenge issued by former ambassador and publishing mogul Walter Annenberg is still the largest philanthropic gift ever given to American public education...
One of the most ambitious efforts to improve teaching is called Teachers for a New Era, a $65 million project underwritten by four venerable foundations: Carnegie, which initiated the effort and has the largest stake; Annenberg; Ford; and the Rockefeller Foundation...

School Choice
During the past decade, the nation’s foundations have become major champions of school choice, supporting the development of charter schools and, to a lesser extent, the financing of vouchers to pay for private school tuition for low-income students. Indeed, it seems that many of the major foundations involved in education are backing charter schools in one way or another, either by supporting individual sites or by financing research or advocacy designed to promote policies friendly to charters.
Broad has nine separate school-choice initiatives. A significant number of the high schools Gates is supporting are charter schools. The Annenberg Foundation gave more than $10 million to underwrite an architecturally daring building for the Accelerated School, a highly successful charter school south of downtown Los Angeles. Financier Theodore J. Forstmann, along with the late John Walton (see “Tribute”) each gave $50 million to start the Children’s Scholarship Fund, which subsidizes private school tuition for low-income students. In 2001, according to the Foundation Center, the Fund was the ninth-largest recipient of charitable donations in the area of K–12 education, and in 2002 it was the top recipient. Forstmann and Walton helped raise another $70 million for scholarships from donors that included Broad, former Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz, and supermarket mogul Ronald W. Burkle.
Since 1998 the Walton Family Foundation started by Sam and Helen Walton, the founders of Wal-Mart, has given an estimated $284 million to K–12 education, the bulk of that to support charter schools and private school scholarships for low-income students. The foundation is by far the biggest donor to school choice-related causes and has helped support, by one estimate, 10 percent of all the nation’s charter schools. “Our theory is that competition in a high enough degree will eventually create competitive pressures to encourage the existing systems to really try and compete,” says Buddy Philpott, the foundation’s executive director.
Can Philanthropy Make a Difference?
It is often difficult to tell whether a foundation is making a difference. Outside of evaluations paid for by the foundations themselves or even done internally, philanthropy often receives little scrutiny, and philanthropists are often treated like celebrities. Frederick M. Hess, an editor of this journal, analyzed press coverage of leading philanthropies involved in education for the publication Philanthropy. He concluded that journalists rarely criticize foundations on substantive issues and are far more likely to laud them than to question their strategy or their impact.
Were journalists or others to attempt it, though, it is probably easier now than in the past to determine the impact of philanthropy. That’s because, in response to the national push for academic standards and accountability, movements fueled by philanthropy, states now are required to test students and report on the results. When the Annenberg Challenge was being evaluated, for example, the use of test scores as one measure of the grant’s effectiveness met resistance in many cities where it operated. Today, it is expected that changes in test scores will be factored into the evaluations of interventions.

Education Philanthropy:
A Resource List

2008 Index of Higher Education Fundraising Performance: Summary of Annual Fund Key Performance Indicators. Cambridge, MA: Target Analysis Group, 2009. 12 p. Subject File Number: 703. Full-text link
Analyses are based on fiscal year 2008 donor transactions from 33 public and 32 private universities and colleges.
Bacchetti, Ray and Thomas Ehrlich (eds.) Reconnecting Education and Foundations: Turning Good Intentions into Educational Capital. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2007. xxii, 503 p. Call Number: 407 BAC
Experts contribute essays that explore strategies for building educational capital and enhancing collaboration between foundations and educational institutions.
Benchmarking 2008: Trends in Education Philanthropy. Portland, OR: Grantmakers for Education. 2008. 20 p. Full-text link
Analyzes a survey of 152 funders to assess the current state of educational grantmaking, and examine the ways in which funders' priorities have been shifting in recent years. Includes numerous statistical charts and tables.
Cohen, Rick. Strategic Grantmaking: Foundations and the School Privatization Movement. Washington, DC: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 2007. vi, 34 p. Subject File Number: 211. Full-text link
Cohen shows how philanthropic capital from small and large foundations has helped build political support for the school privatization agenda using movement-building grantmaking strategies.
Erisman, Wendy and Shannon M. Looney. Corporate Investments in College Readiness and Access. Washington, DC: Institute for Higher Education Policy, 2008. 32 p. Subject File Number: 214 Full-text link
This study examines the level of support for college readiness and access initiatives given by Fortune 100 companies, and the practices employed by these corporations to express their support. Includes case studies of Time Warner, Inc. and General Electric.
Giving USA: The Annual Report on Philanthropy. Indianapolis, IN: Giving USA Foundation. Call Number: 401 AAFR
An annual statistical analysis of charitable contributions that includes a section on education philanthropy.
Ginsberg, Alice E. (ed.) and Marybeth Gasman (ed.). Gender and Educational Philanthropy: New Perspectives on Funding, Collaboration, and Assessment. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. xvi, 261 p. Call Number: 407 GIN
A collection of essays examining the role of philanthropy, especially foundations, in creating gender equity in K-12 education. Part one defines gender equity with a focus on grantmaking with a "gender lens." Part two explores collaboration between grantmakers, youth, and donors, and also studies specific gender equity programs.
Kaplan, Ann E. Voluntary Support of Education. New York, NY: Council for Aid to Education, annual. various pagings. Call Number: 401 COU
Annual report of voluntary giving to colleges, universities, and private elementary and secondary schools. Voluntary support includes donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, religious organizations, and other nongovernmental givers. The book is divided into sections, including survey results, summary tables, and institutional data. Provides detailed analyses and numerous tables.
Liu, Ying. Institutional Characteristics and Environmental Factors that Influence Private Giving to Public Colleges and Universities: A Longitudinal Analysis. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag Dr. Müller, 2007. ix, 104 p. Call Number: 213 LIU
Liu examines state policy and governance factors in addition to socioeconomic factors and institutional characteristics that may have an effect on voluntary support for public institutions of higher education. The sources of voluntary support that are considered in the research are alumni, other individuals, corporations, and foundations.
Willmer, Wesley Kenneth (ed.) Advancing Small Colleges: A Benchmarking Survey Update. Washington, DC: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 2008. 135 p. Call Number: 703 WIL ADV
Analyzes the results of an updated survey of 274 members of the Council of Independent Colleges, the fifth such survey on advancement activities since 1976. Findings from the current study reflect information from the fiscal year 2004-2005, which is compared against data from earlier surveys. Issues covered include trustees' and presidents' roles in advancement, raising funds, integrated marketing, alumni relations, and other topics.

Case Studies

Burdenski, Robert A. More Innovations in Annual Giving: Ten Global Departures That Worked. Washington, DC: Council for Advancement and Support of Education, 2009. xviii, 107 p. Call Number: BUR INN
Provides ten case studies of annual giving programs from around the world. The examples highlight strategies related to the Internet, reunion giving, staff appeals, parent programs, data mining, phonathons, leadership gifts, direct mail, and other fundraising topics.
Clayton, Tonika Cheek. Engaged Partners: The Achieving the Dream Partnership. Portland, OR: Grantmakers for Education, 2008. iv, 30 p. (Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking: Case Study No. 6). Subject File Number: 214. Link to Grantmakers for Education Case Studies
The Achieving the Dream is a national initiative focused on improving the success rates of minority and low-income community college students. It was originally conceived and funded by the Lumina Foundation for Education. Over several years, the program has garnered additional funders and participating community colleges.
Mathews, Jay. "Giving to the Gifted." Philanthropy vol. 23 (Winter 2009) p. 13-5. Subject File Number: 210. Full-text link
Provides examples of privately funded programs that support high-achieving, lower-income students.
Walker, Gary. Midcourse Corrections to a Major Initiative: A Report on the James Irvine Foundation's CORAL Experience. San Francisco, CA: James Irvine Foundation, 2007. 23 p. Subject File Number: 416. Full-text link
An analysis of the changes made to Communities Organizing Resources to Advance Learning (CORAL), a major initiative by the James Irvine Foundation, midway through its implementation. Contains lessons and recommendations on planning and running a large-scale philanthropic program.

Digital Grant Guides

Grants for Elementary and Secondary Education. Digital ed. New York, NY: Foundation Center. 2008. Purchase
Lists more than 18,000 grants of $10,000 or more made by more than 1,100 foundations, mostly in 2006 and 2007, to private and public schools for academic programs, school libraries, scholarships, counseling programs, dropout prevention, teacher education and training, salary support, equipment, student athletics and activities, and renovations and construction.
Grants for Higher Education. Digital ed. New York, NY: Foundation Center. 2008. Purchase
Lists 21,500 grants of $10,000 or more made by 1,200 foundations, mostly in 2006 and 2007, to colleges, universities, and technological institutes, for programs in all disciplines at the undergraduate and graduate levels (including professional schools). These grants include those made to academic libraries and student services and organizations.

Web Resources

Grantmakers for Education
A network of more than 230 funders dedicated to improving educational opportunities and success for students from the pre-kindergarten level up through college.
Global Philanthropy Forum
In collaboration with the Global Philanthropy Forum the Foundation Center provided background statistics coupled with examples of innovative solutions supported by philanthropy on five key areas of activity being addressed at the Forum, including access to education.

Other Foundation Center Tools

Foundation Directory Online
Learn about current funding priorities of education funders by searching the Center's comprehensive database of U.S. grantmakers.
FC Stats
Identify foundation giving trends in education by reviewing statistical tables developed by the Foundation Center.
Philanthropy News Digest - PND
Browse the latest news on education philanthropy at PND, the Center's online news service.
Search PubHub to find recent foundation-sponsored reports on the subject of education. You can also subscribe to PubHub's education RSS feed.

Some notable philanthropists


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