Education Philanthropy Misses the Mark in Helping American Students
Study calls for more funding to support efforts that bring equal access to quality education

Press Release

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Education Philanthropy


Washington, D.C. (10/27/2010) – Every year, our nation’s grantmakers give billions of dollars in grants for education. Yet, only a small fraction of these foundations provides funding to address the specific needs of lower-income and other vulnerable students. An even smaller number supports efforts to solve the education equity crisis, according to a new report by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, a watchdog group based in D.C.

In “Confronting Systemic Inequity in Education: High Impact Strategies for Philanthropy,” Kevin Welner and Amy Farley examine the cycle of unequal educational access and opportunities faced by students from marginalized communities. They argue that education reform cannot take place without breaking this cycle, and this requires changes in the way philanthropy deploys its resources.

“Education in America is broken especially for children in vulnerable communities, and the situation is actually worsening, but that’s not the news,” says Welner, a professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the National Education Policy Center. “What’s newsworthy is the fact that the country’s education grantmakers are not effectively using their limited dollars to drive long-term solutions. By revisiting some basic assumptions, they can be more effective.”

Welner and Farley recommend two high impact strategies for foundations: dedicate at least 50 percent of their education grantmaking towards supporting marginalized communities and 25 percent towards bringing those communities into the policymaking process through advocacy, community organizing and civic engagement.


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