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  Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  

CONTACT:
Maggie Morth
Communications Manager
The Foundation Center
(212) 807-2415
mor@foundationcenter.org


Foundation Center Launches National Education Stimulus Initiative

New Initiative, Web Portal Help Foundations
Leverage Funds for Education Reform

New York, NY — September 16, 2009. The Foundation Center today announced the launch of "Foundations for Education Excellence," a national initiative it is supporting to engage philanthropic institutions and education leaders across the country in a unified, strategic drive to improve public education. The cornerstone of this initiative is a new online resource center that will help education funders align their grantmaking — and maximize their overall impact — with funds available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The web portal, foundationcenter.org/educationexcellence, developed with a grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, was launched in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). It connects education funders to information and tools that will help them assess areas of need, share best practices, and forge strategic alliances to support ARRA's education reform goals.

With over $100 billion in ARRA funds designated to improve educational opportunity nationwide, the DOE is collaborating with the foundation community to support innovative approaches to education reform at the local, state, and national levels.

"We are grateful for philanthropy's contributions in support of the hard work that teachers and leaders, schools and higher education institutions, districts and states are undertaking to dramatically improve outcomes for students," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. "This effort will enable foundations to collaborate in new ways in support of ARRA implementation. Private investment in support of excellent implementation of public funds is a formula for success."

"There is a unique window of opportunity in the coming weeks and months for private philanthropy to leverage its investment in education," said Bradford K. Smith, the Center's president. "Funders need fast-track tools to target areas of need and collaborate in new ways to improve educational opportunities across the country. The Foundation Center is ideally positioned to provide foundations with the knowledge platform needed to advance this process."

The Foundations for Education Excellence portal includes:

  • Interactive U.S. maps, updated weekly, with details for each state, including foundations that have made grants for elementary/secondary school reform; total ARRA education dollars announced, available, and paid out; and key ARRA education funding resources
  • Summaries of best and "promising" practices drawn from foundation-sponsored reports, focusing on each of the education reform goals
  • Weekly spotlights of current foundation initiatives on education reform
  • Lists of top foundation funders and nonprofit recipients in each of the education reform areas, by state
  • Links to daily education news from the Center's Philanthropy News Digest
  • Upcoming and archived events related to ARRA funding for education
The portal also features "What You Need to Know," a compilation of timely information from the DOE, such as daily news feeds, guidelines, major announcements, and grant deadlines.

Visitors will be able to post comments about the best or "promising" practices cited on the portal or share approaches they are taking to address issues in education reform. Funders can also post upcoming programs and events that bring education funders together around common goals. A live, interactive discussion forum will soon be added to foster real-time conversations about strategies, program evaluation methods, and recent grants awarded.

New content and communication tools will be added to the portal on an ongoing basis, including funding snapshots and research advisories on the reform goals, as well as webinars and podcasts with experts from the public and private sectors. The first in a series of online surveys, conducted in September, will reveal how current collaborations and giving practices are aligning with the DOE's vision for improving educational opportunities for student success.

"At perhaps no time in this nation's history has access for all families to high quality educational opportunities been more important," said William S. White, Mott Foundation president. "This initiative takes a critical step towards that goal by offering funders and educators a new way to connect on issues of education reform; to share related ideas, resources and strategies; and rethink the future of education in the U.S."

The initiative is guided by advisory board members from Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Chicago Community Trust, Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, The John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, The Rodel Foundation of Delaware, and WestEd.

About the Foundation Center
Established in 1956 and today supported by close to 550 foundations, the Foundation Center is the nation's leading authority on philanthropy, connecting nonprofits and the grantmakers supporting them to tools they can use and information they can trust. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database on U.S. grantmakers and their grants — a robust, accessible knowledge bank for the sector. It also operates research, education, and training programs designed to advance knowledge of philanthropy at every level. Thousands of people visit the Center's web site each day and are served in its five regional library/learning centers and its network of more than 400 funding information centers located in public libraries, community foundations, and educational institutions in every U.S. state and beyond. For more information, please visit foundationcenter.org or call (212) 620-4230.

About the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation
Mott, established in 1926 in Flint, Michigan, by an automotive pioneer, is a private philanthropy committed to supporting projects that promote a just, equitable and sustainable society. It supports nonprofit programs throughout the U.S. and, on a limited geographic basis, internationally. Grantmaking is focused in four programs: Civil Society, Environment, Flint Area and Pathways Out of Poverty. Besides Flint, offices are located in metropolitan Detroit, Johannesburg (South Africa) and London. The Foundation, with year-end assets of approximately $1.96 billion, made 558 grants totaling $110.4 million in 2008. For more information, visit Mott.org.

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