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Foundation Center

National Teleconference:
The Budget Crisis in Education:
What Role Can Grantmakers Play in Maximizing Resources at District/Local Levels?

Foundation Center
April 27, 2011

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Total running time: 59 minutes, 20 seconds

Cuts in federal spending for education and severe budget deficits in the states are having a negative trickle-down effect on school districts nationwide. With limited funds, district superintendents, school boards, and other local officials are grappling with ways to do more with less without compromising basic instructional needs. What are the key challenges and opportunities for local leaders in managing resource allocation for public schools? What role can education funders play in helping districts and local agencies develop sound fiscal policies and practices that align spending with student outcomes? In this teleconference, a panel of foundation leaders and a systems resource expert in the field discuss resource allocation strategies that are making a difference in their communities.

Presenters address such issues as:

  • How are districts prioritizing budget cuts? How are these decisions being made and implemented? What are lessons learned thus far? What are the implications for longer-term sustainability?
  • How do the priorities at the district level align with federal and state priorities and policies?
  • What are success stories in fund allocation for transforming schools and school systems?
  • Are there particular types of partnerships that are especially critical in ensuring effective use of funds at district/local levels?
  • How can funders become key stakeholders in helping districts and local communities do more with less? How can funders leverage not just funding, but also their influence?

Program Facilitator:

  • Mark Rigdon, Vice President, Director of Global Philanthropic Strategy and Programs, JPMorgan Chase Foundation


  • Karen Hawley Miles, President and Executive Director, Education Resource Strategies
  • Marguerite Roza, Senior Data and Economic Advisor, U.S. Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Christine Van Bergeijk, Vice President, Programs, Hawai`i Community Foundation

Following the presentations, a Q & A session offers participants the opportunity to ask questions and to share their own experiences working with local districts and schools.

This teleconference is presented as part of the Foundation Center's Foundations for Education Excellence initiative, made possible through generous support from the C.S. Mott Foundation and additional support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation for Philanthropy In/Sight®: Education. We also thank the Council on Foundations, the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers, Grantmakers for Education, and the Philanthropy Roundtable for their assistance with this effort.

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