Foundation Center Focus on Education
 - Improving Quality and Access

Improving Quality and Access


“Our schools have been under-performing for 25 years...because we have been unable to enact meaningful reforms or substantially improve student learning.”
— Roy Romer, Chairman, Ed in ’08

“If we look at the economy is information based. So it’s necessary to give all our children the opportunity to become knowledge workers, and that will only happen if we improve K–12 education.”

— Eli Broad, Founder, Eli & Edythe L. Broad Foundation


Less than 4% of foundations’ domestic giving for education in 2007 supported broader access to quality education


How do we improve access to and quality of education for inner-city kids?


Fund school redesign focused on:
  • Small schools
  • Academic rigor
  • Innovative teaching
  • Personalized learning
  • Partnerships with community organizations

Case Study

New Century High Schools
  • Since 2001, this initiative has transformed underperforming New York City high schools into innovative campuses of community-based small schools
  • Received $30 million in seed grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the Open Society Institute


As of 2009:
  • 88 small public high schools
  • 32,000+ students
  • Significantly higher graduation rate than the citywide average


How do we close the gap in high school dropout rates among Hispanic, black, and white students?


Recognize and reward innovative approaches in urban communities that serve low-income and minority students

Case Study

Broad Prize for Urban Education
  • Scholarships rewarding students and urban school districts that demonstrate the strongest gains in student achievement
  • Students in winning district share $1 million annually
  • The top four school districts also each receive $250,000


  • From 2002 to 2007, more than $6 million was awarded to 730 students
  • On average, Broad scholars have a higher college graduation rate than the norm for minority and low-income students

Research Sources

Reframing Education: The Partnership Strategy and Public Schools
Publisher: Carnegie Corporation of New York
by Hirota, Janice

Creating a New Vision of the Urban High School
Publisher: Carnegie Corporation of New York
by Baldwin, Joyce

New Visions for Public Schools
New Century High Schools

Grantmakers for Education

Benchmarking 2008: Trends in Education Philanthropy, Grantmakers for Education

Effective Education Grantmaking Resources: Case Studies, Grantmakers for Education

The Broad Prize for Urban Education

2008: School Reform, Endowments Dominate Education Debate
Philanthropy News Digest
"2008: The Year in Review"

Strong American Schools

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Carnegie Corporation
of New York

OSI/Soros Foundation Networks
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