June 17, 2019
Grantmakers for Education Examine the Evolution of Education Funding
By Zoë Stemm-Calderon
Director, Education

Anyone paying close attention to the field of education and philanthropy’s role in it has noticed a shift in focus over the past several years – a shift I think signals real opportunity for young people.

The latest report from Grantmakers for Education, Trends in Education Philanthropy, sheds light on where these shifts have been concentrated over the past decade, which to my mind reflects that the field of philanthropy is learning from mistakes and doing a better job of listening to communities.

Two of shifts I’m most excited about are:

  • A commitment to advancing education equity: 75 percent of respondents want to focus their resources to communities least-well served to increase equitable learning opportunities for young people.
  • Focus on the whole learner: Funders have come around to understanding that learning isn’t a siloed experience and that broader aspects of development and the context for learning matters. The extra attention now being paid to how a young person experiences schooling and develops capacities beyond academics will pay dividends in our efforts to expand equity.

These patterns align with the Raikes Foundation’s top priorities, and many of the items in the report help support and advance a more equitable education system.

As the education funding community shifts its focus toward equity, the Raikes Foundation remains invested in making sure all young people are given the opportunities they need to succeed. Through these investments, we envision a future where all students have access to the resources and tools they need to thrive, regardless of ethnicity, race, or socioeconomic status. We are honored to be mentioned in the Funder Spotlight on Page 20, which takes note of the Raikes Foundation’s research on the importance of positive relationships between students and teachers, and our work to bring together school support nonprofit organizations to create the Building Equitable Learning Environments (BELE) Network.

There are many insightful anecdotes and findings in the report that would be of particular interest to educators, funders, and anyone involved with an education-related nonprofit. I recommend reading it in full.