All students deserve educational experiences that affirm who they are and prepare them to thrive. We support youth, educators, and policymakers to reimagine and redesign our public education system so that all young people have an excellent education, no matter who they are or where they live.
Advancing a K-12 education system that works for every child
Science confirms what educators know: children need to feel safe, respected, and supported at school in order to learn and grow. That’s why we invest in the BELE Network, a system of researchers, educators, and practitioners dedicated to expanding high-quality learning opportunities for students who have been historically underserved. We also work with the Resource Equity Funders Collaborative to address how we fund public education so that funding for every child’s school is based on student needs, not the neighborhood they’re in.
- Dr. Gisele C. Shorter, MPA, Director, National education strategy
The science of learning and development confirms what educators have always known: when children feel safe, respected, and supported at school, they are inspired to learn. All young people deserve developmentally rich and challenging educational experiences that affirm who they are and prepare them to thrive. Unlocking the full potential of every student requires a commitment to centering their experience, needs, the contexts in which they live, and aspirations in the design of schools and systems. That’s why we invest in the BELE Network, a community of educators, student organizers, school and system leaders, researchers, nonprofit practitioners, and policymakers. Each of them is dedicated to advancing our education system to ensure the intellectual, social, emotional, and cultural growth and well-being of all young people.
Every child is unique, so every school should be funded based on its unique needs. For years, some elected leaders have underfunded education, leaving schools from rural areas to major cities with overcrowded classrooms and students forced to learn in unsafe buildings in need of repair. Fixing how we fund schools will allow them to provide resources like nutritious meals, mental health support, great teachers, and career training for the children who need them. This ensures a better future for our children and that we all live in healthy, thriving communities. That’s why we founded the Resource Equity Funders Collaborative to support communities coming together to fix how we fund our schools.
To create an education system that ensures equitable opportunities for all, we need to advance policies and encourage educators to develop learning environments that are developmentally rich and prioritize practices that support students’ success in the classroom and beyond. That’s why we support efforts to help policymakers and advocates learn more about the science of learning and development so they can lead change efforts at the state and local levels.
Most of today’s college students–and the majority of first-generation students and students of color–attend public, broad-access institutions. Although these institutions struggle with student success, they could be the engine of the American dream if they were intentionally redesigned to serve ALL students. That’s why we support collaborations like the Student Experience Project to develop practical approaches to advancing equitable student experiences and outcomes. We also invest in field leaders to drive institutional and broader systemic change.
Toward more equitable post-secondary opportunities
The student body of colleges and universities is more diverse than ever. Yet, a third of new college students will not graduate within six years. Research demonstrates that learning environments designed with student experience in mind can lead to increases in students’ academic engagement, performance outcomes, and well-being. The Raikes Foundation supports efforts like the Student Experience Project, a collaborative of university leaders, researchers, and organizations that advocate for equity-centered policies and practices from the classroom to the Statehouse.
See our other strategies
Housing Stability for Youth
Every young person deserves a safe and stable place to call home. The Raikes Foundation works with young people, multi-sector coalitions, and policymakers to not only respond to youth and young adult homelessness in Washington State and across the U.S. but also to prevent it from happening in the first place.
In 2021, individual donors gave two-thirds of the total philanthropic dollars in the U.S. Our Impact-Driven Philanthropy Initiative is designed to support them in distributing more money with fewer restrictions to organizations working to dismantle the root causes of inequity and transform the systems that created them.
Resourcing Equity & Democracy
A well-functioning democracy for all requires a thriving multiracial society. The Resourcing Equity and Democracy portfolio at the Raikes Foundation strives to build capacity for democratic life by investing in organizing that builds the power of communities who have not had equal voice in our country’s institutions.
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