California Education Policy Fund Awards Grants Totaling $3.73 Million, to Organizations Dedicated to Statewide Education Reform

Friday, July 29th, 2011

New initiative established to support “ecosystem” of organizations working on policy reform, with emphasis on needs of underserved students

LOS ANGELES and NEW YORK (July 29, 2011) – Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors today announced the first grants from the California Education Policy Fund (“the Fund”) to advance reform efforts that can boost student achievement and college success in California, especially among disadvantaged students. Totaling $3.73 million over three years, the grants will provide general operating support to nine existing and new organizations positioned to effect change in California’s education policies.

The Fund, which is open for contributions from all interested donors, was created earlier this year with a leadership gift from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of its refined education grantmaking strategy and in recognition of the many policy-related challenges facing education, notably at the K-12 and community-college levels. The goal is to enhance the effectiveness of existing groups that work on different areas of reform and develop a network – or “ecosystem” – of organizations that can engage a broad array of stakeholders. The Fund will also provide technical assistance to grantees and facilitate collaboration among them.

“Education policy is tough to change, because the issues are so broad and the stakeholders so diverse. But the remarkable applicants and final proposals demonstrate that the passion to improve students’ options has not flagged and that there’s real cause for optimism,” said Melissa A. Berman, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, which manages all aspects of the Fund. “We’re excited about what these grantees, with shared goals but different approaches, will be able to accomplish. We look forward to new donors joining the cause to magnify future waves of grants and impact.”
Grantees include:

Campaign for College Opportunity
Children Now
EdTrust West
Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (IHELP)
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce
New America Media
Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)
Parent Revolution
West Hills Community College District/C6 Consortium

The Fund sought partners working on a range of policy-related issues, including but not limited to: standards and accountability; improvement in state education data systems measuring student growth; recruitment, development and retention of effective teachers; college readiness, especially for low-income students, and initiatives related to finance, extended learning time and universal preschool.
Grantees were chosen from among qualified organizations that had submitted initial letters of inquiry and subsequent comprehensive proposals, which were reviewed by RPA and Capitol Impact, a Sacramento-based education-consulting firm. An independent Grant Award Advisory Committee, comprised of experts with significant education experience and deep knowledge of California education policy issues, made funding recommendations to RPA, which is responsible for all final grant decisions.
“We are thrilled with the quality of the ideas, the strength of the organizations supported by the Fund and the powerful approach to improving the conditions for reform in California’s education system,” said Barbara Chow, Education Program director at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

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About Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) is a nonprofit organization that currently advises on and manages nearly $200 million in annual giving by individuals, families, corporations, and major foundations. Headquartered in New York City with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, it traces its antecedents to John D. Rockefeller, Sr., who in 1891 began to professionally manage his philanthropy “as if it were a business.” With thoughtful and effective philanthropy as its only mission, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has grown into one of the world’s largest philanthropic service organizations and as a whole has facilitated more than $3 billion in grantmaking to nearly 70 countries. RPA’s diverse staff of nearly 40 is led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across multiple issue areas.