California Education Policy Fund Announces Open Call for Letters of Inquiry to Spur State Education Reform

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA and NEW YORK, NY—May 16, 2013 – In an effort to effect meaningful policy reform in California’s public education system, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) today announced a call for Letters of Inquiry to the California Education Policy Fund (CEPF), one of RPA’s managed funds.

Now in its third grant cycle, CEPF is offering a total of nearly $3 million in grants dedicated to education policy reform in California. Launched in 2011 with a gift from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, CEPF is focused on supporting organizations to work to advance policy and practice reform in California schools that advances Deeper Learning—the set of richer academic knowledge and higher-order skills that students need to succeed in 21st-century work and civic life. Deeper Learning promotes mastery of academic content along with critical thinking and complex problem solving, effective communication, teamwork and collaboration, learning how to learn, and academic mindsets—attitudes and beliefs students have of themselves, and schooling, in order to want to learn and in order to learn successfully.

Two major changes in California’s K-12 system support this reform direction: implementation of the Common Core State Standards—which have been adopted by California and 45 other states and which demand key aspects of Deeper Learning—and planned use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium tests of the Common Core, which will assess students for much higher levels of skills and content rigor. In addition, California has recently joined the national Innovation Lab Network (ILN). Hosted by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the ILN’s goal is that every student in the U.S. be ready for college and career upon graduation from high school. As one of 10 ILN member states, California is actively pursuing policy and practice improvements that advance Deeper Learning by elevating the state’s education goals, improving assessments, fostering richer accountability systems, and more.

“The dedication of the Hewlett Foundation and other exceptional donors is vital to truly meeting the needs of California students,” said Melissa Berman, President & CEO of RPA, which manages CEPF. “It is this type of commitment and support that will make a lasting impact on statewide education policies, enhancing local school systems for generations to come.”

The Hewlett Foundation has contributed a total of almost $11 million to CEPF over the past three years. The Sacramento-based education consulting firm, Capitol Impact, LLC acts as project manager for the CEPF.

This year, CEPF seeks to provide both supplementary funding to current grantees and awards to new grantees. CEPF focuses particularly on supporting California’s commitment to college- and career-readiness in the K-12 and community college systems. Eligible applicants include high-performing, action-oriented advocacy and organizing nonprofits, as well as nonprofit organizations that focus on research, policy analysis, and information sharing.

“California’s schools and colleges face numerous complex challenges, which culminate in far too many students graduating from high school unprepared for college or to begin their working careers,” said Barbara Chow, director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program. “Together with Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Hewlett Foundation is proud to continue to support innovative organizations dedicated to improving the education of California students, which will ultimately improve the prosperity of the state.”

An independent grant award advisory committee will review and provide feedback on grant proposals, and RPA will make all final grantmaking decisions. Grant recipients will be required to provide annual reporting and participate in educational and capacity-building convenings throughout the year.

For complete grant eligibility and criteria information, including details on how to submit a Letter of Inquiry, please visit or email

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, RPA 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. The organization’s diverse staff of nearly 40 is led by experienced grantmakers with significant depth of knowledge across multiple issue areas. RPA celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2012. For more information, visit RPA’s website at

About The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has been making grants since 1967 to help solve social and environmental problems at home and around the world. The Foundation concentrates its resources on activities in education, the environment, global development and population, performing arts, and philanthropy, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. A full list of all the Foundation’s grants can be found here.