February 4, 2009
In 2006, North Carolina foundations gave more than $1 billion, about a third went to education related groups including higher education, business education, public and private schools, literary, and scholarships as summarized by the Philanthropy Journal.
In 2007, the North Carolina Network of Grantmakers summoned its education funders to form a group and develop a set of recommended priorities for action in K-12 education.
NCNG saw this as an opportune time for funders to engage fully in discussions with policymakers and in supporting innovative programs that will propel education in N.C. forward, both nationally and globally. “North Carolina is in many ways at a crossroads in public education,” Bobbi Hapgood, executive director of NCNG stated in an email. “The tremendous progress we made over the last decade or so has begun to stagnate. But there are many signs that N.C. is not about to give up its leading role in public education.”
The working group looked at issues of teachers and leadership, funding for results, accountability, systems and structures, and community engagement. Members of the working group interviewed experts in the various areas and engaged in discussions to create a report that provides a basis for understanding key issues in public school education and recommendations for funders to engage in effective education grantmaking.
The North Carolina Education Report 2008 provides five priorities the group felt would ensure that N.C. students would graduate from high school, be prepared for further education, find productive career opportunities, and participate in constructive criticism in their communities.
The report was created to bring a sense of urgency to policymakers, funders, and the public on the importance of having high quality leadership for N.C. schools, strengthening standards and accountability for school performance, increasing support for children and families, aligning governance and funding for 21st century result, and engaging communities in supporting education.
“The publishing of this Education Report 2008 is just the beginning,” Ms. Hapgood stated in an email. “As valuable as the process was for those directly involved, the most critical and exciting part comes next as we begin regional meetings and discussions across N.C. around the recommendations in the report.”
The Burroughs Wellcome Fund was one of 24 member organizations of the Education Funder’s group. President Enriqueta Bond and Carr Thompson, who heads BWF’s science education program, chaired the process to produce the report.
To view the full report:
North Carolina Education Report 2008