Achieving Foundation Accountability and Transparency: Lessons From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Scorecard

FavoriteThe Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shares what they learned from developing their Scorecard. Comparative and quantitative measures were found to be the most powerful forces to motivate change.

Assessing Nonprofit Networks Prior to Funding: Tools for Foundations to Determine Life Cycle Phase and Function

FavoriteLife cycle analyses tools help determine a nonprofit network’s stage of development and its functional characteristics. The authors suggest that these tools are useful to funders in determining a network’s readiness for funding.

Creating and Scaling Innovative School Models Through Strategic Partnerships

FavoriteThis article focuses on the pivotal role of philanthropy within the Texas High School Project, a public-private alliance to support education reform across the state and to maximize the resources of aligned organizations. Two examples show how foundations successfully engaged in the project, recruited other foundations, shared and increased expertise, maximized resources within the alliance, and increased impact to address a complex issue and solution. Also discussed are lessons learned about the foundations engaged with the alliance.

Developing Foundation-University-Grantee Collaboratives as a Model for High-Impact Philanthropy

FavoriteThe Weingart Foundation’s Urban School Districts Reform Initiative sought to improve urban education, and ultimately raise student achievement, by supporting sustainable reforms in school districts educating high numbers of low-income students. Based on research by an intermediary, six selected school districts were invited to propose projects that were a fit for their own strategic plans; four were funded. Based on this experience, three key design elements were identified: 1) Confine the initiative to a content area or target population, 2) Pay attention to geography, and 3) Encourage boundary-spanning.

Expanding Organizational Advocacy Capacity: Reflections From the Field

FavoriteThe California Endowment implemented the Clinic Consortia Policy and Advocacy Program to expand grantee advocacy capacity to support the policy and operational needs of California’s community clinics. Funders of advocacy and policy change initiatives are encouraged to consider the resources needed to build and sustain advocacy capacity, including grantee technical expertise, partnerships with stakeholders, and time required to expand advocacy capacity.

Finding the Fix: Embracing Philanthropy’s Role in Transforming an Urban Education Landscape

FavoriteA new approach to urban education reform requires that funders pool resources under a common agenda to successfully build the conditions to change the landscape for children. This article describes and analyzes this shift in thinking and the change in strategy of education reformers in the city of Detroit.

Getting to Results: A Tool and Lessons from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s K-12 Education Portfolio

FavoriteThe Annie E. Casey Foundation developed a exible but rigorous “results framework” tool that helped focus its investments and choose grantees that shared its aims by dening success, specifying results, tracking progress, and aligning its work. The framework includes an understanding of population and program accountability and lays out overarching categories for thinking about results: impact, inuence, and leverage. This paper described how the tool was developed and tested with grantees and shares lessons learned for other philanthropies in the eld of education.

The Trenton Afterschool Partnership: Expanding Learning Time Citywide Through Public/Private Collaboration

FavoriteIn 2009, New Jersey After 3 established the state’s rst nonprot after-school system in Trenton, providing high-quality programs in every public K-12 school. This system expanded access for students and improved the quality of programs while reducing the cost. This article reects on establishing such a system, its results, and lessons learned.

The Quest for Deeper Learning and Engagement in Advanced High School Courses

FavoriteThis article looks at a new version of the AP U.S. Government and Politics course organized around project cycles designed to help students learn the content with deep understanding that will support transfer to future problems. This research effort represents the George Lucas Educational Foundation’s rst work on one of its primary initiatives: to collaborate with teachers, researchers, and educational leaders in the design and implementation of rigorous, project-centered, yearlong courses and the study of their effects.

The Dragonfly Effect: Quick, Effective, and Powerful Ways to Use Social Media to Drive Social Change: Book Review

FavoriteThe Dragonfly Effect identifies a four-step process symbolized by the wings of the dragonfly. The metaphor does a good job of describing how these four major areas must work in tandem to give the lift needed to reach one’s goals via social media.

Voices From the Field III: Lessons and Challenges for Foundations Based on Two Decades of Community-Change Efforts

FavoriteTo date, there is little evidence that CCIs have been able to achieve population-level change in key outcomes; however, they have built community capacity. Building upon a previously published volume on Comprehensive Community Initiatives, this article focuses upon the implications for foundations of what has been learned about CCIs.