Supporting Development in Ghana: The Role of Foundations

Community and Economic Development;Education and Literacy;Energy and Environment

Supporting Development in Ghana: The Role of Foundations

Foundation funding focused on Ghana over the past decade has encompassed all aspects of the global development agenda and beyond. Among foundations whose grants are tracked by Foundation Center, their giving focused on Ghana totaled $499 million between 2002 and 2012. While few foundations intentionally aligned their grantmaking priorities with the MDGs, over half of grants (54 percent) made by the 151 foundations included in this analysis and most of their grant dollars (79 percent or $394 million) supported activities consistent with at least one of the eight MDGs.

September 2015

Geographic Focus: Africa (Western)-Ghana

Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

Education and Literacy;Employment and Labor;Race and Ethnicity

Major Malfunction: Racial and Ethnic Disparities in What Students Study

This analysis explores bachelor's degrees earned by race and ethnicity, broken down by area of study. The report identifies the majors and programs that produce the highest and lowest median incomes (both at the start of one's career and in the middle of one's career) and probes for uneven distributions of African American and Latino students. The report finds that these students disproportionately earn more degrees in low-paying majors, and fewer degrees in the highest paying majors.

September 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, The

Education and Literacy

Mirage: Confronting the Hard Truth About Our Quest for Teacher Development, The

Two years ago, we embarked on an ambitious effort to identify what works in fostering widespread teacher improvement. Our research spanned three large public school districts and one midsize charter school network. We surveyed more than 10,000 teachers and 500 school leaders and interviewed more than 100 staff members involved in teacher development.

Rather than test specific strategies to see if they produced results, we used multiple measures of performance to identify teachers who improved substantially, then looked for any experiences or attributes they had in common -- from the kind and amount of development activities in which they participated to the qualities of their schools and their mindset about growth -- that might distinguish them from teachers who did not improve. We used a broad definition of "professional development" to include efforts carried out by districts, schools and teachers themselves.

In the three districts we studied, which we believe are representative of large public school systems nationwide, we expected to find concentrations of schools where teachers were improving at every stage of their careers, or evidence that particular supports were especially helpful in boosting teachers' growth. After an exhaustive search, we were disappointed not to find what we hoped we would. Instead, what we found challenged our assumptions.

July 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Staying Relevant In A Changing Neighborhood: How Fleisher Art Memorial Is Adapting To Shifting Community Demographics

Arts and Culture;Education and Literacy

Staying Relevant In A Changing Neighborhood: How Fleisher Art Memorial Is Adapting To Shifting Community Demographics

This case study describes Fleisher Art Memorial's initiative to bring residents of the surrounding ethnically diverse neighborhood to its on-site programs. The report is part of a larger set of 10 case studies commissioned by The Wallace Foundation to explore arts organizations' efforts to reach new audiences and deepen relationships with their existing audiences. These in-depth reports lay out how the efforts were created and run, describe the results in detail, identify what helped them become successful, and show what got in the way of success. They add to a growing body of field-based research, providing specific examples of individual organizations' responses to unique circumstances. At the same time, each aspires to capture more broadly applicable lessons about what works and what does not -- and why -- in building arts audiences.

August 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Pennsylvania-Philadelphia County-Philadelphia

Benchmark for Making College Affordable, A

Education and Literacy;Poverty

Benchmark for Making College Affordable, A

So what is "affordable?" Most concepts of affordability are based on what college should cost, not what students can afford to pay. For example, colleges and universities often set tuition based not on what students can afford but rather on what the institutions need in terms of revenue. The conversations about affordability typically begin with what college prices are, what grant aid is available, and then ultimately wind up with what students are left to pay. Instead, the student-centered model proposed here begins with what students can reasonably contribute, and then suggests that the system be built around their needs.

It is our hope that the affordability benchmark will contribute to the ongoing policy dialogue about college affordability in the coming months and years. However, instead of these conversations being shrouded in ambiguity, they can be grounded in a more specific idea of what affordability actually is.

August 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Growing Together, Learning Together: What Cities Have Discovered About Building Afterschool Systems

Education and Literacy

Growing Together, Learning Together: What Cities Have Discovered About Building Afterschool Systems

In 2003, The Wallace Foundation began an initiative that eventually included five cities -- Boston, Chicago, New York City, Providence and Washington, D.C. -- to help them develop afterschool systems. At the time, a few cities and organizations were pioneering this approach (L.A.'s Best in Los Angeles, The After-School Corporation in New York, After School Matters in Chicago), but it was still a novelty. Five years later, Wallace examines lessons learned from this initiative, which posited two central premises:

  1. Children and teens can gain learning and developmental benefits by frequent participation in high-quality afterschool programs.
  2. A coordinated approach can increase access to, and improve the quality of, afterschool programs.

July 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (Northeastern)-Rhode Island-Providence County-Providence;North America-United States (Northeastern)-New York-New York County-New York City;North America-United States (Northeastern)-Massachusetts-Suffolk County-Boston;North America-United States (Midwestern)-Illinois-Chicago Metropolitan Area;North America-United States (DC Metropolitan Area)

Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?

Education and Literacy;Government Reform

Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?

Common Core Funders Working Group leaders commissioned a capstone paper to capture insights from participants in various Working Group activities, including national and regional funders and field leaders in state policy, district implementation, professional development and teacher associations. We asked questions about the turning points in Common Core implementation, about funder roles and influence and about what they believed philanthropy should take away from its support efforts to date.

The resulting report, "Funding the Common Core State Standards: What Have We Learned the Last Three Years?" summarizes our findings and offers new food for thought for funders seeking to move forward in their support of both the Common Core State Standards and other ambitious education systems change efforts.

July 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on New York City's Expanded Success Initiative

Children and Youth;Education and Literacy;Race and Ethnicity

Changing How High Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men: A Report on New York City's Expanded Success Initiative

A growing number of initiatives around the country are attempting to tackle longstanding inequities, including higher rates of school dropout, incarceration, and unemployment among Black and Latino men. New York City's Young Men's Initiative (YMI) has been at the forefront of these efforts since it was launched in 2011 to address disparities in education, employment, health, and criminal justice.

YMI's educational component, the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), focuses on the issue of low college readiness among Black and Latino male students -- a problem that has persisted in NYC even as high school graduation rates have risen. ESI is providing funding and professional development to 40 NYC high schools, aimed at helping them improve outcomes, particularly college and career readiness, among their Black and Latino male students.

The Research Alliance for New York City Schools is conducting a four-year evaluation of ESI's implementation and impact. This report, Changing How Schools Serve Black and Latino Young Men, presents our findings from Year 2 of ESI (the 2013-2014 school year), drawing on interviews and focus groups with staff at ESI schools and a set of matched comparison schools, a student survey, and an analysis of student achievement data.

May 2015

Geographic Focus: North America-United States (New York Metropolitan Area)

See More Reports

Go to IssueLab