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Hewlett Foundation Launches New Initiative to Reform Education Policy in California

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors Will Lead Effort

Apr 13, 2011


MENLO PARK, Calif. – The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has awarded $3.5 million to establish the California Education Policy Fund, an initiative created to support innovative organizations working to reform education policy throughout the state with an emphasis on underserved students, the Foundation announced today.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, a nonprofit organization with a proven track record in managing complex, multi-million dollar philanthropic projects, will oversee the Fund, which will replace direct grants from the Foundation’s Education Program to pursue education policy reform in the state. Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, with California offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, manages philanthropic projects for a broad range of donor interests nationally, including in education, human services, arts, health, and economic development.

In selecting Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, the Foundation’s Education Program sought a partner with strong capability in grant management; experience in strengthening grantee organizations through evaluation, feedback, and strategy; the ability to partner with policy experts in Sacramento; and a commitment to reaching new donors to build the Fund. In turn, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors has selected Capitol Impact, a Sacramento-based consulting firm with extensive experience on education issues, to advise the Fund on its grantmaking strategy.

“We’re thrilled that Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors will lead this effort,” said Barbara Chow, director of the Hewlett Foundation’s Education Program. “We hope to strengthen the Fund over time, and we urge other donors across the state to join them in the work.”

The new Fund plans to issue a call for Letters of Inquiry in late April. More information, including the letter of inquiry process, is available at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors’ website (www.rockpa.org/cepf). An educational webinar on the process is scheduled from 10a.m. to 11a.m. West Coast time on April 27th.

A grant award committee comprising education reform experts in California will advise the Fund on its grantmaking decisions. The Hewlett Foundation will be represented on the Fund’s advisory committee but will play no role in determining grant awards.

The announcement comes in the context of reduced resources for grantmaking at the Foundation, and an updated strategy that acknowledges that great challenges must be met to ensure college- and career-readiness for students both in California and across the country.

In 2010, the Hewlett Foundation announced a new strategic grantmaking plan for its Education Program. As part of that announcement, the Program articulated a strategy for grantmaking in California that builds on the Foundation’s long history of advancing education in the state and supporting key organizations that strengthen state education policy. The Foundation also renewed its commitment to the Open Educational Resources movement and added an emphasis on promoting “deeper learning”—the combined set of core academic content and related cognitive skills necessary for success in college, work, and civic life in this century.

The ultimate goals for investments in California remain unchanged:

  • Improving the overall quality of California’s education system as measured by student test scores, high school graduation rates, college readiness, and community college completion and transfer rates.
  • Closing the persistent achievement gap on all the measures listed above that limits opportunities for the state’s neediest students.

As noted in the Program’s new strategic plan, which is available on the Hewlett Foundation website, the grantmaking will continue to support student achievement in California through organizations that provide research and analysis, communication, advocacy, community organizing, and technical assistance designed to improve the conditions for state policymaking. The Foundation will also invest in deeper learning and OER tools, projects, and models in California whenever possible.

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, performing arts, philanthropy, and population, and makes grants to support disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. A full list of all the Hewlett Foundation's grants can be found here.


Contact:
Jack Fischer
Hewlett Foundation Communications Officer
(650) 234-4500 ext. 5744
jfischer@hewlett.org