Critical Contributions: Philanthropic Investment in Teachers and Teaching


Critical Contributions coverThis report from the University of Georgia and
Kronley and Associates analyzes the evolution of philanthropic giving to
teachers and teaching over the past 150 years (with a focus on the 2000s).
While the dollar amounts doled out to these types of programs pale in
comparison to overall K-12 spending, there is much about their directional flow
that is worth noting. From 2000 to 2008, national and regional philanthropies donated
over $680 million to improve K-12 teachers and teaching—with close to a third
of that money going to Teach For America. And it’s not just because of TFA’s
strong track record or stellar fundraising team (though these reasons play a
part)—funders have prioritized teacher-recruitment efforts over the last decade
and have targeted investment in organizations they feel have strong leadership.
Moreover, funders are becoming much more hands-on about the money they hand
out. They’re learning lessons from ineffective philanthropic giving and
targeting their resources to policies they feel bring about change, like
alternative-certification pathways and performance-based evaluations and pay. It’s
hard to say whether all of this money has added up to improved teacher
effectiveness, but the direction in which it is going is certainly promising.

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Kathleen deMarrais,
Arthur M. Horne, Karen E. Watkins, Claire Suggs, Robert A. Kronley, and Kate
Shropshire Swett, “Critical
Contributions: Philanthropic Investment in Teaching and Teachers
,” (Atlanta,
GA: Kronley and Associates, Athens, GA: University of Georgia, July 2011).