Excellence and Empowerment: A Philanthropic Approach to Education Reform

In an article recently published in The 74 entitled “Excellence and Empowerment: A Philanthropic Approach to Education Reform,” Erica Haines, program director at Philanthropy Roundtable, wrote that philanthropists with a passion for exceptional education are leading the school choice movement by building a rich variety of schools based on the core values of high expectations, empowerment and opportunity for all students.

Haines highlights philanthropic efforts and the critical role they play in improving education across the country.

“There is no shortage of vibrant options in K-12 philanthropy to achieve improved education and life outcomes. One way to foster excellence and agency is to focus on building a rich ecosystem of school choice options — whether they be charter schools, microschools or hybrid homeschools.”

Haines offers these examples:

J.A. Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation supports high-quality schools in Idaho through Bluum, an initiative designed to support educators willing to take risks in the mission of helping children.

The William E. Simon Foundation is a large supporter of New York City’s Vertex Partnership Academies. Vertex Partnership Academies first-of-its-kind network of character-based, International Baccalaureate public charter high schools dedicated to equality of opportunity, individual dignity and our common humanity.

Jeff Sandefer and his wife Laura started Acton Academy, a global network of innovative K-12 schools that encourage students to be “curious, independent, lifelong learners.”

Daniels Fund focuses on fostering high-performing charter schools and portable voucher programs that expand access to schools of choice for underserved communities across Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.

Jeff and Janine Yass founded the Yass Prize in 2021 to support high-quality education providers who remained open during the pandemic. The Prize presented more than $20 million in 2022. The 2022 Yass Prize winner, Arizona Autism Charter Schools provides unique, individualized learning programs and will use the prize money to expand autism centered charter schools.

To learn more about these organizations read “Excellence and Empowerment: A Philanthropic Approach to Education Reform,” at The 74.

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