The Education Funder Strategy Group (EFSG) is a learning community of leading foundations focused on education policy from early childhood to college and career readiness and success.

Our mission is to help maximize philanthropy’s effectiveness in systemically improving public education for all students as the foundation for a healthy democracy and vibrant communities. EFSG’s learning agenda is driven by the following goals to inform and leverage the role of philanthropy in helping educators and communities:

  • Raise educational attainment for all students with the deeper learning outcomes and skills that will prepare them for life, work, and citizenship in today’s rapidly changing world.
  • Close gaps to increase educational equity for under-served communities by improving the conditions and resources that enable students to learn and thrive, with a particular concern for addressing racialized and class-based disparities in learning opportunities and outcomes.
  • Build public confidence and commitment to public education as a public good.
  • Accelerate systemic change in the education ecosystem to dramatically improve learning and life outcomes for all students.

EFSG offers a robust program of core activities, including: (1) convening substantive quarterly meetings promoting deep conversations and interaction among members with policy makers, education officials and thought leaders; (2) hosting monthly conference calls on hot topics, important new books, and/or breaking events; (3) providing written policy updates and reports on federal initiatives; (4) organizing international seminars and study tours to learn from top-performing education systems; and (5) supporting organic collaborations and working groups self-organized by members around shared interests.

International Learning

EFSG has provided a platform for U.S. funders, thought leaders, and federal and state policymakers to learn from countries with high-performing, high-equity education systems to inform systems change strategies in the U.S.

During stage one from 2009 to 2010, we organized a series of seminars in Washington, DC with international experts on assessments, effective teaching, and next generation accountability systems. During stage two from 2011 to 2015, EFSG sponsored high value study tours to Ontario, Singapore, Shanghai, Finland, Alberta, Switzerland, and Germany. In 2016 we conducted an independent evaluation to assess the learning and impact of our international program which received high marks from participants and valuable recommendations on how we can improve future study tours.

In 2017-2018, we are bringing international experts into our regular EFSG meetings to provide a perspective on global best practice and lessons from the world relative to our topics of focus including comparative studies on voucher/choice systems, early childhood education, resource equity and school finance, and system change and capacity building.

Facilitating Funder Collaboration and Working Groups

Participating foundations recognize that they can achieve much more by working together than any foundation could accomplish on its own. Working groups have emerged from the EFSG forum organically around several topic areas, and offer an opportunity for members to dig deeper on topics of particular interest.  EFSG provides space and support for working groups to convene, and look to the group’s leaders in helping to share the broader learning agenda for EFSG. Notably, a Racial Equity Working Group emerged out of the December 2015 EFSG quarterly meeting and continues to guide and inform EFSG’s learning agenda by incorporating a racial equity lens in programming development. Leadership from the working group spearheaded the collaborative production of a shared definition of “what we mean by racial equity,” and a call to action for education philanthropy that you can see at this link.

Other informal opportunities for collaborations have evolved out of EFSG meetings. For example, the W.T. Grant helped lead a quarterly meeting on Using Research Evidence for Change and organized subsequent conversations among funders interested in supporting the type of research, evidence, and partnerships with practitioners that can help improve public education as an adaptive learning system. It is now the Funders Learning Group for Evidence Use (aka as the Nerd Herd). Given the new education context under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), members of this working group are interested in ways to address capacity issues so that states can engage in new kinds of decision making driven by research.

Who We Work With

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