Over six decades, the Foundation has worked to improve education using broad strategies that encompass grants to colleges and universities, and investments in Bush Fellows (see 50 Years of Fellowship).
But in 2009, the Foundation focused its resources on a specific education goal: increase the percentage of students from all backgrounds who attain postsecondary success. Today, we are pursuing this goal in two ways—Major Investments and Education Ecosystem Grants.
Through Major Investments, the Foundation invests in large, long-term grants focused on specific education improvements. This developing portfolio began with the $40 million Teacher Effectiveness Initiative in 2009. We invested in a second Major Investment in 2014 that explores alternative pathways to teacher licensure. And we'll launch several new Major Investments by the end of 2015, with more to follow in future years.
To support these Major Investments, we began offering Education Ecosystem Grants in 2014. These provide operating support to organizations that help create an education ecosystem where other organizations can succeed in reducing disparities and improving student outcomes.
The five stories that follow spotlight only a sample of grantees’ education efforts in the region. Much like Archibald Bush’s early investments, they illustrate how individuals and organizations are thinking bigger and thinking differently about how to reach better educational outcomes for all students in the region.