The Nellie Mae Education Foundation in Quincy, Massachusetts, has announced a new grantmaking strategy focused on advancing racial equity in public education.
The new strategy encompasses six grant funds designed to reinforce one another in advancing the foundation's revised mission, which calls out the importance of "efforts that...challenge racial inequities and advance excellent, student-centered public education for all New England youth." The new funds are: Supporting Organizations Led By People of Color, which will focus on capacity and leadership building; Advancing Community-Led Partnerships, which will provide support for existing partnerships between community-based organizations led by people of color and schools and districts; Amplifying Youth Voice, which will focus on boosting the capacity, power, and voice of youth organizing groups; Building Movements and Networks, which will support grantees with peer learning and capacity building assistance; Strengthening State and National Coalitions, which will provide support to statewide coalitions working to identify policy barriers to racial equity; and Championing Student-Centered Learning, which will provide support for researchers, practitioners, students, and families working to build on the foundation's framework for student-centered learning so as to reflect a greater focus on racial equity.
In a blog post, Nellie Mae Education Foundation president and CEO Nick Donohue and board chair Greg Gunn wrote that the foundation recognizes "the importance of an intersectional lens" and noted that the "focus on addressing racial inequities does not diminish the importance of combating other forms of discrimination or oppression....We remain committed to continuing to support our grantee partners in pursuing student-centered strategies in their communities in ways that are culturally and contextually relevant."
"For many Americans," Donohue and Gunn write,"the idea that education can be a great equalizer is a powerful one, but for too many young people, we know that simply isn't the case. The myth of meritocracy is upheld by the deep, structural inequities that permeate through the systems, policies, and practices within our education system. As a philanthropic organization, we will use our privilege to advance conversations around racial equity and excellence in public education, support organizations who are doing this work, champion their goals, and amplify their voices."
(Photo credit: Nellie Mae Education Foundation)