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ERIC Number: ED537197
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Apr
Pages: 34
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Working Together to Achieve Greater Impact: The Donors' Education Collaborative of New York City. Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking. Case Study Number 3
Mackinnon, Anne
Grantmakers for Education
The Donors' Education Collaborative of New York (DEC) began with a scene more typical of politics than philanthropy: five foundation presidents in a room, trying to figure out what to do for a city that had fallen on hard times in the early 1990s. They investigated specific topics--such as the public hospital system and school governance reform--and sought advice from some of the city's most well-informed voices. What the group of five eventually settled on in late 1994 was more in the nature of a general mandate than a specific plan: The foundations would work together for five years, pooling funds to support a common set of grantees, with the goal of increasing public support for New York City's public schools. The result: Since the mid-1990s, constituency building and advocacy for better public education have grown steadily in New York City, as organizations dedicated to that work have strengthened their internal capacity and increased their reach, visibility and sophistication. Much of that growth has been fueled by philanthropic dollars from DEC members. DEC pools both the financial resources and the expertise of its members to advance a complex set of shared grantmaking goals. Since its founding in 1995, 27 foundations and donors have become involved as members, some for the entire duration and others for shorter periods. DEC is scheduled to operate at least through 2007, by which time its grantmaking investments will total nearly $10 million. Grantmakers for Education's Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking describes the importance of seeking out "leverage, influence and collaboration" to make a difference in education. The depth and range of problems in education often make it difficult for funders to achieve meaningful change when working in isolation. Collaboration among funders may therefore be important (and perhaps even essential) to effective grantmaking in certain areas of school reform. The reasons are many: funders who work together can invest larger sums than most could do on their own; they can achieve greater value and impact; and they can learn from one another through collaborative analysis and problem solving. This case study focuses on the early years of DEC, including decisions about governance, strategy, grantees and evaluation, from its creation in late 1994 through 2002. In doing so, this study seeks to illustrate for grantmakers the advantages of collaborating and coordinating with other funders to advance common goals--as well as the very real challenges of blending the diverse philosophies and interests of different foundations into a unified strategy and agenda. (Contains 3 exhibits and 6 footnotes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by the Washington Mutual. For "Working Together to Achieve Greater Impact: The Donors' Education Collaborative of New York City. Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking. Case in Brief Number 3," see ED537195.]
Grantmakers for Education. 720 SW Washington Street Suite 605, Portland, OR 97205. Tel: 503-595-2100; Fax: 503-595-2102; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Authoring Institution: Grantmakers for Education
Identifiers - Location: New York