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ERIC Number: ED537200
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Sep
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Focus for Impact: The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning's Early Childhood Literacy Initiative. Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking. Case Study Number 5
King, Caroline
Grantmakers for Education
The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning was at a turning point in August 2006. It had been five years since the corporate foundation had shifted its focus from general-purpose grantmaking to supporting individual and community learning, and its flagship Early Childhood Literacy Initiative--launched in 2003 to raise literacy rates in the communities served by PacifiCorp power companies--was nearing the end of its grant term. The multiyear $1.3 million initiative had supported five grantees--one from each of the western states where PacifiCorp concentrates its business--representing a range of approaches to improving early literacy. The initiative was considered unique for a small corporate philanthropy, particularly within the utility industry, given the foundation's discrete area of focus, proactive selection of programs and ongoing support for grantees. Also noteworthy were the results of the four-year initiative: emerging evaluation data suggested its programs were contributing to increased early childhood literacy rates and all five grantees were on the road to becoming self-sustaining. To better advance its mission of promoting lifelong learning, the PacifiCorp Foundation committed in 2001 to devote 20 percent of its grantmaking budget to a long-term initiative. Established by PacifiCorp, a regional power company, the PacifiCorp Foundation's annual grantmaking budget is $2.5-3 million. It awards grants to nonprofits in the western states in which the company does business. This case study is intended to help funders see ways of applying "discipline and focus"--one of Grantmakers for Education's Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking--to their work. Because public dollars in education will always dwarf private investments, a funder has greater impact when grantmaking aims to impact a specific social need, is carefully planned and targeted, and concentrates resources to make a difference. PacifiCorp's culture emphasizes solving problems by going "upstream" to intervene at the earliest possible opportunity, and so the foundation trustees chose the area of early education literacy for the first initiative. At that time, the foundation also chose nonprofit partners in Oregon, Utah and Wyoming (and, later, Idaho and Washington) to implement or scale up a highly effective childhood literacy program. (Contains 3 tables, 3 exhibits and 9 footnotes.) [Additional funding for this paper was provided by Washington Mutual. For "Focus for Impact: The PacifiCorp Foundation for Learning's Early Childhood Literacy Initiative. Principles for Effective Education Grantmaking. Case in Brief Number 5," see ED537178.]
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: Early Childhood Education; Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Authoring Institution: Grantmakers for Education
Identifiers - Location: Idaho; Oregon; Utah; Washington; Wyoming