10/04/2012 |

The Broad Foundation Moves the Needle on Urban Education Reform with Leadership Development

10/04/2012 |
Last week we published our new study, “Philanthropy in the New Age of Government Austerity.” We promised to dig deeper into four case profiles: Eli Broad, Michael Bloomberg, the Irvine Foundation’s five-foundation California Forward initiative, and Pete Peterson. Today is our first installment; check back next week for the Michael Bloomberg case profile.

Watch Eli Broad give an inside look at his philanthropy.

See philanthropists discuss Education.

In 1999, Eli Broad retired from a highly successful business career and confronted the question of how to focus his philanthropy. He had decided to tackle what he viewed as the country’s greatest challenge: transforming the K-12 public education system to meet the needs of the new century. So he and his wife committed $100 million to the cause through the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. But they knew that even that large sum would be dwarfed by the total public funding for education. So how could the Broads leverage their investment to achieve meaningful results?
  The entrepreneur who had built two Fortune 500 companies—KB Home and SunAmerica—decided to focus on what he knew best. “We didn’t have any expertise in curriculum or how to teach,” Broad recalled. What he did know was that successful organizations require strong leadership and governance.

“I realized if we could help identify or train effective school district leaders, they could give the teachers the necessary resources and support,” said Broad. He also realized that this was an area where his philanthropy could fulfill a critical need that public education could not do alone, because despite government’s vast resources, public systems are typically constrained in their ability to invest in their own capacity—such as formal management training for public leaders.

So Broad created two new programs—the Broad Superintendents Academy and the Broad Residency in Urban Education—to recruit and prepare exceptional managers and executives from a diverse set of backgrounds to become catalysts for change in America’s urban school districts.

To learn more about the success of these programs to date, and why Broad also decided to create a national prize for the fastest improving urban school districts, click here to read the full case profile.

This is the second post in our Philanthropy and Government blog series. To read the full article that inspired this series, click here. Join the conversation by commenting below or on Twitter. You can follow Give Smart Twitter updates at @BridgespanGroup.

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