Education Consulting

Creating Opportunities for All Children to Achieve Their Full Potential

Educators in the United States strive to ensure that a child’s race, ethnicity, zip code, or parents’ education level no longer serve as predictors for success in life.  Across the globe, educators pursue similar efforts to overcome the negative effects of bias and inequity based on gender, caste, or income.

We work with philanthropists, nonprofits, and NGOs to confront structural and systemic inequities with innovative approaches designed to create better lifetime outcomes for young people.

Questions We Help Nonprofits, NGOs, and Educators Address

Education nonprofits and NGOs deliver services and advocate for lasting systemic change–against a backdrop of continually declining resources. We collaborate with visionary leaders and teams to accelerate progress towards equitable outcomes, working side by side to help answer questions—such as the following—about overcoming barriers to progress.

  • Achieving Breakthrough Impact at Scale: How can my organization achieve breakthrough impact for the learners served least well (and in some cases, oppressed) by today’s systems? And how can I do so at scale?
  • Centering Equity and Applying an Asset-Based Lens: How can my organization set universal educational goals for children while targeting strategies to the most marginalized learners? How does my organization counter the deficit mindset in education that focuses on problems rather than potential, especially for low-income children and children of color?
  • Creating a Sustainable and Lasting Future: How does my organization secure the required financial resources and develop an effective operating model that will sustain the impact of our work for years to come?
  • Innovation and Growth: What is the right balance between investing in innovation and growing our core approach, in particular in service to equity?
  • Building the Field: How can my organization best work with like-minded organizations across the broader education sector to make progress towards our shared goals?
  • Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning: Are we clear on our impact goals for learners and systems? Do we have the right measurement approach and capabilities to track progress, learn, and innovate? Have we thoughtfully centered equity in our MEL approach?

Questions We Help Education Funders Address

Funders face challenges in identifying how best to use their resources to pursue their goals.  We listen to your philanthropic ambitions, partnering with you to engage communities and learn from stakeholders with various experiences and vantage points—including students, parents, educators, researchers, and field and community leaders—and then provide you with options tailored to your goals. We steward your decision-making process, and help answer questions, such as those below:

  • Supporting Grantees: How do I help my grantees envision and plan for their next stage of growth and development in delivering breakthrough impact?
  • Investing Strategically: Where can I best deploy my philanthropic resources to progress existing efforts and address barriers to equitable outcomes at scale?
  • Accelerating Place-Based Improvement: How do I improve education outcomes within a place (or places) about which I care deeply? How do I create lasting change?
  • Collaborating with Other Funders and Grantees: How might collaboration improve outcomes for the most marginalized learners? With whom should we collaborate? How should we do it, and what resources do we need?
  • Building the Field: How is my foundation positioned to strengthen the broader ecosystem? What systemic and structural barriers must be addressed to accelerate population-level change?
  • Measurement, Evaluation, and Learning: Are we clear on our impact goals for our grantees and ourselves? Do we and our grantees have the right measurement approach and capabilities and resources to track progress, learn, and innovate? Have we thoughtfully centered equity in our MEL approach?

Examples of Education Consulting Work with a Nonprofit:

What EdFuel Has to Say About Working with Bridgespan

Jimmy Henderson

“There are a few moments in the history of any organization that its leaders can point to and say, ‘This changed our trajectory.’ Working with Bridgespan has been, for EdFuel, one those times.”

Jimmy Henderson
Former Chief Executive Officer, EdFuel

Examples of Education Consulting Work with a Foundation:

Helping the Raikes Foundation Develop an Innovative Education Initiative

Students raising their hands in a classroomThe Raikes Foundation sought to develop an innovative education initiative to transform the experiences and outcomes of students of color and those from low-income families. Bridgespan collaborated with the Raikes team to develop a strategy to dismantle structural and systemic inequity in schools and create equitable learning environments for all students – regardless of race or class. The resulting Building Equitable Learning Environments Network comprises a diverse group of leading school support nonprofits deploying continuous improvement approaches to accelerate learning through practice. The network is now entering its next phase and expanding to engage districts.

What Raikes Foundation Has to Say About Working with Bridgespan

Tricia and Jeff Raikes“Bridgespan has been an invaluable partner in the Raikes Foundation’s work to foster environments that cultivate learning mindsets and skills for students—particularly those of color and from low-income families. With Bridgespan’s collaboration and expertise, we translated our aspirations into an actionable strategy that will work as well for us as for our grantees and partners.”

Jeff and Tricia Raikes
The Raikes Foundation

Education-Focused Nonprofits, NGOs, and Philanthropy with Whom We Have Worked

Nonprofits, NGOs, and Education Systems:

Education nonprofit logos


Education philanthropist logos

Recent Publications About Education

We conduct research and share our insights on the promise of education to improve the lives of those who are most vulnerable. Our articles appear in publications such as the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and on our website.

Our Education Consulting Experts