Founders' Message

Dear Partners and Friends,

Our foundation went through a strategic planning process to assess where we could have the greatest impact on our nation’s public school system in the future. When we began our work in K-12 education reform in 1999, we believed that urgent, bold reforms were necessary to transform the status quo into a system that produced dramatically higher student achievement.

For more than a decade, the majority of our investments in education philanthropy has been in the areas of school district governance, management, labor relations and competition. We have been proud to invest in organizations and leaders that have pursued new ways of tackling the challenges facing America’s public schools. Our grantees have succeeded in their efforts to redesign school districts, draw top talent into the field, and scale up successful alternative delivery models like high-quality public charter schools.

Although progress has been made, we still have a long way to go before our students are internationally competitive in this global economy. As with any challenge, we are most interested in looking for the next set of promising ideas, institutions and talent. For the next three years, our foundation will direct most of our resources toward creating the policies, innovations, leadership and institutions under which teachers and students can—and do—succeed. We will be purposeful, yet opportunistic in the following four areas:

Transformative federal and state policy. We will be expanding our policy work at the federal and state levels. President Barack Obama and Secretary Arne Duncan have created powerful incentives for states and districts to dramatically improve American public education. The success of that work depends on the ability of states to implement courageous, aligned reforms—with deliberate speed and at scale—that enable students to perform at significantly higher levels. We hope to support federal and state policies that remove the barriers to effective K-12 education and create the human capital, school choice, resource and governance conditions under which districts and schools can succeed. We also plan to help state education agencies themselves become dynamic, performance-oriented organizations that are ready to adopt and implement bold policies.

Groundbreaking innovation in teaching and learning. We are also excited to embark on new investments in innovations that directly serve students and teachers. Technology is a tremendous untapped resource to dramatically increase student learning. By redefining “classrooms” as we know them, technology can serve to individualize the pace, style and model of instruction to meet each and every student’s needs. We also look forward to supporting labor organizations with the courage and vision to radically innovate collective bargaining in ways that benefit teachers and students.

Strong leadership. We are proud that The Broad Center for the Management of School Systems has trained more than 300 executives, the majority of whom are now working in school districts around the country. Broad Superintendents Academy graduates are raising student achievement faster than their peers after three years in their positions. And Broad Residents are freeing up millions of dollars for the classroom by introducing central office efficiencies.

Redesigned, high-performing institutions. Finally, redesigned school districts, high-quality public charter schools, Broad Prize districts and alternative pathways like Teach For America have one thing in common. They have all adopted or created radically different models that demonstrate it is possible to build high-performing organizations that produce gains for students. We look forward to continuing to support these best-in-class institutions and to sharing the tools and practices that will make it faster and easier for new leaders to grow high-performing organizations to scale, without wasting a moment reinventing the wheel.

More than a decade ago, when we decided to turn to philanthropy full-time and focus our efforts on K-12 public education reform, we were fortunate to have the expertise and leadership of Dan Katzir, who helped build our foundation’s education work. After 11 years leading The Broad Foundation’s education reform work, Dan has decided to change his role to become a part-time senior advisor to the foundation. We will always be grateful to Dan for his leadership, dedication and commitment. Dan’s last day as managing director of The Broad Foundation was Friday, July 23, 2010.

We are again fortunate to have the strong leadership of two of our senior staff, who will jointly lead our education reform work. I am pleased that Gregory McGinity, who has been with our foundation since 2003, will serve as managing director of policy, and Rebecca Wolf DiBiase, who has been a core member of our grants team since 2006, will be managing director of programs.

As we enter this new chapter in our foundation’s education work, we are every bit as excited and optimistic as we were when we began in 1999. We look forward to working with you on this next generation of challenges and opportunities.

Eli and Edythe Broad
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation