Giving Compass’ Take:
• Tom Vander Ark at Getting Smart talks with Rob Waldron on inspiring stories of giving and impact in education and learning environments.
• What are the education needs in your community? How can donors and philanthropists find the most impactful ways of helping?
• Here’s an article on understanding the state of education philanthropy.
Curriculum Associates is the best edtech success story in America, in several ways. Eleven years ago, Rob Waldron took the helm of a small New England workbook publisher and turned it into a digital learning leader. The flagship adaptive instructional product, i-Ready, is now serving 7 million students and educators and recently provided its billionth lesson.
In 2017, the company made a historic charitable gift, giving away the majority of its shares, which created a $145 million endowment at Iowa State University and a $50 million donation to the Boston Foundation.
I recently spoke with Waldron about these impressive milestones and how he sees the education landscape changing in the coming years.
TVA: A decade ago, you took over a sleepy workbook publisher. What made you think you could build it into the biggest impact engine of the decade?
RW: To be honest, the focus in my first couple of years was far less lofty. We were in a recession, and I was deeply focused on the challenge of “Can I maintain a company that serves teachers and kids well…but that doesn’t go bankrupt?”
We were operating in a context of 10 percent unemployment locally, and our staff was mostly over the age of 40 doing editorial work. I knew that downsizing would mean these dedicated folks wouldn’t have had many options for where to turn.
Read the full article about impact in education by Tom Vander Ark at Getting Smart.
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