Giving Compass' Take:

• Here are four examples of the largest education philanthropy foundations are addressing school closures due to COVID-19. 

• How can individual donors contribute to the education philanthropy space during this time? 

• Learn about higher education, COVID-19 and where philanthropy can play a key role. 

As schools scramble to keep students learning during the coronavirus pandemic, some education-focused philanthropies are redirecting their work to help — though most of their initial efforts remain relatively small.

Many grantmakers say they are offering new flexibility to their grantees, allowing them to redirect money to where it’s needed. Some have created new emergency funds, or issued grants to help get laptops or cash into families’ hands. Meanwhile, school districts have sought private donations to address urgent needs, like students’ lack of internet access at home, as they transition to remote instruction.

Here’s how four of the largest education foundations and grantmakers are responding:

  1. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation says its “commitment to and overall objective of our education strategies are not changing.” But it is prioritizing supporting teaching by expanding “access to interactive, student-facing digital content and high-quality print materials” and “supporting data collection efforts to understand the impact of COVID-19 on educators and families.”
  2. The City Fund, which is funded primarily by John Arnold and Reed Hastings, said it has committed new $100,000 grants to in its 14 active cities, and also allowed those organizations to repurpose $100,000 of existing grants to respond to the coronavirus.
  3. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has awarded over $1.6 million to education groups, including money to those aiming to expand broadband access in the San Francisco Bay Area, to disseminate resources to parents, and to provide guidance to school districts moving instruction online.
  4. The Walton Family Foundation did not offer details. But along with the Kauffman Foundation, it has contributed to a $2 million education relief fund in Kansas City designed to support teachers, families, and schools with costs and challenges associated with COVID-19.

Read the full article about education philanthropy by Matt Barnum at Chalkbeat.