I recently had the pleasure of speaking at the 2018 Grantmakers for Education Conference in San Diego, California along with TPI’s Managing Partner, Leslie Pine. The theme of this year’s annual gathering was “The Equity Journey: Investing in the Whole Learner.”

Our goal was to provide a snapshot of how TPI works with funders and donors to take a big idea like supporting “Student Voice” and think through their primary goals and intended impact, and how to achieve these.

In reflecting on what our speakers shared during the session as well as what I heard throughout the conference, I noticed several themes about best practices in the work of supporting young people. Some of these are relevant in every area of philanthropy, and I think they are worth sharing.

  • Supporting Life-long Learning for Youth. For many young people, the secret sauce in transformative educational experiences is the presence of a caring adult to serve as a listening ear, teacher, and mentor.
  • Prioritizing Participation and Collaboration. For funders, there is an opportunity to not only back the creative, supportive work of these organizations but also to learn about the field overall from these on-the-ground experts. Nonprofit organizations are banks of knowledge and expertise in their field, and conversations between funders and organizations can enable funders to learn from their work and greatly strengthen the impact of giving as well as the grantee/donor partnership overall.
  • Remembering the Value of Storytelling. As the students in particular spoke, I saw attendees physically leaning in to catch every word. Their experiences provide the clearest picture of the impact of the programs they’ve been a part of, and thus the impact of grants made by funders.

Read the full article about impact philanthropy in education by Robin Baird at The Philanthropic Initiative.