As we move into 2024, I am excited by the opportunities in store and the potential for philanthropy to support education in this transformative moment. The Philanthropic Collaborative for Education relaunched this past fall (formerly the National Public Education Support Fund) with a refreshed identity that clarifies our purpose: to focus on the collective power of philanthropy and its partners to support and improve education, especially our public education institutions. 

Education in 2024 will be saturated with opportunities, challenges, and political fodder. We know this upcoming year will mark the 70th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision, the unanimous Supreme Court decision that overturned the “separate but equal” policy in America’s public schools. We also know that artificial intelligence is set to influence our systems of education, from birth through college and career. Moreover, higher education will continue to have its return on investment critically examined; public education will continue to be under attack and used as a political tool; and there will continue to be a need to build a case for more affordable and high-quality early childhood opportunities. 

Consequently, with a system undergoing fundamental shifts and moving out of a global pandemic into a more diverse, equitable, and just future, philanthropy needs to exercise its convening power for a better path forward. Supporting under-resourced communities and public institutions, strengthening the connection between a healthy democracy and civic engagement, and amplifying the voices of more collaborative leaders for the future must be of priority. The time is right now for coming together and creating the future we want to see for today’s learners!

To help us get there The Collaborative has a powerhouse board of directors, visionaries, and leaders in education and philanthropy, with two new members joining to help us deepen our impact. We are thrilled to welcome LaVerne Srinivasan, Vice President of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s National Program and Program Director for Education, and  Sophie Fanelli, President of the Stuart Foundation. Both LaVerne and Sophie bring a depth of knowledge and understanding of what works and what is needed when it comes to the role of philanthropy in catalyzing change and responding to communities in supporting more equitable and just policies and systems that create opportunities for all learners to develop and prosper. 

What’s ahead for The Collaborative in 2024? Our networks, the Education Funders Strategy Group, Grantmakers for Thriving Youth, Data Funders Collaborative, and the Global Science of Learning Network are continuing to explore ways to be more impactful and collaborative, through pooled fund efforts, increased network capacity, and opportunities for enhanced learning, we will continue to build the infrastructure needed support and amplify the work and successes of our networks. 

In 2024 The Collaborative will continue as a trusted and committed resource to its networks and philanthropy writ large. We will work on improving the relationship between philanthropy and government, through hosting US Department of Education policy briefings, creating opportunities to bring together partners on issues related to education, and providing a platform for the meaningful exchange of ideas and resources. 

In addition, The Philanthropic Collaborative is continuing to live out its vision of unity and equity through what we are now calling, The Path Forward. This is a path that will focus on relationship-building and promoting equity across education sectors. We will be amplifying factors and levers that play a critical role in achieving a shared and desired future for a more diverse, inclusive, and democratic society, including: 

  • The impact of a teacher workforce that is better prepared for a more diverse student population.
  • The role HBCUs have played and continue to play in preparing their graduates to meet the educational needs of a more culturally and linguistically diverse student population. 
  • The importance of public education and the need and opportunity to reimagine our public education system through creating a more unified, inclusive, and shared vision for public education. 

Over the next year, we will be partnering with the US Department of Education, Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity, the Carnegie Foundation, and Education First around two initiatives focusing on Public Education and Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Stay tuned for more on this exciting work ahead. 

We are grateful to be in collaboration with so many of you on this critical journey in supporting the future of our learners.