The Schott Foundation Receives 2007 Critical Impact Award from Council on Foundations

For Immediate Release

The Schott Foundation Was Awarded the Council on Foundations Critical Impact Award on April 29, 2007 at the Council on Foundation’s Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington

Cambridge, MA - April 29, 2007 - The Schott Foundation for Public Education received a Critical Impact Award for its efforts to reform New York City’s school finance system to guarantee the opportunity for a sound basic education for all of the city’s students. Given annually by the Council on Foundations (COF), The Critical Impact Award recognizes those who truly make a difference in their grantmaking while sharing with the public examples of how philanthropy seeks to enhance the common good.

The Schott Foundation received this award because of the early and long-term focus and over $2 million in grants it provided to The Campaign for Fiscal Equity (CFE), which began as a coalition of fourteen parent/advocacy groups and twelve of New York City’s community school boards. At that time in 1995, CFE set out to reform New York State’s school finance system in an effort to ensure adequate resources and the opportunity for a sound basic education for all students in New York City, 86 percent of whom are African Americans, Latinos and other children of color.

What began as a small grass roots effort in 1995, turned into a protracted legal battle and public education movement which, in 2006, resulted in an $11 billion settlement for school construction. In 2007, the state legislature voted to enact an unprecedented increase of $1.76 billion in aid for FY2007-08. Other New York education public policy gains in 2007 call for smaller class sizes, full day pre-kindergarten, teacher quality initiatives and other reforms.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious national award and want to thank the Council on Foundations as well as other funders, activists and collaborators who worked with us on behalf of all New York public school children. Schott has a simple vision -- deeply rooted in the American values of opportunity and fairness: that all parents should be able to send their children to well-resourced and academically excellent preschools and public schools, which prepare their children to be successful in college, in life and to become responsible adults. This award affirms the success of a broad based movement sustained by a core vision that all students, regardless of the neighborhood where they live, the color of their skin or the size of their parents’ bank accounts deserve excellent public education," said Schott chairman, Greg Jobin-Leeds.

"I will always be grateful to the Schott Foundation for its unwavering support of CFE’s lengthy litigation. The fact is that support extended well beyond the financial and was our North Star when we were navigating uncharted waters. It gives me great joy to learn that the Schott Foundation has been designated to receive a Critical Impact Award. It is validation of the leadership and vision and good work that the people of Schott have consistently demonstrated. Congratulations!" said New York City Councilman Robert Jackson, who was the lead plaintiff in the landmark NY court case that led to needy school systems receiving much needed additional funding.

"The battle to win the CFE litigation and enact legislation has been a 14 year effort organizing in the halls of power and in schools and communities, and our work to implement and hold our school system to account is just beginning. The Schott Foundation has been there every step of the way supporting a multi-faceted campaign, and we know they will continue to be at our side as we move forward. The Schott Foundation has helped forge alliances among organizations, and has led the funding community in contributing to the movement. Special congratulations and thanks go to the Leeds family and the leadership of the organization, Rosa Smith and Cassie Schwerner, for their invaluable inspiration and practical advice in reaching this milestone and getting the job done," said Geri D. Palast, Executive Director of Campaign For Fiscal Equity in New York. (www.cfequity.org)

"The Alliance for Quality Education is thrilled that The Schott Foundation is getting the recognition it deserves with the Critical Impact Award from the Council on Foundations. The Schott Foundation has been with the struggle for education justice in New York from day one and has stuck with it for fourteen years. Schott’s staying power demonstrates an understanding that significant social change is an ongoing process that requires a willingness to stick it out. As a coalition of parents, teachers and local community organizations we are proud to count The Schott Foundation as a funder who understands the meaning and importance of grass roots organizing and leadership in delivering enduring change," said Billy Easton, Executive Director of the Alliance for Quality Education in New York. (www.allianceforqualityeducation.org)

Background on Critical Impact Awards
COF believes that extraordinary efforts deserve widespread recognition. This Critical Impact Awards program celebrates grantmaking at its finest: grantmaking that has changed lives and communities - perhaps even nations - for the better.

COF sought nominations for grant-funded projects that have had a demonstrated impact on the common good - locally, nationally and/or globally - and that can serve as models for others in philanthropy.

Eligible programs need to:
- Be funded by family, independent, operating, public or community foundations, or by international or corporate grantmakers (either individually or in collaboration with others).
- Have documented evidence of enduring positive impact on people, institutions or communities.
- Have established philanthropy as the innovators or architects of social change, providing real philanthropic leadership.

To ensure fairness, nominations were grouped into one of five funding-level categories:
Under $5,000
$5,000- $10,000
$10,000-$50,000
$50,000-$100,000
Over $100,000

For more information on the award and criteria for being selected to receive it, contact Jeff Martin, Director, Media Relations, Council on Foundations 202/467-0265,  jeff.martin@cof.org.

About The Schott Foundation for Public Education
Founded in 1991, The Schott Foundation for Public Education has recruited, developed and supported extraordinary leaders who have mobilized the public to achieve positive outcomes in public education policy. The Foundation’s work has had significant impact in equalizing school financing, expanding access to pre-Kindergarten, and raising awareness of the root causes of educational disparities in Massachusetts and New York.

Vision Statement:
The Schott Foundation for Public Education’s vision is that all children -- especially children that school systems have historically failed, such as poor children and children of color --- graduate from excellent and well-resourced public schools capable of college success and full participation in a democratic society.

Mission statement:
The Schott Foundation’s mission is to develop and strengthen a broad-based and representative movement to achieve fully funded quality preK-12 public education. Specifically, The Schott Foundation seeks:

- Fully funded quality public schools for all children regardless of their residence
- Universal and accessible, high quality and culturally appropriate early care and education
- Representative public policy leadership, with a focus on cultivating more women and people of color to become decision-makers
- Black boys as the litmus test for schools educating all children well

Examples of publications by the The Schott Foundation include:

Public Education and Black Male Students: The 2006 State Report Card June 2006  by Michael Holzman, PhD.

Making It Work for Early Education and Out of School Time Professionals; January 2006. The Schott Foundation For Public Education and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay .

Ensuring High Quality Early Education for all Children in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. June 2005. A report of the 2005 Schott Fellows in Early Care and Education.

Black Boys: The Litmus Test for Public School Education The Schott Foundation for Public Education 2004.