The latest from the Schott Foundation and our allies.
Like us, you are likely asking how you can most effectively support life-saving work in our nation’s most vulnerable communities — if so, please read on. Organizations and communities supported by the Schott Foundation come from generations of people grounded in community, organized and resilient in the face of structural violence and institutionalized racism. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the inequities and challenges they must confront now are even greater. We must stand in solidarity to sustain and strengthen this vital network of advocates and the families and students whom they support, to both survive in the months ahead and sow the seeds of a better world in the future.
The dedicated educators in St. Paul, MN who went on strike Tuesday know full well that it takes wraparound supports for the city’s neediest children to have a fair and substantive opportunity to learn. They’ve gone on strike after ten months of failed contract negotiations because their students are suffering—and their #1 demand is more mental health supports. We see their fierce determination as an act of love.
Remarks by Jitu Brown were one of the highlights of the recent Public Education Forum 2020, which featured the top Democratic presidential candidates in this year’s race. Brown, National Director of the Journey for Justice Alliance (J4J), delivered a poignant message about the state of public education, and the continued threat of public school privatization. He underlined the fact that the United States has failed to commit to fulfilling its constitutional obligation to all students by fully funding schools, especially the schools that educate students of color and low income students.
We’re excited to announce the publication of a new book by Schott Board Chair Jackie Jenkins-Scott, The 7 Secrets of Responsive Leadership. Schott has benefited tremendously from Jackie’s strategic savvy, insights, and dynamic leadership. This book will be an asset for other organizations and leaders. 
Changing policies to achieve greater equity for children of color takes time, months, even years of dynamic mobilizing and building collaboration among parents, students, community members and educators. That’s why Schott builds and sustains long-term partnerships—they’re in it for the long haul and so are we. Grassroots organizing by our grantees and allies was the key to some key policy wins in 2019, all of which provide momentum for the important work ahead.
January 21, 2020 is the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's fourth annual National Day of Racial Healing – rooted in experiences for truth telling and trust building that lead to racial healing for a more just and equitable future.
While the popular media narrative today — and at the time — posed the problem of segregation and racial inequality in the 1960s as a largely Southern problem, northern cities like Chicago, New York, and Boston were among the worst offenders. For the civil rights movement in Chicago, public schools were front and center. The school board, under Superintendent Benjamin Willis, took the occasion of a massive increase of Black families moving to Chicago to further segregate Chicago’s public education system.
The heightened urgency to protect our democracy from outside interference in the 2020 election is getting a lot of media and political attention these days, but there’s a far more urgent need that is vital for philanthropy to foster and finance: ensuring that our democracy evolves toward greater justice. We must not confuse democracy with creating equity or with creating a more just American society. It takes more than elections to make a sound democracy. We have lived in a democracy for more than 200 years, but never has our democracy been equitable or just for all people.
First conceptualized by the 92nd Street Y and implemented as a day of global charity in 2012, #GivingTuesday has continued its rise in popularity, carving a place alongside Black Friday and Cyber Monday as notable days of the holiday season. And its premise and intent are noble: take a moment during the whirlwind of holiday spending and direct some of those funds toward social causes, not just shopping. The statistics sound equally impressive, with reporting more than $400 million raised by the holiday in 2018 alone, and a total of $1 billion over the movement’s lifespan.  Is there a problem with this? Not exactly. But let’s take a minute to consider where our donation dollars are going. Several years ago, the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that out of the 1.5 million charitable organizations in the United States the top 400 charities — 0.027% — received more than a quarter of all donations. Gifts of all sizes, from small individual contributions to large corporate donations, tend to gravitate toward a relative few organizations at the top.
Yesterday the landmark Student Opportunity Act was signed into law in Massachusetts, guaranteeing an additional $1.5 billion in funding for k-12 public schools across the Commonwealth:  Four years after a state commission determined the existing foundation budget formula underestimates the cost of education by $1 billion annually and more than a year after a previous bill to correct inequalities collapsed, the focus now shifts to implementing the funding law and holding districts accountable for improvement plans. The new money is intended to reduce disparities between districts across the state and to put communities with larger cost drivers — special education, employee health care, and high numbers of low-income students and English language learners — on a more even footing with their peers.