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Philanthropy in Education Is Changing

Is there a better way to use private money?

edCircuit Breakdown

Private giving to educational institutions is on the rise. One annual survey reports that giving to higher education rose by 6% last year, an increase that was pushed by a surge in alumni giving back to their colleges and universities. Fundraising for higher education institutions far outpaced fundraising by nonprofits in general, which saw a more modest increase of 1.4% across the board.

Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a new partnership with the Malala Fund in an effort to align his company with their desire to increase global education opportunities for all children. This partnership will help over 100,000 girls in India and Latin America receive access to secondary education. The fund was founded by  Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai, an activist for equal rights.

Bill and Melinda have recognized that their strategy of creating equity through education reform in the U.S. is missing the results they were hoping to achieve. With spending of $450 million, the Gates Foundation is the top funder of school reform in the country.

edCircuit Analysis

magnifying glass and globePhilanthropy in education is alive and well, some would even say thriving, in the United States. Led by people like Tim Cook, Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, and Mark Zuckerberg, billions of dollars are being pumped into education initiatives across the globe.

However, a lot of these grants and donations come with strings attached, and some critics say that the individuals with that kind of wealth are imposing their views, attitudes, and values on other cultures by controlling the uses of the money they give. Often, money isn’t given until studies are done to be sure that the programs are going to be effective.

Noted philanthropist Dr. Gisèle Huff would like to see less in the way of meticulous, time-consuming studies and more in the way of metaphorically throwing spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks.

“The problem is that people fall in love with their investments and foundations,” she says. They think they know how to do things. But they’re not practitioners. They may hire practitioners, but they put them into a bureaucratic environment where they’re not allowed to do what they were hired to do. So, then, what have you accomplished?”

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