Strengthening Philanthropy in Education - Report
Tuesday, 11th March 2014 at 9:48 am
A new report on philanthropy in education calls for improved two-way learning between philanthropic foundations and schools.
According to Dr Michelle Anderson, co-author of the Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) report from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the LLEAP findings help map a course for improving the two-way learning between schools and philanthropy in education.
“This is an essential ingredient for strengthening the capacity of philanthropy and schools, as well as the Not for Profit organisations that often mediate between them. It can also help them respond to the existing and emerging needs of students,” Dr Anderson said.
LLEAP is said to be the first study of its kind in Australia specifically designed to help philanthropy and education develop a better understanding of each other.
“Over the past few years, a total of 1,416 responses to the LLEAP surveys have been received from schools across all sectors and states and territories, as well as from Not for Profits with programs or services that intersect with schools and philanthropic foundations involved in structured forms of giving in education,” Dr Anderson said.
“The report indicates that two-way learning doesn’t happen by osmosis, but requires strategic support.”
The report reveals, for example, that 90 per cent of school leaders are new or inexperienced when it comes to seeking philanthropic grants, and that few schools have a culture for seeking this kind of support or know how to collaborate with those that do, but want to learn more.
As one philanthropic respondent said: “There is a need to break down barriers of grant seeking and grant making – they are very different worlds…that don’t collide naturally.”
“Two-way learning can improve when the needs and types of support are identified,” Dr Anderson said.
“The LLEAP report investigates what schools are trying to change or strengthen to improve student educational outcomes.”
The report reveals that there is a degree of disconnect between the assistance that is sought by schools and could be given by philanthropics. The most frequently identified priority for schools is support for professional learning to build individual or organisational capacity.
“This is the sixth most frequent priority for philanthropics,” Dr Anderson said.
The report also reveals an area of greatest synergy across schools, Not for Profits and philanthropics is around the need for expertise as a type of support to improve student educational outcomes, particularly through mentoring or coaching.
“The better schools and philanthropics understand one another through the kind of two-way learning that LLEAP enables, the better placed they and the Not for Profits they may work with can be to direct resources where they are needed most,” Dr Anderson said.
“Considering that a consistent finding of LLEAP has been that those schools that are least equipped are the most in need, such two-way learning is vital.”
LLEAP is supported by The Ian Potter Foundation, Origin Foundation, Scanlon Foundation and the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.
The LLEAP 2013 Survey Report is available here.