Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Florida Education Grantmakers Convene to Explore Philanthropy's Role in Education Innovation & Reform

June 01, 2011
Education grantmakers from across Florida met in Orlando on June 8, 2011 for an FPN convening, coordinated through FPN's Education Funders Affinity Group, to discuss innovations and changes in education programming, funding and advocacy, and to explore possible public-private ventures focused on education reform. Participants included representatives of Florida family foundations, independent foundations, community foundations and corporate grantmakers.
 
Featured speakers at the convening were Gary Chartrand and Don Pemberton. Chartrand is President & CEO of Acosta Sales and Marketing Company, Founder of The Chartrand Foundation, a member of Governor Scott's Education Transition Team and a newly appointed member of the State Board of Education. Pemberton is Director of the Lastinger Center for Learning at the University of Florida and also served on Governor Scott's education transition team. The two education leaders discussed their work on the transition team to prepare a report for Governor Scott on how to improve education in Florida. They also talked about the recommendations in the report that are of particular interest to them: fostering game-changing education innovation in the state.
 
Pemberton and Chartrand offered various ideas on how FPN could work with state government to surface, connect and advance innovative best practices in Florida education. Those ideas included developing innovation expos, showcases or networks; creating a foundation liaison position that would be funded by foundations but located in state government who would be responsible for identifying and brokering strategic partnerships between the state government and Florida's philanthropic sector; and creating public-private venture funds to support innovative education reform efforts across Florida. Modeled on the federal government's Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, Florida’s venture funds could use government funds, leveraged with private contributions, to seek out best practices in the field.
 
The convening also featured a public policy update by Scott Howat, Director, Labor & Legislative Relations, Orange County Public Schools. He gave a post-session wrap-up of how Florida's 2011 legislative session impacted education, provided a rundown of top education policy issues for the state right now, and discussed what's in store for the coming year.
 
FPN will be working with our various community partners to further explore and advance some of the ideas discussed at the June 8 convening, working through our Education Funders Affinity Group. For questions about FPN's Education Funders Affinity Group, please contact David Biemesderfer, FPN's President & CEO, 813-983-7396, or Christopher Johnson, FPN's Director of Programs & Learning, 813-983-7397.
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