Home' Teacher : May 2011 Contents LEADERSHIP 59
We also need to understand the impact of
philanthropy. According to Rosalyn Black,
in her 2009 Boardroom to Classroom: the
role of the corporate and philanthropic sec-
tors in school education, a general lack of
evaluative literature about the impact of
philanthropic grant making is an issue for
There are also questions around what
happens once schools have secured grants.
How can schools plan, implement, moni-
tor, improve and maintain effective pro-
grams? Catherine Brow n notes in her book
on not-for-profit organisations, Great
Foundations, that funding for even the
most effective projects may eventually dry
up. She writes that, 'While there is a voice
beginning to emerge amongst philanthro -
pists internationally supporting longer-term
philanthropic grants, the fact is that many
Australian trusts and foundations will not
fund a project for more than about three
years (if that).'
Similarly, Black's research has found that
'while corporate and philanthropic involve-
ment in government schools can spearhead
innovation, sustainability of school educa-
tion initiatives funded by foundations or
seeded by companies remains an issue.'
What expectations do philanthropics
have of grant seekers and are these being
met? How do these expectations align with
the values and priorities of schools?
In her address at the LLEAP launch,
Janet Hirst highlighted concerns as to
whether funds are being used strategi-
'When supporting education programs,
the Governors of The Ian Potter Foundation
have often questioned, and rightly so,
whether the programs we are being asked
to support are actually meeting a need for
the schools,' she explained.
'We should be concerned as a community
and as funders if schools are simply (and
quite understandably) attempting to access
whatever funding is available in order to
bring investment into their communities --
especially if those commu nities are disad-
'There is a power dynamic that we in
philanthropy do not often speak about,
but that as funders we should be aware of.
Philanthropy works at its best when it seeks
out and provides support to those who are
best placed to innovate within their com-
munities. Philanthropy is less effective as
a vehicle for change when it is attempting
to set the agenda. The relationship between
philanthropy and education is often com-
plex,' she said.
Making informed decisions
Ultimately, what schools, systems and phil-
anthropic organisations need is good data to
make informed decisions about the impact
of philanthropy in education. They need
assistance to create networks in a systematic
way, so that like-minded schools and organ-
isations can connect and collaborate. The
Tender Bridge service is working towards
They also need to know what projects
have succeeded in the past, and why and
how. LLEAP is working to towards improv-
ing our understanding in this area.
If we believe that filling a knowledge
gap about the impact of philanthropy in
education is important -- and the long
history of philanthropy in education and
the significant dollars it provides suggests
that it is -- then we need to grab with both
hands this project and shake it for all it's
The LLEAP project will provide us
with reliable, independent, national data,
which in turn will enable us to collectively
improve the quality of grant seeking and
grant making in Australia; identify better
ways of connecting and collaborating to
maximise positive outcomes for students;
and understand what the impact of philan-
thropy in a 'great' educational project looks
like in practice.
On the road to filling this knowledge gap,
the project in its benchmark year will seek
to answer such questions as:
How many schools are accessing philan-
thropic grants, either directly or in part-
nership with other organisations?
What projects are schools seeking phil-
anthropic grants for? Who do these pro -
jects aim to benefit?
Is this similar or different to what those
in the philanthropic sector state are their
areas of focus?
What helps and hinders those in educa-
tion and philanthropy to maximise the
impact of a grant?
These are fundamental questions to be
answered collectively. This is because at the
end of the day, there is a need to provide a
space for great educational projects to be
examined, not just great grant writers to be
Schools and philanthropic organisations
are invited to express their inte rest in the
project by contacting the LLEAP team via
em ail to tende email@example.com. au
Dr Michelle Anderson is a Se nior
Research Fellow in the Policy Analysis
and Program Evaluation area at ACER.
Black, R. (2008). Classroom coalition:
philanthropy and school educ ation .
Australian Philanthropy, 70, 3-4.
Black, R. (2009). Boardroom to
Classroom: The role of the corporate
and philanthropic sectors in school
education. Melbourne: Department
of Educ ation and Early Childhood
Brown , C.J. (2010). Great Foundations:
A 360 º guide to building effective and
resilient not-for-profit organisations.
Melbourne: ACER Press.
Philanthropy Australia (2010). Member
Sur vey 2010 Report. Available at www.
Philanthropy_ Australia_ Member_
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