Capacity Building, Systems-Level

Change and Collaboration

This third grantmaking initiative works to connect individuals and organizations to share ideas and pursue joint action, for example, through convening groups and collaborations to craft joint strategies. The Foundation will continue to make grants to collaborations of nonprofits, schools and districts that use a collective impact approach to make meaningful improvements to education in our region. The KDK-Harman Foundation also seeks to influence education policy (government and policymakers), for example, through advocacy or public will building, through its grantmaking.

Beyond direct financial investment, the Foundation reaffirms its commitment to support our investments in the areas of capacity building of our grantee portfolio, including board development, leadership and talent development, evaluation assistance, communications/marketing, and fundraising. This underscores our belief to help our grantee partners sustain their operations over the long term and become enduring “institutions of change”. We continue to look for new and successful ways to provide such support and though it is highly individualized and determined by grantee needs, we look forward to prioritizing the following two areas of capacity building in 2011:

  • Collaborative Learning Experiences: Building upon the Foundation’s strength as a convener and facilitator, KDK-Harman will continue its efforts to support peer learning activities. Based on requests from our grantee partners, plans are underway in 2011 to address effective strategies for communications and media relations and active engagement in public policy.

  • Evaluation Support: Given the importance KDK-Harman Foundation places on evaluation of its grantee partners and itself, we are working with area universities to compile a list of expert external evaluators to help strengthen and improve the effectiveness of education-focused organizations and delivery of their programs. We are also keenly interested in supporting the evaluation capacity of OST programs in order to ensure these OST programs can deliver the highest quality services possible.

Underlying all of these areas of interest are the following overarching beliefs/principles that inform and drive our grantmaking:

  • Programs must include student-centric learning that keeps students interested and is relevant to their lives.

  • Programs should integrate 21st century technology into the classroom and after school learning.

  • Academic interventions should include “the three R’s”: Rigor, Relevance, Relationships. High achieving schools teach all students a rigorous academic core (rigor), show students the relationship between school studies and future life success (relevance), and provide students with personal support and guidance for successful learning (relationships).

  • Programs must be able to track, measure, and demonstrate strong student academic outcomes, as evidenced by a common set of indicators (standardized tests, course completion, grade point averages, graduation rates, etc.)

  • Programs should demonstrate the ability to be replicated and brought to scale in order to reach large numbers of students.

  • Programs should be culturally appropriate in that their program planning reflects the diverse cultures, languages, and underlying belief systems of students and their families in order to have maximum effectiveness in meeting students where they are.

  • Programs should integrate student voices into program planning in order to provide continuous feedback to program staff about what interventions are effective and how they can be improved.

  • Programs should encourage giving back to the community through community service opportunities and highly qualified volunteers.