The Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive K-12 Schools

Building a Future-Facing Vision, Strategy and System of Support

This project engages grantmakers and their advisers who want to better understand the causes, myriad harms and potential cures for racial and economic segregation in public schools in the United States. Racial and economic segregation stem from racism and are defining features of our American landscape.  Strongly associated with a host of attendant inequalities in wealth, education, health and access to job opportunities, segregation is relevant for grantmakers because it is at the root of so many of the social challenges that progressive grantmakers aspire to eradicate. At a time when commentators describe the United States as “divided,” this project seeks to inform and advance efforts that bring young people from varying racial and ethnic backgrounds together to reduce social and economic inequalities, racial prejudice and bias.

Cover of K-12 Public Schools reportSee our January 2018 report, Diverse, Equitable and Inclusive K-12 Schools: A New Call for Philanthropic Support

We work with funders who are interested in remedying segregation through changes in policy and practice in such sectors as housing, K-12 education and transportation. We also work with funders who are interested in bringing together people from different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds to build relationships and to work together to create fair, welcoming and racially equitable communities, schools and workplaces.

In the current political context, philanthropy’s role in this work is increasingly important. During the Obama administration’s second term, government officials had made significant progress in enacting regulations and advancing programs aimed at reducing segregation in housing and schools. In the early months of the current presidential administration, these hard-won government actions to reduce segregation were defunded or abandoned.

What We Do:

In partnership with the Ford Foundation, we convene practitioners and scholars active in the field of school integration to strategize and plan for maximum impact and to build partnerships with members of the philanthropic community. Our work with the Ford Foundation brings us in close collaboration with a network of leading scholars, policy experts, organizers and practitioners who study the effects of racial segregation, the potential of racial integration and who are creating and nurturing schools and other social institutions and systems designed to bring people together across constructed lines of race and municipal boundaries. We are active and supporting members of the National Coalition on School Diversity.

We offer free presentations for funders, their advisers and others that synthesize research related to segregation and the practice of racial integration in the 21st century and provide information about promising funding opportunities and potential funding strategies in this area.

Our interactive map in progress highlights activity in scholarship, practice and policy advocacy that supports equitable racially integrated schools and communities. The map is designed to help funders identify assets, potential partnerships and gaps related to this work in the communities they serve. Please note that this map is a work in progress. We encourage you to make contributions to it by writing to Susan Eaton

We are also active consultants to and participants in the Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation Enterprise (TRHT) seeded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and supported by dozens of other community-based foundations. This effort engages 14 communities across the United States in processes that build relationships across racial lines with the aspiration to enact policy change and “jettison the belief in a hierarchy of human value, racism.”

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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