Invest for Impact

Going beyond grantmaking to support grantee and field success

Education First helps funders develop more equitable and effective investment strategies that are anchored in our deep understanding of public education’s assets and needs. We offer funder research, strategy, facilitation and implementation support that center the strengths and desires of the communities your organization seeks to serve. We can help you envision a better future for public education, understand trends and gaps in the sector, identify strategic grantmaking opportunities and portfolios, convene your grantees for networking and learning; and connect with other funders to learn, align or pool your grantmaking. We have particular expertise supporting collaborations among foundations. Having advised and helped manage dozens of funder collaborations over nearly 15 years, we understand what causes some to flourish and others to flounder. We can help your funder collaboration to achieve lasting impact in the field. Education First:

  • Assesses grantmaking portfolios, updates strategy and conducts due diligence
  • Facilitates pooled funds, funder collaboratives and sub-granting
  • Leads grantee learning networks and communities of practice
  • Incubates new nonprofit organizations and networks
  • Engages grantees and program staff to monitor and learn from investments

Invest for Impact Experts

Education First is a seasoned team of trusted advisors to the leaders responsible for delivering what many Americans want most: public education that effectively prepares all students for success in college, careers and a world of constant change.

professional headshot for Kelly James
Kelly James
John Luczak
John Luczak
Bill Porter
Bill Porter
Ann Duffy
Ann Duffy
Principal Consultant
Learn about our people

Recent clients

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI)

Education First helped CZI develop a multi-year investment strategy for research and programmatic investments in non-summative assessment and measurement. We also developed a community of practice to explore new approaches to non-summative assessment rooted in the power of local communities.

Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies

Education First supported the education team and donor to refresh the foundation’s professional learning strategy, setting updated goals and adding new investments areas such as district communities of practice.

William + Flora Hewlett Foundation

The education strategy of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation aims to empower and equip every student for a lifetime of learning. Now five years into the effort, the foundation team is seeking to assess progress so far, identify course corrections and redirect its specific grantmaking activities moving forward to better this goal. To help, the foundation has tapped Education First. The scope of work includes elevating lessons from grantee reports and foundation-commissioned research, interviewing grantees and field leaders, and engaging a “kitchen cabinet” of advisors to identify future learning opportunities and future grantmaking priorities.

Emerging Bilingual Collaborative

With five California-based foundations, we co-designed and continue to advise the Emerging Bilingual Collaborative, which helps educators deliver high-quality instructional practices to multilingual learners in grades PreK-3. The Collaborative funded 11 districts and county offices to help systems use the Multilingual Learning Toolkit, a website with resources for teachers and administrators who support multilingual learners. We also facilitate a community of practice for the grantees to support them through peer learning and interest group meetings.

Learn about our clients

What’s next? Action steps to help you benefit from our expertise:

Work with us Gain insights Learn about our expertise