In an earlier post, I looked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation education spending from 2008-2010. This post will focus exclusively on the foundation’s education work in Washington state from 2008-2010. I’m using the data from B&MGF Spending, 2008-2010.xlsx.
Below is an overview of the grants from the foundation for the years 2008-2010. The first table shows the number of grants for each category. The second table shows spending for each category1.
A few observations:
- There is zero charter school spending because WA doesn’t allow charter schools; that may change.
- About a third of all grants fall into the Other category. More about that below.
- About a third of all grants fall into the Early Learning category.
Here is a sample of Other grants for the years 2008-2010:
- $22,816 in 2008 to the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle to support an after-school education program.
- $40,000 in 2008 to the Vietnamese Friendship Association of Seattle to support low-income immigrant Vietnamese students and parents in order to improve academic performance.
- $150,000 in 2008 to Youth Care to support educational and workforce programs for homeless and other at-risk youth.
- $47,400 in 2009 to the College Success Foundation to support academic mentors for foster children.
- $490,000 in 2009 to Neighborhood House to support a school-centered program aimed at providing social services to children with behavioral challenges.
- $172,000 in 2009 to the Technology Access Foundation to support a writing, math and technology program for children.
- $100,000 in 2009 to Evergreen State College to support academic success for tribal members.
- $140,000 in 2010 to the Children and Youth Justice Center to support truancy prevention programs.
- $150,000 in 2010 to Renton Area Youth Family Service to support youth in Renton who are at high risk of dropping out.
- $150,000 in 2010 to Team Read to support struggling elementary school readers, bringing them up to grade level in reading.
The Other category contains a good number of grants that would probably be considered wrap-around services. The foundation doesn’t give out a lot of those type of grants in other places.
The heavy emphasis on early learning in Washington state is remarkably different than the foundation’s strategy as a whole. Early Learning accounts for approximately half of all non-private school spending by the foundation in Washington, yet only 3-5% of spending by the foundation as a whole is dedicated to early learning – and most of that 3-5% is in Washington! Only 16 of the 83 early learning grants made by the foundation between 2008 and 2010 went to organizations outside of Washington.
The fact that the foundation is headquartered in the state likely explains at least some of the difference in grantmaking. Maybe the foundation saw a significant need and opportunity to improve early learning. Funding the smaller, local organizations is probably a result of the foundation feeling compelled to help out local nonprofits and organizations, and/or a familiarity with local issues that need to be addressed. Whatever the reasons, the foundation disperses funds very differently in Washington state.
- Note that the totals in table 1 do not equal the sum of grants listed because some grants fall into multiple categories. In the second table, I weighted the funding for grants that fall into multiple categories. For instance, an early learning advocacy grant of $100k would show up as a $50k grant in early learning and $50k in advocacy. I also included the Total w/o Private Schools because a single grant of $30 million in 2008 to the Lakeside School accounts for almost half of all spending from the year. ↩