Charters and Catholic Schools: A Look At the Carson Trust's Education Philanthropy

The Carson Family Charitable Trust is the charitable vehicle of businessman Russell Carson, his wife Judy, and their kids. The trust has been around since 1990 and has interests in higher education, health, arts and culture, and more. Some of the largest grant dollars, however, have gone to education reform, particularly in New York City. Before Carson went on to Dartmouth, he attended public school in Toledo, Ohio. On the value of charters, Carson has been pretty clear and quite a number of charter schools and school advocacy outfits have also been supported.

Unfortunately, the Carson Family Charitable Trust doesn't have much of a web presence, or a clear way for grantseekers to get in touch with the Carsons. Here's a few must knows:

1. The Carsons Have Focused on New York City Charters

Nearly $1 million went to KIPP NYC Public Charter Schools in 2013. KIPP NYC is a network of eleven free, open-enrollment, public charter schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem, and Washington Heights. Recent support has also gone to Friends of Brooklyn Charter School ($250,000 in 2013), and Success Charters Network in New York. Recent money has also gone to Achievement First, a network of public charter schools in New York and other northeast states, Uncommon Schools, and to the Match School Foundation. Match describes itself as a "a free, high-performing charter public school in Boston.

2. The Trust Also Has An Interest in Teachers

Carson has supported outfits such as Teach for America, the National Foundation for Teaching, and Teaching Matters. The trust has also been supportive of the Relay Graduate School of Education.

3. Carson Has Been Supportive of Catholic Schools

In 1997, Carson cofounded the Endowment for Inner-City Education, now known as Partnership for Inner-City Education, a school management organization for a network of Catholic elementary schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. As of a few years ago, the Carsons had provided more than "$40 million in funding to scholarship programs, capital repair efforts, and programmatic support to 105 inner-city Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York."


It's also worth noting that the Carsons have also supported arts education efforts. Judy Carson is a founder of “Learning to Look,” a program that teaches art appreciation to inner-city children of the Archdiocese of New York. Sums have also gone to STEM outfits such as Math for America and to East Harlem Tutorial Program (EHTP), which is building a STEM and robotics lab.

Related: Meet the Philanthropists Funding East Harlem’s $30 Million Education Center

Again, as stated, the Carson Family Charitable Trust isn't particularly accessible to grantseekers. Cecily Carson, the Carsons' daughter, serves as president of the trust, and has a linkedin profile.

Related: The Carson Family Charitable Trust: Grants for Charter Schools