This is The Walton Family's Ed Expert: Carrie Walton Penner

The Walton Family Foundation is one of the largest backers of school choice in the U.S., spending over $1 billion in the area so far. And that may just be a start, given a combined Walton family fortune of nearly $100 billion. Rob Walton's daughter Carrie has focused her career on education policy and is the family member most immersed in its giving to K-12 education — so what do we know about her?

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Inside the Samuel S. Fels Fund's Education Funding Strategy

Renaissance charters are more costly than traditional charters for cash-strapped school districts, however, the Samuel S. Fels Fund believes they're more effective. Although the foundation has faith in Renaissance schools, it doesn't give money directly to them. Here's a look inside the Fund's education giving strategy.
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Inside the Boston Foundation's New $80,000 Charter School Prize

As with much of the country, charter schools are a big deal in Boston. Clearly, the Boston Foundation buys into the charter school hope hype because it's finding new and innovative ways to pay into the system. The foundation recently announced a partnership with individual philanthropist Robert Pozen, which will provide an $80,000 annual award to Boston's best charter school.
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Meet San Fran's Boldest New Education Funder

Technology in Silicon Valley is ubiquitous. But there’s one place that’s struggled to keep up — the nation’s schools. Last October, the Silicon Schools Fund launched a $25 million fund designed to create new blended-learning schools in the Bay Area and solve that problem. Now it appears SSF is ready to make that happen.

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Why is Teach for America a Major Fisher Fund Grantee?

As an education reform funder, The Doris and Donald Fisher Fund has always held a tight leash on their investments. A San Francisco Chronicle report described the Fishers as "philanthropists who give generously, selectively and privately — and expect results." That’s the way the Fishers wanted it, and it’s a legacy that continues to this day.

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It's Pretty Tough to Ignore Calder Foundation Focus on Charters

As far as charter funders go, The Louis Calder Foundation has remained mostly under the radar. But that doesn’t mean the Connecticut-based foundation isn’t giving to charter and parochial schools in a major way. In the last year, Calder’s grants have consistently ranked in the top in terms of size.

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Look in the Mirror, Charter School Growth Fund: You're Bradley's Highest-Funded Grantee

Over the course of nearly a decade, the Milwaukee-based Bradley Foundation awarded a little more than $16.5 million to the Charter School Growth Fund, according to a 2011 analysis by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. And it doesn’t look like Bradley is letting up the flow of capital anytime soon.

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What Khakis and Education Reform Have in Common: Scalability

Scalability. When the late Donald Fisher focused on education philanthropy, that was his goal. To help expand a small network of high-performing schools into a nationwide brand. It makes sense too; Fisher started The Gap from a single store in 1969 and grew it into a global retail empire.

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Here's What's Behind Oakland's NewSchools Surge in Funding

Oakland-based NewSchools Venture Fund, a major funder of charter management organizations and education entrepreneurs, recently entered into a partnership that will likely accelerate their charter giving in a big way. Education technology investor Rethink Education will share a portion of its profits with NewSchools.  

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Bored? Have You Considered Founding a Hebrew Language Charter School?

Harlem Hebrew Language Academy Charter plans to open its doors this fall on money from The Hebrew Charter School Center (HCSC). HCSC offers grants of up to $250,000 to found and maintain charter schools. It may sound odd at first that a Hebrew language school is opening in this area of the city, but similar HCSC-related projects have proved successful in the past.

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Who's the Biggest New Ally of Minority Charter School Advocates?

The best case for charter schools is often made by parents of color who badly want better education options for their kids. The Walton Family Foundation clearly gets the power of minority voices speaking up for charter schools and is using its deep pockets to bankroll these voices and help them get better organized.

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One Big Bankroller of the Charter School Lobby: The Walton Family Foundation

Funders who believe in charter schools have pursued two core strategies in recent years: direct support, and legislative action. The Walton Family Foundation has pursued both strategies, but their direct support of charter schools has gotten the most attention.

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Which Wealthy, Pro-Charter Donors are Funding L.A. School Board Candidates?

When I read it, I had to stop and ask myself, "Wait, what?" Earlier this year, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg made a huge donation — $1 million — for the L.A. School Board elections, funneling the donation through the political action committee Coalition for School Reform. It seemed a little out of place.

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