Lone Pine Foundation: New York City Grants

OVERVIEW: The Lone Pine Foundation is one of two grantmaking outfits set up by Connecticut billionaire Stephen Mandel. The foundation is very active in the Connecticut and New York City areas, giving to many charter schools, advocacy groups and local Connecticut public schools. It has also given support to K-12 efforts in London and Hong Kong.

IP TAKE: The Lone Pine Foundation’s geographic focus (and the fact that it doesn’t accept unsolicited proposals) are the key limitations for grantseekers. But if your school or organization meets those criteria and can also provide an opportunity to engage Lone Pine Capital employees, you may be able to get your foot in the door here.

PROFILE: The Lone Pine Foundation was founded in 2001 by the highly successful hedge fund manager Stephen Mandel, whose hedge fund also called Lone Pine. The foundation is funded by the employees of Lone Pine Capital, and all full-time employees are equal voting members on its advisory board (we don't see that every day).

The vast majority of the money that goes into the foundation every year comes from Stephen Mandel, who is a passionate supporter of New York and Connecticut charter schools. For example, Mandel sits on the national board of Teach for America and is a former trustee of Phillips Exeter Academy and the Children's School in Stamford, Connecticut.

The Lone Pine Foundation’s stated mission is “to fight poverty through education while developing a spirit of philanthropy among its Advisory Board Members,” with a specific focus on “education and youth development.” Charter schools, networks, and advocacy organizations make up a big part of achieving that mission. 

In the charter school realm, the foundation has given large sums of money in the last few years to quite a number of educational outfits, and you can see the full portfolio of grantees here (though dollar amounts are not listed). Some of the largest recent awards have gone to big-name players like Achievement First, KIPP New York, Reach Prep, Harlem Children's Zone, Teach for America, and Year Up, each of which has received sums in the six and seven figures over over several recent years.

The foundation is also deep into charter school advocacy organizations in Connecticut, and has funded the Connecticut Center for School Change, Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, Connecticut Voices for Children and the Norwalk Education Foundation, among several others. 

Lone Pine also has given to a few choice organizations in London and China. It's given to Teach for China, which is part of the Teach for All network, and has also given heavily to Teach for All for its work in China and the U.K. 

The foundation also supports a number of public schools in the county of Fairfield, Connecticut through a unique award the foundation calls the “Fairfield County Academic Gain Award.” Through the award, Fairfield County public elementary schools and its employees are automatically considered each year to receive awards for providing quality education (only individual schools are eligible - districts may not apply). Each full-time employee in the prior academic year at the winning school receives $500 (part-time employees receive $250 each), and the school receives $1,000 to use at its discretion. 

Cambridge Education, an education consulting shop, oversees the award and chooses schools based on performance (see past awardees here).

Mandel and his wife Susan have Connecticut addresses, as does the foundation, so it makes sense that the foundation is deep into Connecticut education. Foundation Executive Director Lucy Ball is tapped into the region as well, and serves on the advisory boards of Fairfield County Community Foundation and the Stepping Stones Museum for Children in Norwalk.

Lone Pine also has several qualifications it is looking for in its grantees. Among these are organizations that can demonstrate “Inspiring and Strategic Staff Leadership and [an] Active Board,” “Short and Long Term Outcomes and Impact,” engagement with the community, the desire to share “effective practices,” creative and scalable programs, and a commitment to “Change and Reform on Local, National and International Levels.”

Unfortunately for first-time grantseekers, the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals. It is also explicit about not accepting grant proposals outside of Fairfield County, CT; New York City, Westchester County, London, and Hong Kong.


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