The Bay & Paul Foundations: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Bay & Paul Foundations is committed to education, the environment, and arts and culture as a matter of “social compact” and as “agents of change.”

IP TAKE: Education is a primary focus of this foundation, an arena it terms as “transformative learning practices.” As this language suggests, The Bay & Paul Foundations frame its support of education as support of a social movement, and therefore has shown a particular interest in charter schools and research/alternative think tanks, but it also funds public schools and other mainstream-on-the-surface institutions. Regardless of the type of K-12 education program you have, the foundation expects your proposal to demonstrate both program rigor and a vision for "contributing to civil society."

PROFILE: The Bay & Paul Foundations is a name in plural because in 2005 two long-established sister foundations merged into one: The Bay Foundation and the Josephine Bay Paul and C. Michael Paul Foundation. Their commonality was Josephine Bay Paul, who established the former foundation with her first husband, and the latter with her second husband.

Now streamlined, giving from The Bay & Paul Foundations stems from a desire to support a social movement that creates a just and ecologically sound society. Or, as the foundation states: “Our vision is of vibrant communities whose skillful collaborations assure just and ecologically robust outcomes for present and future generations.”

Education—including for the K-12 set—is at the heart that vision. The Bay & Paul Foundations support education through its PreK-12 Transformative Learning Practices focus area. It's notable that this foundation uses this term rather than the more standard "Education." It's also notable that the foundation doesn't stop there, describing its education giving this way:

In this broad and inclusive domain The Bay & Paul Foundations support initiatives that prepare students and educators working together to build transformative learning environments that contribute to strengthening civil society. These grants increasingly feature the visible elevation and authorization of youth voice and agency. We see Education for Sustainability and Social Justice as an integrative driver of school transformation, most often rooted in place-, project-, and problem-based practice and research, and utilizing systems thinking, critical friendship, and critical pedagogy.

There's a lot to unpack there, all in the vein of education programs as drivers of a social movement. This focus area description also refers back to the foundation's mission--“to foster and accelerate initiatives that prepare agents of change working to strengthen our social compact and develop authentic solutions to the challenges of this pivotal century.”

Other key words reinforcing this foundation’s view of its granting as social movement are found in its values statement: Courage, patience, humility, listening, understanding, collaboration, opportunities.

For K-12 education, it boils down to recent support that includes think tanks/research groups, school districts, individual schools, and community-driven organizations. A sample includes:

    It's also worth noting that the foundation also places great emphasis on arts education through its Arts & Humanities Education focus area (including $25,000 to the Yellow Barn Music School in Putney, VT). Another funding stream for potential K-12 education programs is its Support for Indigenous Communities (including a recent grant of $16,500 to the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition in Denver, CO).

    You’re right to notice that a lot of this giving is focused on the New York City area and Vermont. However, The Bay & Paul Foundations do not stipulate any geographic limits for its K-12 education giving. Furthermore, the foundation has an open, online LOI process. Biannual deadlines vary; check the website for upcoming dates.


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