What the Broad Foundation's Recent $3 Million Award Says About Its Education Goals

If you hadn’t heard, the Broad Foundation has made personalized learning the centerpiece of their education funding. And the foundation is at it again, with another multi-million dollar grant. This time, Common Sense Media received $3 million from the foundation to expand Graphite a free ratings platform for digital learning tools. (Inside Philanthropy's Alyssa Ochs has all the details about the grant here.)

The grant’s not too out of the ordinary for the foundation. In fact, Broad’s education team has consistently funded education groups focused on 21st century learning with large grants, but it does show that they aren’t cutting back on funding in the area anytime soon. Really, we’re probably at the frontend of what is likely to be a long-term priority for the foundation’s education grants.

With the $3 million, Common Sense Media will be expanding Graphite, which was launched in 2013 and includes teacher ratings and reviews for a variety of digital education tools and resources, including games, curricula and websites. Common Sense Media is an established player in the education field, which is fairly common with Broad’s education grantees.

Since early 2012, when the foundation shifted gears to focus some of their education dollars on “blended learning,” Broad has supported a variety of digital learning projects and nonprofits. In the first year of the program, the foundation invested more than $20 million in blended learning, including a $4 million grant to ed-tech darling Khan Academy. It doesn’t look like that will change in 2014, or beyond.

Aside from Common Sense Learning, the foundation has worked with a variety of established blended learning partners. And the “established” part seems to be a common theme in their grant-giving. For instance, a $10 million grant to the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation for support of 15 blended learning schools in the state. The group of schools was one of the first networks of its kind in the US to focus solely on student-centered learning.