How Philanthropists Can Support Transformative and Equitable Change in Education

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In the United States, philanthropy plays a large role in shaping education, with investments meant to impact and make a change for future generations.

The racial divide, when it comes to education opportunities for students in the United States, has existed historically, and is now more amplified as a result of COVID-19. A recent study by EdBuild suggests that about 20 percent of students are enrolled in districts that are both poor and nonwhite, and stats show that just 5 percent of students live in white districts that are equally financially challenged.

The racial and economic disparities in schools provide a crisis at hand for future generations who will bear the brunt of the inequities as adults. Which is why it’s crucial now more than ever for philanthropists and investors to be part of the solution that could help remove those barriers and create more equitable school structures.

According to a study completed by the American Council on Education and funded by the TIAA Institute, in 2017, education received $412.26 billion, the second largest sector of philanthropic contributions in the United States.

America’s richest choose to invest in education because they believe that it will create change and have a positive impact in the world. Education is seen as an investment opportunity because it has the power to change the economic development and career opportunities for future generations.

While the philanthropic investment in American education is the second largest amount in comparison to other sectors, such as human resources, health and the environment/climate change, the contributions still pales when it comes to the overall spending of U.S. K-12 public schools per year.

Contributions from philanthropic organizations and funders are usually directed to influence policy change in education, to support teacher training and professional development, to improve learning efficacy and to


William Paterson University Awarded ‘Transformative’ STEM Grant

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WAYNE, NJ — William Paterson University was awarded a five-year, $1 million Scholarships-in-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation, the university announced.

The grant will support WPU students majoring in mathematics and computer science through scholarships and mentoring, according to the university.

“The overall goal of this project is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need,” says Venkat Sharma, dean of the College of Science and Health, who serves as the team’s STEM administrator. “I congratulate all of our colleagues for their hard work in obtaining this highly competitive and transformative grant.”

Over the five-year duration, the project will support 26 first-year and transfer students who are pursuing bachelor’s degrees in mathematics, computer science, or computer information technology.

First year students will receive scholarship support for up to four years and transfer students will receive up to two years of scholarship support, the university said.

With this grant award, William Paterson intends to enroll three cohorts of low-income, academically talented students as mathematics and computer science (MaCS) scholars and support them with scholarships.

The University will also work to improve year-over-year retention rates for MaCS scholars who are first-time, full-time, first-year or transfer students, and improve graduation rates for all MaCS scholars.

Additionally, the funds will support a research study that investigates the relationship between college retention for low-income students and strength-based, culturally responsive mentoring. The proposed project will also refine the recruitment pipeline of females into the target STEM majors, which will increase enrollment and, consequentially, increase the number of underrepresented STEM graduates entering the workforce.

This grant will also allow the University to develop leadership programs at its seven partner schools, the university said. These include:

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