Theses Doctoral

Funding for Change: Factors Affecting Foundation Funding of Pre-Collegiate Education Policy in the United States Following the Charlottesville Summit and No Child Left Behind

Klopott, Shayna Melinda

This dissertation examines philanthropic foundation grant making for early childhood and K-12 education policy in the period 1988 to 2005, focusing on how grant making changed as a result of the Charlottesville Summit in 1989 and the passage of No Child Left Behind in 2001. Using a rational choice frame, I specifically ask if foundations responded to changes in the education policy environment that resulted from those 2 events by changing the levels of government that they target in their education policy grant making. Then, using an institutional frame, I ask if foundation capacity, as measured by their asset size and board size, increases the likelihood of being a foundation that focuses on policy grant making for education and increases the speed of response to changes in the field of foundations and the broader policy environment. Lastly, I employ the organizational ecology frame to ask if foundations have responded to changes in the organizational field of foundations, as the result of the entrance of new foundations that are influenced by broad changes in the business world, to focus their grant making increasingly on advocacy and other policy work. I find that there are a number of foundation characteristics that are associated with the odds of being a policy foundation and with the proportion of grants that policy foundations make for policy activities. I find that overall, following the Charlottesville Summit state targeted grantmaking decreased while nationally (affecting many if not all states) and federally targeted grantmaking rose. And, following the implementation of No Child Left Behind, locally targeted, state targeted and federally targeted grantmaking all increased as a percentage of total policy grantmaking, while nationally targeted grantmaking declined. However, these overall trends obscure important differences between the largest and non-largest foundations. Lastly, I find that grant recipient types also varied by foundation asset size. I conclude that while there is evidence to suggest that foundations behave as rational actors, to some degree, they are less responsive to isomorphic pressures from within the field of foundations than I would have expected. Additionally, rather than seeing tremendous change among the older foundations, the entrance of new foundations into the field of education philanthropy seems to be responsible for the perception that the field has changed dramatically.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Political Science
Thesis Advisors
Henig, Jeffrey R.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
May 12, 2015