Collective Grantmaker Advocacy in Action Model: Building Research and Supporting Advocacy

The Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium was created in response to massive state cuts to Texas public schools in 2011. In 2012 the Consortium produced the only objective analysis of the impact of those cuts, paving the way for billions of dollars in restored funding. In 2014 the Consortium built on its success and created three policy work groups of like-minded foundations. These work groups produced high quality research and mobilized unusual advocates to directly inform the most important education debates at the Capitol in 2015. The Consortium is bringing the voices of the foundation community back to the Texas Capitol in 2017.  The top three themes selected by Consortium members for 2017 were: 1. Guided Pathways to College or Career; 2. Early Childhood Education and Pre-Kindergarten; 3. Teacher Effectiveness and Support and 4. School Finance. 

The Consortium’s members include 40 family, corporate, community, and private foundations from across Texas. Through surveys and meetings with hundreds of philanthropists every year, the Consortium has gained a deep understanding of the breadth of public education issues that Texas foundations are working to address. The Consortium works to produce data and research that policymakers need but do not have. The Consortium also understands that every foundation approaches advocacy from its own unique place and that every foundation has a role in our work.

Every two years, the Consortium reassesses its direction and creates new policy work groups with an eye on informing the conversation during the next session of the biennial Texas Legislature. Foundations interested in supporting one or more of these work groups can invest either a Seed Funder (an investment of at least $50,000) or Partner Funder (an investment of at least $10,000). One hundred percent of funds are passed through the Consortium and redistributed towards the work groups’ targeted advocacy efforts.

The Consortium works to ensure that high quality research is not just produced, but also to ensure that it is available to policymakers and the public. Participating foundations will receive clear recommendations on best practices and policies from research partners. Once approved, mini-grants of no more than $10,000 will be awarded to non-traditional allies to promote these specific policy recommendations to the public, the media, educators, policy makers, and other philanthropists in advance of the 2017 Texas Legislature


Collaborative Grantmaker Advocacy in Action: Consortium Work Group Timeline

Participating Foundations Determine Focus

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Foundation Becomes a Work Group Funder

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Policy Work Groups Identify Credible Research Partner to Conduct or Compile Politically Relevant and Objective Research

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Evidence-Based Policy Recommendations Produced

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Policy Work Groups Select Unusual Advocacy Partners to Promote Policy Recommendations (Advocacy Mini-Grants)

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Texas Legislature and Policymakers Respond to Revenue Neutral Proposals

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New Legislation Implemented