In the spirit of Thanksgiving, TEGAC gives thanks to our friends, specifically to Friends of Texas Public Schools (FOTPS). Friends of Texas Public Schools recently honored TEGAC with its “Friend of the Year” Award for TEGAC’s work to build momentum and spur action around a key message: Money matters in education, and that money should be well spent.
We believe deeply in the data behind this message, both quantitative research and qualitative polling data that show school finance and investment in public education is a hugely impactful issue with voters all across our state. As a consortium of grantmakers, we’ve known this for years. In fact, we were founded on this fact after the state cut $5.4 billion out of the public education budget in 2011. Philanthropists saw their investments being wiped out with those cuts, so TEGAC was born.
We’ve long said, “Philanthropy can’t fill the holes left by the state.” And that message is one we lead with in every conversation with legislators in the years following those historic cuts in 2011. But we also talk about the innovation, the creativity, the best practices, the amazing teachers, and the passion and dedication that our public education system represents and that Texas philanthropy has been supporting for decades.
We want lawmakers to know that good things are happening in Texas public schools and we know because often we, as philanthropists, are funding it.
This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for our state legislators for hearing our message; a message shared by our many partners who, together, made the 86th Texas Legislature the “school finance session.” We are thankful for this award given to us by Friends of Texas Public Schools. And, we are thankful for the investment and partnership of our TEGAC members who make effective advocacy possible.