First published in The Foundation Review, this paper describes a three-year study of an inter-organizational collaboration that was created to align the tools and services of three technical assistance organizations (TAOs) in one school district. The collaboration, known as the Aligned Partners Project, encountered significant challenges in developing coherent technical assistance. This paper examines the role that a philanthropic organization played in this endeavor and identifies several grantmaking practices that foundations can employ for greater impact in the field.
Foundations that seek to fund education-improvement projects involving multiple organizations will find recommendations in this paper to help them think about how to engage all the organizations and set up the project for success. The paper also discusses how philanthropic organizations can use collaborative projects as an opportunity for their own learning, which can inform strategy and shape future work.
A new book, Global Education Reform: How Privatization and Public Investment Influence Education Outcomes, provides a powerful analysis of these different ends of an ideological spectrum – from market-based experiments to strong state investments in public education.