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Strategy Shift: ECMC Foundation to Concentrate on Higher Education Initiatives and Close Out Teacher and Leader Development Focus Area

December 08, 2017

By Peter J. Taylor, ECMC Foundation

Three years ago, ECMC Foundation underwent a significant change, transitioning from a charitable organization that gave scholarships to students to a strategic grantmaker focused on investing in long-term systemic change in education. The shift in direction resulted from the belief that such investments would have the potential to create change that is sustainable and impactful for students on a larger scale.

The Foundation’s mission from the onset has been built around the idea that we would take risks, stay nimble in our strategy and be open to new developments. We believe that constant evaluation of our methods and strategy is critical to ensuring our investments are maximized, have the potential to disrupt the industry and positively impact the lives of students.

This past year, we re-examined the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy and asked ourselves: how can we make the most impact so that students from underserved, underrepresented populations are able to break cycles of poverty, earn degrees and credentials and get jobs that lead to family-sustaining careers?

After careful consideration, the team and I came to the difficult decision to close out the Teacher and Leader Development focus area, effective December 1, 2017. Moving forward, ECMC Foundation will direct funding into our two remaining areas of focus: College Success and Career Readiness.

This new direction aligns with the concentration of parent company ECMC Group and all our affiliate companies on postsecondary education. The team and I at ECMC Foundation believe we would be able to make the greatest impact in students’ lives if we focus our resources, narrow our scope and dive deeper into the College Success and Career Readiness portfolios, which are directly related to postsecondary education.

The Foundation team is very proud of the work that our colleagues, Kyle Miller and Jenny Power, have done in leading, designing and executing our Deeper Learning-related investments. The Foundation has established great partnerships in the field and we will continue to honor all existing grants in this focus area. 

Over three years we made 23 grants in the Teacher and Leader Development investment portfolio, and 20 are still active. Of the $13.2 million we committed to date, $10.1 million has been paid out and $3.0 million remains. The final grant we have in the portfolio will close out in June 2020, marking the official end of all Teacher and Leader Development outstanding commitments. Kyle Miller has left ECMC Foundation and Jenny Power will oversee the transition of grants in the Teacher and Leader Development focus area.

As we shift in our direction, the team at ECMC Foundation and I look forward this coming year to focusing on our postsecondary initiatives and continuing to invest in programs and initiatives that help students succeed.

Peter J. Taylor

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