Education funders adjust to recession

In the face of the economic downturn, education funders in the U.S. are adjusting their operations, with many sharpening their focus as they cut back on grantmaking, a new report says.

Almost six in 10 education funders trimmed their grantmaking budgets in 2009, while 26 percent made no changes and the remaining 14 percent increased giving, says the report from Grantmakers for Education.

To cope, virtually all the funders, which together account for $1.5 billion in support for education, have made internal changes, including cutting expenses and personnel.

More than nine in 10 are collaborating with other funders, and almost half plan to increase their collaborative work over the next two years.

At the same time, education grantmakers are eager to find and fund innovative approaches to entrenched problems, while acknowledging that documenting the effectiveness of new approaches can be problematic.

Education funders continue to be interested in public policy, with six in 10 groups supporting research, advocacy and other policy-related activities, and several planning to increase their efforts over the next two years.

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