Earlier this month, I had the privilege of introducing author Paul Tough at the NewSchools Venture Fund Summit. Paul’s book “How Children Succeed” had a big impact on my wife, Tricia, and me. It highlighted what really matters in supporting children to succeed academically. The compelling case it made for the importance of non-cognitive skills galvanized much of the work we’ve done at the Raikes Foundation over the past several years around learning mindsets and skills.
People often ask me what we focus on at the Raikes Foundation (empowering young people to transform their lives) and how we do it (investing in capable people addressing under-resourced challenges where our dollars can have an outsized impact on the systems that serve youth.)
Much less frequently, people ask me about the time frame for our philanthropy. But this is a hugely important question, and I am grateful to Rob Reich and his team at Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS) for inviting me to explore the issue as part of this week’s Giving in Time conference on the Stanford campus.
Tricia Raikes and I are big believers in the advantages of time-limited philanthropy. That is why we have decided to spend down the Raikes Foundation’s assets by 2038. There may be some circumstances where the date could be extended for one more generation, but under no circumstances will the Raikes Foundation be allowed to exist in perpetuity.
To mark the fifth anniversary of the Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund (i3), Jeff Raikes was asked to join other leaders in the education field and offer perspective as one of the foundation executives who initially helped launch the effort. The following was contributed to Medium, which is working with the DoE to curate an online discussion to reflect on five years of i3 grants.
In October of 2009, Jim Shelton approached me with an idea. Jim was then assistant secretary at the Office of Innovation at the U.S. Department of Education, and I was in my second year as CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Earlier this week Angela Duckworth and David Yeager published an important paper concerning the vital question of how to assess students’ mindsets and other non-cognitive competencies.
Over the last few years the Raikes Foundation has significantly increased our commitment to helping students develop learning mindsets and skills, so they are motivated to learn and know how to learn. We’ve done this because researchers have demonstrated that students who have developed these capacities have greater confidence in their ability to learn and persist when they face challenges. They see the value in the material they’re learning, believe that they belong and can succeed in the classroom—and that their hard work will pay off.