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Greater Texas Foundation: Strategic Planning

Case Overview

Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) engaged FSG to develop a five year strategic plan designed to increase the Foundation’s impact on student education outcomes in Texas.

The Challenge

Since its 2001 conversion from a student loan corporation to a foundation, GTF had increased its grantmaking from $200,000 to more than $13 million in 2008 and hired its first full-time executive director. Given that significant growth, the foundation’s leadership wanted to think more strategically about the Foundation’s programs and initiatives. The Foundation wanted to continue to impact students across the entire state of Texas while heightening its focus on research-based and outcomes-driven work and also deepening its partnerships with outside organizations. By engaging in strategic planning, GTF sought to bring greater clarity and coherence to its philanthropic strategy so it could achieve heightened impact on the educational success of Texas students — particularly the state’s most vulnerable youth.

Approach & Solutions

FSG partnered with GTF over six months to develop the Foundation’s philanthropic strategy. The planning process included the following key components:

  • Texas Education Landscape Assessment. FSG conducted outside research to develop a high-level picture of the current efforts, players, and unmet (or under-met) needs in Texas education
  • Vision Development. FSG facilitated a process for GTF leaders to hone a strong vision for future impact, taking into account the unique aspirations and assets of the Foundation
  • Prioritization of Focus Areas. FSG worked with GTF staff to identify the specific areas of overlap between the foundation’s philanthropic vision and the education gaps uncovered by the Texas education landscape research
  • Program Development and Refinement. FSG helped determine new programmatic areas of focus and how to improve or update GTF’s existing programs to best meet its goals in its chosen focus areas
  • Evaluation Framework and Learning Agenda Development. FSG developed the key metrics for GTF to track and created a learning agenda laying out the critical questions to explore to inform future strategic choices
  • Implementation Plan. FSG collaborated with GTF leaders to develop a roadmap for how the Foundation would roll-out the new strategic plan smoothly and successfully

About Greater Texas Foundation

Headquartered in Bryan, Texas, Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) serves the citizens and educational institutions of Texas by supporting initiatives that increase rates of post-secondary enrollment and completion for all Texas students, with a particular focus on students who may encounter barriers to post-secondary success. GTF is an education conversion foundation tracing its origins to the Greater Texas Student Loan Corporation, which was founded in 1980. Until 2001, the organization provided financial assistance to Texas students seeking higher education by raising funds in the tax-exempt financial markets and acquiring student loans originated by lenders participating in its programs. In 2001, the organization expanded its charitable purposes while surrendering its ability to issue tax-exempt debt, and GTF was then formed.

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