Skip to main content

Foundation Review | May 2011

The close, long-term relationship between Los Angeles County’s Rowland Unified School District and the Ball Foundation allowed the district to not only survive a series of challenges, but to implement a strategic plan that sought to transform teaching and learning in its schools. The Ball Foundation’s adoption of an adaptive-consultative approach in its grantmaking paved the way for the success of the district and its students.

Top Takeaways

  1. This approach requires both the funder and the grantee to be committed to learning and adapting strategies as needed to respond to both results and changing contexts.
  2. The funder must have skills in facilitation and play a much greater role in implementation than in the typical funder-grantee relationship.
  3. Schools that directly participated in the Ball Foundation partnership (and thus got the benefit of direct contact with the foundation) outperformed schools that did not, based on growth in student literacy scores.
Cultivating a culture of asking questions, seeking answers, and learning from experience is essential.