2014 Member Briefings


Member Briefings are one of GFE’s signature programs, offering members the opportunity to come together in-person to explore, in-depth, an area of shared interest. Member Briefings are typically one and a half-day place-based learning sessions designed to engage 40 – 60 people. Topics are generated by member organizations through a Request for Proposal process. Specifically, member organizations suggest areas of education grantmaking that they want to highlight and help GFE members better understand, explore more deeply and examine first-hand. Proposals are reviewed by an ad hoc program committee and those selected work in partnership with to design the briefing.

In 2014, member organizations were asked to advance proposals that focus on timely topics connected to what GFE members value across the spectrum of public education: promoting equity, generating evidence-based outcomes, achieving excellence in teaching and learning and continuing what works while always rising to meet the next challenge.

About 2014 Member​ Briefings

The Portfolio Approach:
Igniting student learning, creating successful schools

August 12-13, 2014 in Denver, Colorado


To advance district-wide improvement and achievement, some school systems are pursuing a portfolio strategy—redesigning school districts or creating a new governing entity for the purpose of improving achievement. The approach includes replacing a centralized system with a diverse portfolio of schools, some run by the school district and others by independent organizations. 

The Portfolio Approach explores the role that education grantmakers can play in advancing the portfolio strategy to generate continuous improvement both in individual schools and in a city’s overall supply of public schools.


The State as the Unit of Change:
Building capacity to impact learners

August 14-15,2014 in Denver, Colorado


Often the most high-profile public policy debates on education happen at the national level. But states also have to raise revenue for education and set conditions for spending those funds. They decide who may teach and what students are expected to learn, how that learning is assessed.

This Member Briefing explores The State as the Unit of Change; looking at how grantmakers are engaging at the state level across the country to affect real and lasting change. The program will examine how the Colorado Education Initiative—a unique public-private partnership that has garnered national attention—is helping the Colorado Department of Education build implementation capacity at the Department and in school districts and schools statewide to increase the graduation rate and close the achievement gap.


On the Ground:
Putting higher standards into practice

September 17-18, 2014 in Kenton County, Kentucky (just minutes from Cincinnati, Ohio)


The adoption by most states of new, common standards represents a special opportunity for education in the U.S. and for funders seeking to influence the quality of schools at scale. Achieving the promise of the standards to increase student learning will require renewed and careful attention to build the capacity of our school systems.

On the Ground: Putting higher standards into practice will take place in Kenton County, Kentucky where lessons can be learned from early adoption of the standards in the Kenton County School District and from the leaders, educators, and students at the center of the implementation. This program will help funders smartly identify leverage points, gaps, compare strategies and insights, and assess philanthropy's role in supporting the shift to the Common Core.