Sep 15 2021

Equity, Polarization and Critical Race Theory: How Funders Can Bring a Thoughtful Approach to the Debate

Grantmakers for Education

Members may request access to a video of this program by contacting

A debate about how and what to teach is taking place across the country at the legislative, community, district and school level. While some look to reassess school curriculum through a lens that promotes active inquiry into systems that perpetuate racism, others seek to limit what can be taught. Join our learning series for a deep dive into important aspects of this strident debate.

Session 2: How Funders Can Bring a Thoughtful Approach to the Debate

When tensions run high, it’s hard to make headway on important questions such as what should be taught in schools, and how should it be taught. Yet, these are vital conversations that, for many schools, districts and community organizations are happening for the first time and with a new perspective. What is really behind the debate? How is rulemaking shaping the discussion? How can funders help keep the conversation centered on teaching students critical thinking and history rather than feeding a culture war?

In session two of this series on critical race theory, Dr. John Garcia, president of the Greater LA Education Foundation, will lead a conversation with funders, policymakers and advocates on these questions and more.

Join us to explore what role funders can play in sustaining an equity agenda in education during this significant time in history.

This event is intended for members and other education grantmakers. There is no cost to attend this Grantmakers for Education program. Registration closes 15 minutes prior to the program time. Thank you for your patience; we review each registration in advance.


Meg Bennett
Honesty for Ohio Education

Meg Bennett is an Ohio student and graduate of Shaker Heights High School. She is the co-founder of the Honesty for Ohio Education Youth Coalition, a group of students working to fight Ohio HB 322 and Sub HB 327 by empowering youth voices. She believes that the classroom should be a safe space for students of all identities and backgrounds to have conversations where they learn from each others’ experiences and viewpoints.


Dr. John Garcia III
Greater LA Education Foundation

Dr. John Garcia III is chief deputy of strategic partnerships & innovation at the LA County Office of Education and president of The Greater LA Education Foundation. Previously, John worked a the California Community Foundation, Jobs for the Future, the Southern Regional Education Board and the National Governors Association. He spent four years as a school counselor in an urban school district and was the Westside Impact Teacher of the Year in 2010. John also served as an adjunct professor teaching college success strategies, and was the founding director of the Arizona College Access Network. He has served as a policy analyst for the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics and was a doctoral resident with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. John holds a business degree in supply chain management and a Master of Counseling from Arizona State University. He earned his doctorate in education leadership from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Dr. Jason Glass
Kentucky Department of Education

Dr. Glass, a native of Brandenburg, Kentucky and a third-generation educator, has been commissioner of education since September 2020. Before that, he was superintendent and chief learner of Jeffco Public Schools in Colorado. Glass began his teaching career at Hazard Independent Schools. He held progressively senior positions with the Colorado Department of Education, then worked for Qualistar Early Learning. He served briefly at Ohio-based Battelle for Kids, then was appointed as Iowa state director of education. Glass served as Iowa’s chief state school officer, then was superintendent of Eagle County Public Schools in Colorado. Glass earned a master’s in political science and a master’s in education from the University of Kentucky. He received his doctorate in education leadership from Seton Hall University. He holds a certificate in advanced education leadership from Harvard University. In 2016, President Barack Obama nominated Glass to the National Board for Education Sciences.


Dr. Gislaine Ngounou
Interim President & CEO
Nellie Mae Education Foundation

Gislaine brings more than 15 years of experience working across the education sector. Most recently, she served as the chief program officer for Phi Delta Kappa International where she designed and led programs that supported school district leaders, provided leadership coaching surrounding issues of equity and social justice, and created and facilitated an ongoing community that allowed system-level leaders in districts from across the country to learn from one another. She is passionate about social justice, racial equity, adult learning, youth and community empowerment, system change, and increasing educational opportunities for all students. Gislaine holds a Bachelor of Science degree and an Education Specialist in Administration degree from University of Missouri Kansas City, a Master of Arts in teaching from University of Missouri Central, and a Doctor of Education Leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Cynthia Peeples
Parent Advocate
Honesty for Ohio Education

Cynthia Peeples is a community organizer and communications specialist focusing on social justice and democracy issues. She is a founding partner of Honesty For Ohio Education; chairs the League of Women Voters REAL TALK program; co-chairs the Akron NAACP ACT-SO program; coordinates services for Summit County’s shelterless population; and serves on the state board of League of Women Voters Ohio and Akron Civic Theatre.

Cynthia transitioned into nonprofit service while working as a news anchor in Texas, marrying her passion for activism and storytelling. She has since moved around the country, working with several outstanding nonprofits, including the League of Women Voters, NAACP, American Society of São Paulo, Habitat for Humanity, and American Cancer Society, in advocacy, community outreach, fundraising, events planning, membership, and communications. While living in Brazil, Cynthia helped launch the Campinas chapter of the American Society of São Paulo to address disparities in public education and family services in impoverished communities.

Cynthia grew up in California and Hawaii. She holds a B.S. in Finance from the University of Akron.


The Learner Experience in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
Jun 17 2024

The Learner Experience in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Join legislators, state, district, and school leaders, business executives, and community partners for a one-day, action-packed summit in the heart...

From Connections to Power to Liberation: Imperatives for Education Justice
Jun 17 2024

From Connections to Power to Liberation: Imperatives for Education Justice

Learn about education victories and ways philanthropy can help to build sustainable power for the education justice movement.