Toggle mobile menu

Summer Internship Available

The Foundation has developed an exciting internship opportunity in philanthropy. Working in partnership with other Chicago-based funders, the Foundation developed its internship to provide a unique experience for an undergraduate student interested in pursuing work in the nonprofit space after college. For one current undergraduate student, this ten-week internship will provide a unique look into the nonprofit sector and opportunities to learn more about the systems and policies within the education, early childhood development, and youth development fields.

For full job posting, click here.

This was written by Robin Steans of Advance Illinois, a W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation Grantee, and originally published in the Chicago Tribune on January 9, 2024

When discussing the educator workforce shortages in Illinois, it is evident that the challenges our education system faces are complex. Reporter Shanzeh Ahmad’s recent article in the Tribune highlights the persistent, critical shortage of educators in special education and bilingual classes and sheds light on the disparate impact these shortages have on particular student populations. We must address this issue with urgency.

As our communities continue to recover from the economic, health and social impacts of a pandemic that profoundly and disproportionately affected communities of color, our students continue to struggle. And while all students were affected, it is clear that COVID-19 exacerbated long-standing educational disparities. Accordingly, the need for effective, prepared educators in every classroom and principal’s office has never been greater.

In its recently released report “The State of Our Educator Pipeline 2023,” Advance Illinois explores the teacher and principal pipeline in Illinois to understand where it is working well, where it can be strengthened and how the pandemic affected everything from educator recruitment and attendance to retention and vacancies.

First, some good news. The mass exodus of teachers from the profession that many predicted has not come to pass. Instead, our state has significantly increased its educator workforce since 2018, adding more than 5,800 teaching positions, a much greater rate than other states. That said, Illinois posts a 2.6% teacher vacancy rate. Worse, this overall average hides disparities by region — urban and rural areas are more likely to face vacancies; by position type — vacancy rates in special education and bilingual stand at 5% and 3.9%, respectively; and most tragically, by student population — with Black and Latino students and students from low-income households dramatically more likely to be in districts with vacancy rates more than twice the state average.

These staffing disparities are unacceptable under any circumstance. When we consider the disparate impact that COVID-19 has had on exactly the student populations most likely to be in schools affected by shortages, it is a crisis. When the Illinois State Board of Education released its annual Illinois Report Card this fall, it celebrated the fact that students are making progress in recovering from the academic impacts of disrupted learning. While students are not yet back to pre-pandemic levels of proficiency in English or math, they are beginning to rebound. As importantly, four-year high school graduation rates and freshman-on-track rates remained steady or grew and actually exceed pre-pandemic levels.

Despite this progress, math and English scores for Black and Latino students and students from low-income households, in grades 3 to 8, continued to lag behind their white and more affluent peers. While four-year high school graduation rates remained steady last year at an 87.6% average, disparities persist: Black students graduating at an 80.1% rate and Latino students at 85.5%. SAT scores also remain low, with notable differences between racial groups.

These disparities are less surprising when we consider that students of color and students from low-income households are more likely to be enrolled in districts with steeper teacher vacancies and that are more deeply under-resourced.

So what do we do? We have a few tools at our disposal. The first and most powerful solution we have is investment in the evidence-based funding formula. Since its passage, this formula has directed nearly $2 billion in new state dollars to the districts furthest from the adequate level of funding needed to ensure their students have access to a quality education. This has increased districts’ capacity to invest in everything from badly needed staffing — new teachers, counselors, reading specialists and more — to enrichment and support programs. These funds have been a lifeline for underfunded districts over the past six years and likely help explain why Illinois weathered the pandemic better academically than many other states. Put simply, investment in evidence-based funding is one of the most effective ways we have to get districts the resources they need to respond to the ongoing challenges they face in the wake of COVID-19 and as federal funds disappear.

The second tool we have is the targeted and sensible initiatives the state put in place over the past five years to grow and diversify the teacher pipeline. These include grant programs that cover tuition costs for educators pursuing bilingual education credentials, invest in the retention of special education teachers, recruit and train new administrators generally and of color, expand scholarships for candidates of color and provide mentoring and induction for new teachers and administrators. ISBE is commendably directing smart solutions to areas of greatest need. These initiatives and others play a critical role in how well all Illinois’ students recover and excel, but with the expiration of federal relief funds, the state’s continued investment is in jeopardy. It is imperative we not let that happen.

We applaud the steps ISBE and districts are taking to accelerate student recovery and do so equitably, but this work will falter without significant investment by our governor and the legislature. Targeted and meaningful investments from our state, for our students, for our teachers and for our schools are urgently needed to respond to the realities that are before us now and the ones we know lay ahead.

Robin Steans is president of Advance Illinois, an independent, bipartisan policy and advocacy organization.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation awarded approximately $5 million in grants in 2023. Please visit our Grants Awarded section for detailed descriptions.

The research is extensive and clear: Quality early childhood programs can strengthen Illinois’ current and future workforce, bolster crime prevention, and enhance national security. Such programs range from high-quality child care and preschool to key birth-to-3 initiatives, such as home-visiting services of “coaching” help for new and expecting parents. Unfortunately, Illinois’ early childhood system falls shy of meeting the needs of children, families, and communities, with resulting consequences for our state’s economy and public safety, not to mention our country’s most basic security.

Early Childhood Educators Set Illinois Kids on the Path to Success, a new report from Council for a Strong America-Illinois focuses on one vital aspect of efforts to improve this picture. It notes that the most fundamental features of solid early learning programs include “highly-qualified staff who are well-trained both before and during their service and who are adequately supported and compensated.” Yet in Illinois, child care teachers earn an average of only $28,730 per year and preK teachers about $35,840, compared with $65,790 for kindergarten educators. In birth-to-3 programs, the disparities are even more bleak.

Better compensation, support, and training are central to stabilizing the early childhood field and building-out a stronger system of birth-to-5 services, according to this report released by leaders from business, law enforcement, and the military. Program quality, access, and equity depend upon boosting this hardworking “workforce behind our entire workforce.”

Fortunately, as Gov. Pritzker and state leaders call for expanding early childhood services, informed by the recommendations of a bipartisan commission, there are successes on which Illinois can build further. These include pandemic-era Strengthen & Grow grants to help child care centers and homes strengthen staff recruitment, retention, and compensation increases — an effort that Illinois should extend. Similarly, the Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity Scholarship Program is a relatively new but significant collaboration between two- and four-year higher education institutions to grow the credentials of early care and learning professionals.

These and similar measures will be necessary to more concretely reflect the value of our early childhood workforce, placing its teachers and staff in a better position to put children, and our state, on the path to success.

In an effort to better support Black educators across the nation, Foundation grantee National Center on Teacher Residencies (NCTR) recently released its report, “Doing Better for Black Educators: Six Policy Recommendations for Improving the Recruitment and Preparation of Black Educators.” The report, which includes practical policy recommendations and promising practices towards diversifying the national teacher workforce, builds on research NCTR has been developing in partnership with the Columbia University Center for Public Research and Leadership through an evaluation of its Black Educator Initiative, an effort designed to recruit, prepare, and retain 750 new Black teachers through NCTR’s national Network of teacher residency programs.

Foundation grantee, the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment, recently published the Early Educator Engagement and Empowerment Toolkit which aims to support early educators in their advocacy, power building, and stakeholder engagement. It features the latest facts and policy solutions about the ECE workforce that educators can use to build arguments for change, from the local to the national level.

In 2019, the National Center on Teacher Residencies (NCTR), a Foundation grantee, launched the Black Educator Initiative, an effort designed to recruit, prepare, and retain new Black teachers through NCTR’s national network of teacher residency programs. A Foundation supported evaluation of this effort led to the development of a report titled “Recruitment and Retention of Black Educators: Promising Strategies at eight U.S. teacher residencies”. The report highlights the successes of the Black Educator Initiative in recruiting and retaining Black educators and identifies promising practices for diversifying the national teacher workforce.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation awarded approximately $5 million in grants in 2022. Please visit our Grants Awarded section for detailed descriptions.

This is the moment to be bold about improving the status of the early childhood workforce, and the Index provides the facts and the vision to guide advocates to action. It is an essential resource for all those working to ensure we build back better for children, families, and those who care.

Joan Lombardi, former Deputy Assistant Secretary, Early Childhood Development, USDHHS (2009-11)

The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment released the 2020 Early Childhood Workforce Index. The report provides a data-rich look at state-based policies and conditions for the early care and education workforce.

The biennial 2020 Early Childhood Workforce Index finds that state by state, child care workers earn a national median wage of just $11.65 an hour for one of the most important jobs in the nation. The report highlights the few bright spots of progress on state policies, such as COVID-19 pandemic crisis measures. For example, North Carolina and New Mexico provided monthly bonus payments ranging from $350 to $950 per month to help keep early education staff afloat.

Even before the pandemic, the Index finds, progress toward better compensation has been limited and uneven across states and among different classifications of early educators:

“The turnover in the profession is outrageous,” said Davina Woods, director of Excel Christian Academy in Burlington, North Carolina. “No one wants to stick and stay because the salary and compensation package is so low. By county standards, we’re paying very well, and yet I have members of my team that receive food stamps. Out of the 14 full-time staff that are a part of my team, five of them have second jobs at places like Target.”

The Early Childhood Workforce Index shows the lack of action by most states to ensure that early educators earn a living wage. In California, for example, the state budget earmarks funds toward professional development but does not address poverty-level wages, which will continue to drive qualified teachers out of the profession and do nothing to reduce the closures of child care facilities.

The report offers guidance to advocates, states, and the federal government on the policies that require attention and includes interactive maps and detailed tables on state workforce policies, initiatives, and wages. “Early educators’ poor working conditions are not inevitable, but a product of policy choices that have typically let down the women and men who are doing this essential work,” said co-author Dr. Caitlin McLean.

The Early Childhood Workforce Index shows why a comprehensive national child care strategy is needed, said co-author Dr. Lea Austin. “Parents are footing the bill for most child care in this country, and the market-based system means there’s just not enough resources to ensure that early educators are paid a living wage.”

This third edition also contains:

National Leaders Speak About Education in Covid-19 and Covid-19 Recovery

In September, Fifty-Two W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation grantees from all three of its program areas gathered for Transformation for Racial Equity: Moving Toward Action, the 2020 Annual Grantee Convening. Grounded by presentations from Linda Darling-Hammond, Learning Policy Institute, LaShawn Route’ Chatmon, National Equity Project, and John King, The Education Trust, grantees created a list of programs, policies, and practices that need to be transformed, reimagined or created in early childhood, youth development, and education in order to increase access and benefit for Black, Native American and Latinx children, their families, and communities. Participants considered:

To read more about the strategies and tactics, click here.

Sylvia Puente, President & CEO of Latino Policy Forum, a W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation grantee, has been recognized by the Consul General of Mexico in Chicago with a 2020 Ohtli Award.

The Ohtli award is presented every year by the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Relations through the Mexican Consular Network since 1996. The name “Ohtli” is a Nahuatl word which means “path”, alluding to the idea of opening a path for others. The Ohtli Award recognizes individuals who have aided, empowered, or positively affected the lives of Mexican nationals in the United States and other countries. Sylvia is an extraordinary example of a true fighter who has dedicated her career to shedding light on the struggles of the Latino community.

We congratulate Sylvia on this recognition. Recently Sylvia was interviewed by WBEZ on the voting patterns of Latinos in the 2020 Presidential Election.

The beginning of summer 2020 was marked by national and international protests against the people and systems responsible for the centuries of violence and injustices against Black and other people of color. The recent murders of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Tony McDade, Oluwatoyin Salau, Rayshard Brooks, and countless others killed by police have prompted a reflection on individual and systematic racism and oppression. The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation is renewing its commitment to uplifting the work and voices of community members, and implementing sustainable, equitable systems change. To do this, we have decided to spotlight and reflect upon the many statements issued by our grantees following the murder of George Floyd.

Below are the statements of many of our grantees. We have lifted up those that we felt were particularly powerful, highlighting a few excerpts and summarizing a few key reflections.

The National Equity Project’s message urges people to be engaged, informed, and present in the fight for freedom:

“As citizens of this promising yet conflicted nation, it is time for us to go for broke! We each must make a choice: take conscious action to learn about and dismantle injustice and the winding tentacles of white supremacy in our lives, families, workplaces and communities; or stay asleep, seek comfort, look away and in doing so – perpetuate racism and the racist systems that produce the inequity and injustices we face” (NEP).

The Citizen School uses its statement to remind us that the work of communities is only as effective as the system it exists in:

But how can we expect our students to develop into leaders if they are trapped in systems marred by racism? If some of their leaders can’t model empathy? If their communities voices are constantly muted? The distressing answer is that we can’t — unless we are willing to change the status quo” (Citizen Schools).

The Learning Policy Institute, NYC Leadership Academy, and the Youth Leadership Institute, argue our education and legal systems are flawed, and we’re not designed to support youth of color. Communities need support and solidarity not only when acts of violence occur, but in every day moments of healing, joy, and self-expression. The National Equity Project best captures this sentiment in their message when they emphasize, “This moment does not represent a fight for the humanity of Black people. Black people have long demonstrated our humanity in the face of unrelenting injustice and oppression. America, we are fighting to reclaim our collective humanity! (NEP).

The organizations listed below issued statements embracing the idea that an effective response must go beyond a message of solidarity and take its strength from both accountability and action.

Health Connect One While their letter is short, it includes existing tools and resources, including mental health resources for the Black community, where you can find free meals, anti-racism guides for kids and adults, as well as links to support George Floyd’s family, small businesses, and bail funds.

NYC Leadership Academy This statement provides a list of the different steps education leaders and teams can take to engage in restorative rather than punitive school practices. The statement includes a personal anecdote and statistics on how Black and Brown students are negatively affected by punitive practices in schools.

Learning Policy Institute Their article provides insightful research and perspective on education inequity. It prompts the reader to engage with education inequity on multiple levels: in the classroom and as well as the local, state, and national level.

Youth Leadership Institute They get underneath the heated rhetoric and unpack the “defund the police” movement and connect this movement with the values and work of their institution.

RYSE This letter centers the well-being of youth and provides readers with tips on how to socially and emotionally support Black and Brown youth. They also link readers to anti-racism resources and funds they can support.

Mikva Challenge This message connects readers with youth voice directly by including video messages from students. They also include reflections from their leadership which further promotes reflection, accountability, and centers their purpose not only as individual leaders but as an organization.

Citizen Schools This message puts forward their institutional role in addressing education inequity and centers the healing and learning of their students as well as staff. They list the tangible ways their support students through restorative justice circles and supporting their staff by offering time away for healing and reflection.

You can find more responses from our partner organizations listed below under their specific field areas:

Encouraging Progress on Kindergarten Readiness: Still a Long Way to Go

Data from the statewide Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS), released today by the Illinois State Board of Education, provides a snapshot of the skills of beginning kindergarteners in Illinois in the fall of 2019 and reflects the third consecutive year of increases in kindergarten readiness scores. Given KIDS is a relatively new tool, teachers are gaining expertise in observational data collection each year of implementation – making data and trends more conclusive every year.

Over 6,300 teachers observed over 130,000 kindergarteners (91 percent of all IL kindergarteners) with the KIDS tool in the fall of 2019. From fall 2018, the number of students scored as demonstrating readiness to learn at a kindergarten level increased from 26 percent to 29 percent, and fewer students were scored as having not reached readiness in any area – down from 39 percent to 37 percent. However, the third year of statewide KIDS data continues to reveal systemic inequities. For example, 21 percent of Black and 17 percent of Latino children demonstrated readiness, compared to 35 percent of their white peers. Significantly fewer children with IEPs (14 percent), English Learners (14 percent), and children qualifying for free/reduced price lunch (20%) were scored as “kindergarten ready,” indicating that Illinois has important work to do to close gaps in opportunity and outcomes.

Although it is encouraging to see overall kindergarten readiness numbers grow, it will take more data to draw definitive conclusions about readiness trends in Illinois.

KIDS provides a consistent indicator of readiness across the state, which is a critical starting point in efforts to support and promote more equitable outcomes for children, particularly among communities with the fewest resources. The most recent KIDS data underscores the need for deeper investment in high-quality early childhood services for children before they enter kindergarten, with a specific focus on equity – particularly improving access and quality for children from Black and Latino communities, children from low-income households, English Learners, and students with special needs.

KIDS data also highlights the critical need for the Governor’s Equitable Early Childhood Education and Care Funding Commission. Appointed in December, the Commission is tasked with taking a fresh look at the state’s early childhood education and care system and establishing funding goals and mechanisms to provide equitable access to high-quality early childhood education and care services for children from birth to age five. The Commission’s recommendations to the Governor in January will represent a critical milestone towards ensuring all children are ready for kindergarten.

Having standardized kindergarten readiness data has already catalyzed significant systems change across the state. Examples abound of how use of KIDS has prompted shifts from half-day to full-day kindergarten, driven a move toward more developmentally-appropriate play-based instruction, informed adjustments to curriculum, galvanized community-wide attention to critical impact of experiences of children prior to kindergarten, and fostered stronger relationships between preschools and public schools.

Looking forward, now more than ever, educators will need to understand what their students know and are able to do, as children enter school with disrupted preschool experiences due to COVID-19.

We applaud the continued collaboration between educators, ISBE, public policy makers, advocates and researchers as they work through the challenges presented by COVID. In the meantime, we are glad to have information that can be used to strengthen and connect the systems, investment and learning that happens in early childhood programs through transitions into kindergarten and the early elementary grades.

The 2019-2020 Illinois Kindergarten Individual Development Survey (KIDS) Report: A Look at Kindergarten Readiness provides additional information about the KIDS fall 2019 data. Visit to learn more about KIDS.

Once again, the often-ignored grip of racism has erupted in America. Last week another unarmed Black man, George Floyd, was killed by a White police officer. It took nearly nine minutes to kill Mr. Floyd and he pleaded for his life for seven and a half of those minutes. This happened on the heels of the killing of first-responder Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was ambushed and murdered by police officers in her home while she slept. Her murder coincided with a surfaced video of the reckless, cold-blooded killing of Ahmaud Arbery who was hunted down by white American domestic terrorists, while he jogged in his neighborhood. These deaths are not isolated incidences; these are the ones that made the headline news. They are visible markers of racism – a White supremacy system built to oppress. All of this unfolds against the backdrop of the COVID-19 global pandemic that has killed over 103,000 Americans with communities of color, particularly Black communities, falling ill and dying at disproportionate rates. The trauma of this pandemic coupled with the terror of relentless racism calls for us, stewards of philanthropic resources, privilege, and power to speak up, stand up, and act against discrimination, injustices, and oppression being visited upon Black communities and other communities of color.The United States is built on the backs of enslaved people and systematically maintained through our various systems, policies, cultures, and biases. Unfortunately, the perniciousness of racism begins before Black and Brown children are born and is imprinted throughout their life course. It can be seen in the segregated and low wealth communities, resource-poor educational institutions and health agencies, and in many communities, the boarded-up houses. As funders who focus on young children and their families, we see effects that are wide ranging across lack of access to high quality care for physical and mental health, racial disparities in early education, and a lack of economic justice.

As a philanthropic network focused on ensuring that every child has the opportunity to thrive, we, the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative, are committed to improving the wellbeing of our children and their families and being a catalyst to solve social problems. Racism is more than a pernicious social problem that impacts children’s early years and their families and communities — it is a root cause problem driving other social disparities. We cannot ignore it and we recommit to naming and centering racial equity in our analyses and investments.

We stand with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Gardner, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Alton Sterling, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Oscar Grant, Natasha McKenna, Laquan McDonald, Philando Castile and so many known and unknown Black people that have been killed by police because Black Lives Matter.

As a collective and as individuals who work on early childhood, we acknowledge that we are indebted to the Black and Brown women and families on whose backs we’ve built our economy – especially through their care of the country’s children for no pay or poverty wages. We are committed to being a catalyst for change in ensuring that a child’s race or zip code do not determine their school success, but most importantly the value of their ability to breathe and live. We commit as individuals and as philanthropic partners to ensure that Black children and other children of color have a chance at a fair and just life.

*The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation is a member of the Early Childhood Funders Collaborative.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation hosted its annual Grantee Convening in September 2019. Grantees from of the Foundation’s portfolios, Education, Early Childhood Development, and Youth Development, gathered to discuss equity in their work. They recognized that regardless of where they work and what age group they work with, they all face histories of oppression and systems that were designed to sift and sort, rather than achieve excellent outcomes for all. To get to a place where outcomes are not determined by race, the organizations must adapt to and overcome environments shaped by personal biases and structural racism. As context, attendees heard from Chicago’s newly appointed Chief Equity Officer, Candace Moore.

Stone’s grantee partners approach the issues in different ways – through research, practice or policy, and work with a diverse group of stakeholders- our youngest learners, K-12 students, teens, families, educators, policymakers, etc. And regardless of their difference, all the organization grapple with some common questions: How do we build organizations that are staffed and funded to authentically engage the communities we serve? How do we raise and sustain funding that allows us to be nimble and address the shifting landscape that presents obstacles to equity? How do we create a message that can be heard by all in an environment that is polarized and where deficit language predominates? How do we nurture leadership internally and externally that is prepared to advance equity? Together grantees explored these questions. And having heard clearly that this is a priority for its grantees, Stone will continue to explore how we can support efforts that insure every child has access to opportunities for success.

To learn more about the convening, a brief report is provided here.

The Student Opportunity Act was signed into law by Governor Charlie Baker last Tuesday. The legislation, which requires the state to invest an additional $1.5 billion in public education over the next seven years, is being hailed as a significant victory by organizations working to address the state’s educational equity issues, including Foundation partners Education Trust, Strategies for Children, and Teach Plus– all of whom, through their involvement with the Massachusetts Education Equity Partnership, play a role in moving the state towards a more equitable education system.

Through the Act, new funding will be made available to districts throughout the state. These new funds are intended to support efforts to close the opportunity gaps that for years have led to disparate educational outcomes across the state. Initial funding will target districts with large numbers of poor students and English language learners. Among other things, the new legislation lets districts obtain reimbursements for transporting students to out-of-district special education placements, create a grant fund for innovative educational approaches, fully fund charter school reimbursements, and raise a cap on state funding for school building projects. Additionally, the Student Opportunity Act requires that school district leaders work with families and stakeholders to develop concrete plans for how they will use newly allocated funds to improve student outcomes. This provision creates a critical opportunity to open up decision-making tables and ensure that education reform is done with historically underserved communities, not to them.

Grantee Internationals Network for Public Schools was recently featured in a new report and case study by Learning Policy Institute highlighting what makes its schools successful for recent immigrant and refugee English learners across the US. The Learning Policy Institute report highlights Internationals Network as an example of a school network that has successfully scaled student-centered, deeper learning school models across the country. The report explores the systems and structures these networks used to spread practices in ways that advance deeper learning and equity and result in greater success for traditionally marginalized students.

The W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation and the Forefront Education Group co-hosted a discussion around the University of Chicago Consortium’s report, Social, Emotional and Academic Development: Research Implications for Educators. Elaine Allensworth, the Consortium’s Lewis Sebring Director, provided highlights of the report. Brandis Friedman, correspondent and host of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight, moderated a panel that included Allensworth, LaTanya McDade, CPS Chief Education Officer, and Desmond Blackburn, CEO of New Teacher Center.

Research has long told us that social, emotional learning (SEL) skills are critical to success in school and life for all students. And yet, there are still gaps between what we know and what we do for our children and students. On March 21st, a thoughtful panel of experts offered evidence of progress – 447 CPS schools prioritized supportive school environments, earning the supportive school certification — and strategies for making the promise of SEL a reality for all.

The education rhetoric of the last decade can lure us into thinking that the path to excellent outcomes lies solely in rigorous content and assessment. The panelists debunked that myth, emphasizing the critical role of SEL components, including student engagement and emotions. Allensworth explained that “emotions can encourage learning or inhibit it,” and teachers can encourage learning by understanding “how students are experiencing the classroom.” Chief McDade added that SEL cannot be a “one and done” teacher training, but teachers must instead strive to have “student voice in the classroom, and classrooms need to be a window and a mirror where students can see the world outside as well as themselves.” Blackburn challenged us to re-frame educator goals. Instead of only asking teachers to raise test scores annually, raise the bar and inspire teachers to “transform the whole trajectory and 20 year outlook of the students and the school community.”

While providing evidence of progress and offering a bold vision, the panel nonetheless asked the audience to think about how to implement SEL for all students and train all teachers. Being the educators that they are, they gave us “homework!”

The W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation is honored to work with grantees across its portfolios – from early childhood, K-12 education, and youth development – who understand how learning happens, and who work toward building systems that support the whole child and the whole teacher.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation is proud to announce that Brian Dixon has been selected to participate in the Council on Foundations 2019 Career Pathways program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector’s senior executives.

Participants will graduate from the program with the knowledge, experience, and professional networks needed to be more effective in their current roles and more deliberative in their contributions to the field of philanthropy, positioning them to compete successfully for senior-level foundation positions.

“We are grateful to the Council on Foundations for elevating the importance of diverse talent through the Career Pathways program,” said Foundation Executive Director Sara Slaughter. “The W. Clement and Jessie V. Stone Foundation shares this commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy, and we know that our grant making will be better as a result of Mr. Dixon’s participation.”

Career Pathways equips mid-career professionals at grantmaking organizations and other non-profit institutions to lead high-performing organizations and programs in the U.S. and around the world. Since launching in 2010, 87 percent of Career Pathways alumni are working at the senior executive level in philanthropic organizations across the world.

Over the course of a year, Brian will delve deep into major issues facing philanthropic leaders; gain access to a vast network of CEOs, trustees, search firm executives, and national thought leaders; attend virtual and in-person career trainings across the country; and be paired with an executive coach to advise and support them along their career path.

“We continue to be inspired by the number of amazing and highly qualified applicants we received for Career Pathways, and the 2019 cohort is truly exceptional,” said Karon Harden, Vice President of Professional Development. “As we work to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in philanthropy through the Career Pathways program, we are excited to engage with this year’s cohort and see the work they will do in applying their new knowledge to improve their communities.”

The 2019 Career Pathways cohort members are:

Career Pathways will convene four times across the country in 2019 and be hosted by several leading philanthropic institutions. The first convening will take place in January in Houston, Texas. The program will conclude in November 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

Career Pathways is supported by The Duke Endowment, The Kresge Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation values equity across its portfolios. In September 2018, the Foundation hosted a convening of grantees from its early childhood, education, and youth development portfolios to discuss equity, reduce silos, and create a learning community.

The convening was focused on deconstructing the process of specific practices, tools, and strategies that advance equity in grantee work and identifying opportunities for application of these to the work of grantees.

Authentic engagement is critical to achieve equity, and it was at the core of the practices, tools, and strategies presented and explored during the convening.

We are excited to announce the publication of Supporting Social, Emotional, & Academic Development: Research Implications for Educators, a new report from the UChicago Consortium on School Research. This research synthesis is designed to help teachers and principals support equitable outcomes for all students. It suggests ways teachers, administrators, and school support personnel can use insights from research to create Pre-K-12 schools and classrooms that advance educational equity. The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation is proud to support this important research that promotes practical ways that educators can insure that all students see equitable outcomes.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation turns 60 in 2018. That’s 60 years of doing what W. Clement Stone instructed “make the world a better place for this and future generations.” Recently, four Executive Directors, current and former, reflected on their tenure with the Foundations and its impact. Read what they wrote here.

In September of 2017, the Stone Foundation hosted professor john a. powell, Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at UC Berkeley, for a series of conversations on race and equity. powell, an internationally recognized expert in the areas of civil rights, civil liberties, and structural racism, spoke to Chicago-based funders and Stone grantees on addressing racial inequities in their work. In his remarks, powell highlighted the concept of bridging: turning outward to connect and explicitly work with diverse groups and seeking ways to build common ground across difference. powell related the importance of bridging in shifting the ways in which we perform our work. Along with bridging, powell also emphasized the importance of targeted universalism: setting universal goals and developing targeted strategies to achieve these goals. When applied properly to our work, targeted universalism can have a meaningful impact on historical and structural racism. This is a Recap of the 2017 Convening

To learn more about these concepts and view professor powell’s full presentation, please click here.

Drawing on interviews with four new teachers of Color in San Francisco public schools, case studies of the Seattle and Boston Teacher Residencies, and decades of research, “Beyond Brochures” identifies seven barriers people of Color face to become teachers, and offers recommendations for how teacher preparation programs and policymakers can address this growing problem. Read the entire report here.

Over the past several years, youth leaders from Communities United (CU) and other organizations convened statewide efforts that led to the creation and passage of SB100. This new legislation, which took effect in September 2016, is the most comprehensive school discipline reform policy in the nation. It targets the disparate disciplinary practices that contribute to the “school-to-prison pipeline.” Among other things, the policy ends zero-tolerance in all publicly funded schools in Illinois, limits the use of exclusionary discipline and encourages restorative alternatives to traditional disciplinary practices. As schools across Illinois begin to implement the legislation, this video will help raise awareness and create a dialogue on the goals of the reform.

Center for Study of Early Childhood Employment releases ground-breaking report, Early Childhood Workforce Index.

The science is clear — early childhood education shapes children’s lifelong development — yet science and reality don’t align. While we understand that early education is critical, we’re not adequately investing in our most important resource: our children’s teachers. The median hourly wage for child care workers is $9.77, and 46% of these workers and their families are enrolled in at least one public support program. The median hourly wage for preschool teachers is $13.74, and 34% of these workers and their families are enrolled in at least one public support program. Find out how your state stacks up here.

The W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation is committed to improving student outcomes in urban schools in the United States. In order to advance this mission, the Foundation has identified several levers for change and has chosen to fund organizations that have made important contributions to the levers. In 2016, twenty organizations were invited to a cross-grantee convening from early childhood and k-12. The focus of the groups work spanned policy, practice and research.

This report synthesizes key themes and ideas as these early education and k-12 leaders shared and learned from each other.

The Stone Foundation hosted a convening of early childhood development grantees in the summer of 2015. Representatives from grantee organizations in Boston, Chicago, New York, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Philadelphia gathered to discuss common challenges they face as they attempt to grow, expand their reach, and deepen their impact. This report synthesizes key themes and ideas as these early childhood development leaders shared and learned from each other.