Ballmer Family Joins $1B Grantmaking Partnership for Youth

February 2, 2016

Ballmer Family Giving, the youth-focused philanthropy organization representing former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, has joined a funding partnership that aims to award $1 billion in grants to high-performing charities that serve low-income children.

The family's $50 million pledge comes five months after Ballmer Family Giving and Microsoft made a $21 million contribution to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship.

The new collaborative, Blue Meridian Partners, is led by the New York-based Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. From the announcement by Nancy Roob, CEO of both the foundation and this joint venture:

Blue Meridian Partners has secured $750 million toward our goal of investing at least $1 billion to help high-performance nonprofits achieve much greater scale. Six General Partners, listed in alphabetical order, have committed $50 million or more:

  • The Ballmer Group, Philanthropy
  • The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation
  • Stanley and Fiona Druckenmiller
  • The Duke Endowment (with a focus on North Carolina and South Carolina)
  • George Kaiser Family Foundation (with a focus on Tulsa, Oklahoma)
  • The Samberg Family Foundation. 

Four Limited Partners intend to commit $10 million or more:

  • The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation
  • The JPB Foundation
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Nicole Wallace, staff writer for The Chronicle of Philanthropy, reports:

The [Edna McConnell Clark Foundation] is a pioneer in data-driven grant making. In the late 1990s, it committed to a single mission: advancing youth-development organizations, It started making large, unrestricted grants and requiring that groups set and achieve targets for improving their programs and expand to serve more young people.

The new collaborative’s grants will be "big bets," writes Ms. Roob, five- to 10-year commitments of up to $200 million per organization that will be unrestricted and tied to performance. The goal is to help the charities improve their work, serve more children, and increase their influence on the child-welfare, education, judicial, and other systems that affect young people’s lives.

"The history of philanthropy teaches us that real progress on really tough challenges almost always necessitates deep collaboration among funders and other organizations," says Phil Buchanan, president of the Center for Effective Philanthropy.

Comments

How does a non-profit (501 (c) 3) organization, which serves youth, apply for funding from your foundation?
Thank you for your help.

Dear Mr. Ballmer:

I am the VP of the Kent County Learning Center located in Kent County Maryland on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay. We are a 501 (c) (3) dedicated to improving the quality of life for our citizens through education. Our focus currently is helping young children in their educational pursuits. Thus far, we have helped 65 students obtain their GED State of Maryland diplomas. We also tutor grade school children twice weekly at our Homework Depots. Our centers are manned by volunteers, mostly retirees. We have no fixed sources of funding and depend on the generosity of local businesses and citizens. Having seen Mr. Ballmer on TV, I am impressed that his stated mission and ours are parallel and I am therefore hoping you will see fit to make a contribution to our cause. President Reedy and I are at you disposal should you need more information.

Community leaders are organizing an Economic Development Corporation for the purpose relieving the economic stress on families and decrease stress factors on students. Do you accept unsolicited proposals?