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.
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.