News and Insights

10 Examples of Progress in Washington State

12/18/2015

David Bley, director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation looks back at on  memorable moments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Pacific Northwest partners and our team, helping families achieve stable housing, strengthening local community networks and supporting great schools that help students and teachers realize their potential and reach for their dreams. Here are just a few of his favorite moments of progress over the past year. more »

A Season of Change at Meyer Memorial Trust

09/18/2015

Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust | September always brings change: weather shifts from hot to cool, busy autumn mornings replace leisurely summer afternoons, days grow incrementally shorter. Here at Meyer Memorial Trust, in a year filled with changes, the month offers a moment to reflect on where we have been and on where we are heading. Last year, Meyer awarded more grants than ever before — 515 grants and loans just over $46 million; we are again on track to make the largest payout in the foundation’s history. But we haven’t only been making grants this year. We began outreach in several of our four priority focus areas — housing, education, the environment, and supporting a vibrant nonprofit sector. more »

Ballmers, Microsoft Commit $21M to Washington State Opportunity Scholarship

09/02/2015

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie, joined by Microsoft, have committed $21 million to the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship to support low- and middle-income students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and health care fields. The scholarship, which Boeing and Microsoft each helped found with $25 million each in 2011, matches public and private money to deserving scholars and encourages recipients to work in Washington state once they complete their degrees. more »

New Considerations for Arts Education Advocacy, Policy Work

08/04/2015

Richard Kessler, Mannes School of Music, The New School | A new report, Foundation Funding for Arts Education: An Update on Foundation Trends, examines the Foundation Center’s data sets of grants of $10,000 or more awarded to organizations by one thousand of the largest U.S. foundations from 1999 to 2012. It is clear from the report overall that advocacy and policy are lagging well behind. But if programmatic work cannot achieve equitable access to quality arts education, then the challenge to the field is substantial. Some of the reasons why this area has been slow to emerge have to do with concerns around concrete results, confusion around what is allowed by law, and a general fear of conflict. more »

Road Map Report: Designing Equitable Parent-School Collaboration

07/31/2015

Jondou Chen, Ann Ishimaru and Joe Lott, University of Washington | Research consistently finds that strong parent–family–school relations is critical to student success. Traditional parent involvement efforts assume that schools are neutral places that treat everyone equally, but that ignores cultural context, and leads to a focus on changing the parents in order to match a preconceived notion of what a good parent should be. For parents who are struggling to make ends meet, who did not have positive experiences in school when they were students, or who are new Americans unfamiliar with how the system works, traditional efforts to engage them in their children's education may instead highlight barriers between the culture of the community and the culture of the school. more »