The McCall Kulak Family Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals, but rather we direct our giving proactively to a range of issues, with a special focus on access to developmentally appropriate education for all children.
We encourage you to explore some of the thinking and research, as well as the models and methods that are breathing new life into the way we think about education.
The McCall Kulak Family Foundation has spent the last seven years strategically exploring innovation in education, with the assumption that alternative models of teaching and learning could hold great promise and are much needed in this country. Innovation, in its broadest definition, implied that not only were new ideas needed in order to turn the culture and impact of education around, but in addition, the Foundation recognized that innovation didn’t always mean creating education models or frameworks from scratch. By carefully exploring existing high quality exemplars, with an unwavering emphasis on developmentally focused education, the Foundation has invested in the capacity building and scaling of models that were under-resourced but held great potential. The Foundation has directed the majority of its grants to this work.
Trust for Learning
In 2011, the McCall Kulak Foundation became a founding partner of Trust for Learning, a collaborative fund made up of like-minded donors that focuses on advocating for ideal learning: child-centric, emotionally and intellectually engaging, structured and accountable for developing skills for life success. As convenor and donor, Trust for Learning works from the bottom up to promote and ensure viable choices for quality early learning programs that can be delivered with confidence. Trust for Learning partners include the McTeague Catalyst Fund, The Harold Simmons Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation and other philanthropic and thought leaders from the field of early childhood education. In December 2014, Trust for Learning was invited to participate in the White House Summit on Early Childhood Education as part of the Invest in Us Program. Please read further about this and more about Trust for Learning at www.trustforlearning.org.
In 2011 the Foundation convened a diverse and skilled group of leaders from the American and international Montessori movement, in order to learn more about this century-old education approach. What we learned was that while education policy makers have been grappling with how to improve and “re-organize” the existing education framework in this country, the Montessori method – one of the most far-reaching pedagogies in the world – has been very quietly engaging children in remarkably intuitive and common sense ways, providing them with precisely the 21st century skills that they need in order to thrive, innovate, and live fulfilling and productive lives.
The Foundation has since entered into a long-term national collaborative process and is supporting what has now become the Montessori Leaders Collaborative. By providing facilitated convening opportunities, strategic planning, and technical and capacity-building assistance, the Foundation is endeavoring to support this leadership group as they bring this proven, time-tested method to the wider public school sector, to policy makers, and most importantly to significantly more children in the United States. We invite you to learn more about the goals and the partners involved in the Montessori Leaders Collaborative.
The Best of Early Childhood Education
On the heels of groundbreaking research by Nobel Laureate Economist James Hackman, who has made an indisputable case for investment in early childhood education as a means to economic growth in the United States, the McCall Kulak Family Foundation has engaged with other foundations in a collaborative national effort to advance the high quality early childhood sector. While there are some funder collaboratives working on policy and other efforts critical to the field, this initiative focused on practice and implementation. The purpose of this initiative is to elevate the national conversation – amongst both providers and funders – regarding what quality practice looks like and to significantly expand access to what works and what achieves the best outcomes for children. To that end, this project is intended to assist quality early childhood providers to, individually and collectively:
- Articulate and share (from theory to implementation) their effective models.
- Develop an understanding of how to utilize existing high quality providers to expand quality programming that reaches more children.
- Discover commonalities and work collaboratively as a “community of practice” with their fellow high quality providers in the field, to leverage unified messages, best practices and implementation principles.
- Increase both choice and access to high quality early childhood experiences, particularly for the children across the country who need it most.
This work is being done in partnership with Trust for Learning, the Buffet Early Childhood Fund, the Stranahan Foundation, and others.