May 1, 2007
This FSG white paper, released in May 2007 and sponsored by Ernst and Young LLP, provides a critical assessment of opportunities for corporations to help transform the U.S. public education system through innovative corporate philanthropy. Based on six months of research and dozens of interviews with corporate philanthropy leaders, education nonprofit executives and educators, the paper maps the myriad of opportunities available for corporations to engage in education reform and details a range of lessons learned. In addition, it includes a call to action for corporations to raise their own expectations of corporate philanthropy in education to adopt systemic thinking, replicate and scale effective initiatives, and take collective action. By any measure, the U.S. education system faces daunting challenges. Among developed countries, the U.S. ranks 20th out of 28 in math scores, and a shockingly high number of students don't finish high school. However, the situation is far from hopeless. In fact, some leading corporations have decades of experience helping to turn around the most intractable problems in education. They have recognized that to remain competitive in today's global economy, schools must produce graduates who are prepared for the 21st century workforce.