Foundation Initiated Research
A major component of the foundation’s strategy is supporting research. Click on the links below to read recent foundation-initiated research.
Dollars for Degrees
In 2009, Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) engaged FSG Social Impact Advisors to examine how scholarship funders, including GTF, could design their programs to improve post-secondary persistence and completion, in addition to improving access. Forward-looking scholarship funders have an opportunity to structure and target their post-secondary scholarships so that they enable student success.
Texas Regional Action Plan
In 2010, Greater Texas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Houston Endowment, and The Meadows Foundation engaged FSG Social Impact Advisors to identify and research historically underserved regions in Texas where targeted postsecondary completion efforts could be most impactful. To learn more, read the Texas Regional Action Plan.
A Study of Dual Credit Access and Effectiveness in the State of Texas (For a printable version, click here.)
In 2010, with the support of Greater Texas Foundation (GTF), the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University initiated a study of dual credit opportunities in the state of Texas. Through a Capstone course directed by Prof. Jeryl L. Mumpower, Director of the Master of Public Service and Administration Program, this group was charged with analyzing and presenting data related to both the degree of access to dual credit resources throughout Texas, as well as the effectiveness of dual credit opportunities by type. Greater Texas Foundation further charged the Capstone group with examining the dual credit opportunities for minority, low-income, and rural populations. Throughout a year-long course of study, the Capstone team worked to collect data regarding these issues.
In 2009, Greater Texas Foundation underwent a six-month strategic planning process under the guidance of FSG Social Impact Advisors, in which the foundation examined current and projected educational needs in Texas and how the foundation’s efforts might be best aligned to address those needs. We learned a great deal about the challenges Texas students face on the road to post-secondary completion and how we can focus our efforts to help students overcome these challenges.
The resulting strategic plan is not a departure, but an evolution, from where the foundation began. Staying true to its history, the foundation is committed to improving educational outcomes for Texas students. To have a greater impact on the tough and persistent challenges facing education in Texas, we made a shift toward being more focused in our funding. As outlined in the documents below, we allocate a significant portion of our grants to efforts that focus on pressing education needs related to post-secondary preparation, access, persistence, and completion. Within that, a key component of the strategy aims to improve math education, with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of students who are prepared to succeed at the post-secondary level. In addition, we focus strongly on convening partners to exercise leadership in education and work toward specific, common goals.
Through its philanthropy, the foundation intends to impact students across the state of Texas and has a strong desire to focus on measurable, research-based, and outcomes-driven work. The foundation also wishes to capitalize on its strength in partnering with other organizations, including other funders, governmental agencies, and educational institutions. By following our strategic plan, we aim to bring greater clarity and coherence to Greater Texas Foundation’s philanthropy, with the goal of creating greater impact on the educational success of Texas students.
Research Brief: As part of our process, FSG Social Impact Advisors conducted extensive secondary research. This document addresses areas relevant to the foundation as well as provides the rationale and reasoning behind our final decisions.
Summary Slides: This document is a summary of the recently board-adopted strategic plan and provides a high level overview of the foundation’s future strategic direction.
**Expanded Research Brief: While this document has many similarities to the one above, the scope is wider and contains interesting and important information not directly related to strategic areas pursued by Greater Texas Foundation.
**THECB 1995 7th Grade Cohort Data: This chart by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, which summarizes from 2006 the educational progress of Texas students who were 7th graders in 1995, was key to our strategic planning research. For example, as described in detail in the research brief and summary slides, the 1995 7th grade cohort data indicates only one in five Texas youth who entered high school completed a post-secondary degree or credential. Additionally, of the 126,000 students who enrolled in post-secondary education, 74,000 did not earn a degree or credential.
Texas Regional Action Plan
In 2010, Greater Texas Foundation, Communities Foundation of Texas, Houston Endowment, and The Meadows Foundation engaged FSG Social Impact Advisors to identify and research historically underserved regions in Texas where targeted postsecondary completion efforts could be most impactful. The regions were identified based on several factors, e.g. postsecondary completion data and number of students receiving Pell grants. Drawing upon FSG’s work, several state and national stakeholders are engaging in ongoing discussions about their interest in the development of a regionally-structured public-private partnership focused on improving postsecondary outcomes for students in the following regions: Central Texas, El Paso, Gulf Coast, Metroplex and South Texas.
We are pleased to share the final materials FSG developed for this work. Click on the links below for an overview of the Texas landscape and for region-specific summaries. The overview of the Texas landscape includes a summary of the Texas higher education landscape and opportunities, a plan for improving postsecondary outcomes through collective impact, and a description of the need for a statewide and regional approach. Under each region are two summaries at varying levels of detail: a short summary of 8-10 slides with regional data and synthesis of findings and a full-length summary of 20+ slides including all regional data and detailed findings.
TEXAS REGIONAL ACTION PLAN DOCUMENTS
Full Length State Findings
Dollars for Degrees
College scholarships have long played an important role in ensuring access to post-secondary education in the U.S. However, we are now as a nation increasingly recognizing the imperative of focusing on post-secondary persistence and completion as well. An example of why this shift in focus has come about can be seen in data from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board which tracked the cohort of students who were 9th graders in 1997. Of those 250,000 students, thirty percent enrolled in post-secondary education and did not complete a credential within six years compared to twenty-nine percent who did not graduate from high school. In absolute terms, seventy-five thousand students who graduated high school and enrolled in college left empty-handed. In response to this issue, Greater Texas Foundation (GTF) engaged FSG Social Impact Advisors to examine how scholarship funders, including GTF, could design their programs to improve post-secondary persistence and completion, in addition to improving access. Forward-looking scholarship funders have an opportunity to structure and target their post-secondary scholarships so that they enable student success.
Full reports are listed below:
What We’re Reading
Click on the links below to see what we’re reading.
Complete College Texas (Complete College America)
Taking College Courses in High School: A Strategy for College Readiness (Jobs for the Future)
Cornerstones of Completion:
State Policy Support for Accelerated, Structured Pathways to College Credentials and Transfer (Jobs for the Future)
Rethinking Remedial Education: The Role of MSIs in Serving Underprepared Students in the 21st Century
A policy brief from the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) on work by institutions from the Lumina MSI-Models of Success program to better serve students in need of remedial education.
Broadening the Benefits of Dual Enrollment:
Reaching Underachieving and Underrepresented Students with Career-Focused Programs (Community College Research Center)
Keeping the Promise of Opportunity:
Redesigning Financial Aid to Support Post-Secondary Completion Among Low-Income Young Adults (FSG Social Impact Consultants)
Remediation: Higher Education’s Bridge to Nowhere (Complete College America)
Each quarter, we compile an annotated bibliography of recently released reports related to the foundation’s strategy.