Private Foundations

Private foundations play a critical role in the achievement of GPE’s mission, providing funding and knowledge to address bottlenecks in education systems, engaging in global level advocacy, and creating networks to address key education sector challenges.

GPE provides a platform for establishing mutually reinforcing partnerships between private foundations and other partners, in particular governments of GPE partner countries.

The GPE Secretariat is engaging with a growing group of foundations. Private foundations can become a member of GPE’s private foundation constituency and actively participate in GPE-related processes at global, regional and country levels.

“What makes GPE’s partnership and funding approach different is that it is very intentional in promoting the principles of international aid effectiveness. With its emphasis on country ownership, alignment with national priorities, management for results, and mutual accountability, GPE really plays a role model in this regard. I believe also that GPE is adding a lot of value in many other aspects. It promotes inclusive policy dialogue. It levels the playing field between very different stakeholders that have very different soft powers. It generally shares knowledge and facilitates experience sharing.”

Sabina Vigani Country Director, Jacobs Foundation

The role of private foundations in GPE

Private foundations engage in GPE both at global and country levels. Their representatives on GPE’s Board and committees reach out to constituency members to consult on proposed decisions and policies and agree on input to GPE governance structures.

Foundations can play a crucial role in the achievement of GPE’s goals and objectives. They are uniquely placed within the donor community due to their close ties with local communities and civil society organizations, as well as their willingness to support innovation and experimental models.

The role of private foundations at country level

The role private foundations can play differs from context to context, depending on how private foundations and local education groups are organized.

By engaging within local education groups, foundations can integrate program expertise, knowledge and innovation in national policy dialogue and align their funding to sector plans and processes so they contribute to strengthened national education systems.

Private foundations accountabilities

Private foundations’ engagement in GPE is governed through the GPE Charter and GPE’s Private Foundations Engagement Strategy.

In 2019, GPE’s Board of Directors adopted an Accountability Matrix to clarify what is expected from different GPE stakeholders to enable the partnership to achieve its vision and goals.

Private foundations engagement in practice

There are various ways to find out how to connect with GPE processes in a specific country. These are listed in the white paper.

Access to local education groups usually depends on the conditions, arrangements and politics in each country. It can sometimes be difficult to find an effective path to engaging in the partnership at country level. Some foundations might not have a presence in country and if they do, they might lack the necessary capacity to ensure effective representation in local education groups.

The testimonial from the Jacobs Foundation below is a good example of how to engage with the local education group and the important role a foundation can play in country level partnership.

Linking with the GPE Secretariat, the government, the coordinating agency or with other private foundations could be a good way to get started.