PHILANTHROPY: Grading The Givers (Fair's Fair)
All too often, educators feel like big foundations are rating education programs and approaches that the funders may or may not know a lot about -- without very much transparency or accountability for themselves. There are at least two sites that take some steps towards grading the givers, however: Charity Navigator and The Funded. (If there are more, let us know!). Click below to see how these two sites rate a big education funder, and what could (should) happen next.
You can find some basic information about New Schools Venture Fund from the Navigator here -- salaries, resources, and ratings for organizational efficiency. There's even a spot for reader comments (the one posted says that NSVF is funded by AEI, BTW). It's not particularly useful, far as I can tell, but it's a start.
You can also see the beginnings of a profile of NSVF at The Funded, a site designed to give entrepreneurs (or edupreneurs in this case) information about what funders are up to (here). The Funded rates and categorizes potential funders based on how much they give, how long they take to make decisions, etc. Registered users can review their experiences with potential funders, and compare offers that they've received.
Yes, I wrote about this last year (Transparency & Accountability...For Funders). No, things haven't changed a ton since then. But it's a great idea that should be expanded to include the nonprofit world. Not as a paranoid anti-privatization move, but as a way of helping great education ideas come to the surface and bringing increased transparency and accountability to education philanthropy. Plus it'd be fun.