Foundation launches effort to achieve CMS goals

Foundation For The Carolinas announced today the formation of a committee to explore the most effective and appropriate role for philanthropic giving to play in the community’s quest to achieve key school system goals.  “This effort is an extraordinary opportunity for the private sector to deepen its support for public education,” said Catherine Bessant, the Foundation’s Governing Board Chair and a senior Bank of America executive.

The committee will be known as the “CMS Investment Study Group,” and will be composed of 13 members representing family and corporate foundations, as well as community leaders with a passion for education.  The group will study existing models for philanthropic involvement in public education that have proven successful in other communities, and will make recommendations about the best way for private funders to assist and support Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in achieving goals tied to student performance and equity.

To work on this problem with private philanthropy is a farsighted and community-minded approach. All of us at CMS support this committee’s work and we’ll give committee members whatever they need in the way of information and context," said Dr. Peter C. Gorman, CMS School Superintendent. "Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are fortunate to have citizens who are willing to provide such leadership."

Anna Spangler Nelson, a representative of the C.D. Spangler Foundation, and Richard “Stick” Williams, President of the Duke Energy Foundation, will serve as the study group’s co-chairs.  

“Education has always been a priority for our family,” said Anna Spangler Nelson.  “The time is right for a more focused, better coordinated, and stronger effort on behalf of our public schools.  The community forums that CMS held throughout the summer made clear that student achievement and equity are our community’s top educational goals.  We are eager to help, and our work this fall will identify the best way to do so.” 

“The Charlotte business community has a long history of supporting public education,” added Richard “Stick” Williams.  “This study group will seek out the most effective way for philanthropic givers to invest in our schools to achieve our community’s top educational goals as defined by parents, Dr. Gorman, and the School Board.”

The Leon Levine Foundation, the family foundation of area philanthropists Sandra and Leon Levine, has signaled its readiness to partner with the CMS Investment Study Group.  Tom Lawrence, the executive director of the Leon Levine Foundation, who will serve as a Study Group member, said, “Donors who care about public education in our community have heard the call and they are coming together in hopes of pooling resources for maximum impact.” 

The CMS Investment Study Group will be supported in its efforts throughout the fall by Foundation For The Carolinas, which will supply facilitation and administrative support.  Key to the effort will be Dr. Gorman and members of his leadership team, who will provide advice and counsel to the group of philanthropists.  It is expected that the Study Group will additionally rely on educational experts and leading specialists from across the nation.  The group expects to meet throughout the fall and to make public its findings and recommendations at year’s end. 

About Foundation For The Carolinas:

Foundation For The Carolinas is a nonprofit community foundation serving donors and a broad range of charitable purposes in North and South Carolina. With assets of $780 million, the Foundation encourages and makes possible philanthropic giving by individuals of all means to benefit their communities. Visit www.fftc.org.