The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the most prestigious and generous charitable organizations in the world. One of this organization’s highest priorities is the facilitation of improved educational opportunities all over the country. One means by which it accomplishes this goal is through a variety of “Bill Gates educational grants,” as they are casually known, to major educational organizations. These are several of the most prominent.
In September of 2011, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $8.8 million over three years to 12 school districts in Kentucky. This donation was known as the “Integration Grant.” It was designed to help teachers in these school districts implement new tools and resources to boost their effectiveness, as well as to help the districts adapt to new state test standards and recurring gauges of teaching quality and effectiveness. School districts in Louisiana and Colorado also received similar Integration Grants.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated more than $3.3 million in April 2011 over the course of just over two years to Achieving the Dream, Inc. The primary goal of this grant, in general terms, was to help Maryland-based Achieving the Dream, Inc. – also known as AtD – become a more independent and self-sufficient organization. AtD’s mission is to help increase students’ chances for success in community college and beyond.
Four different community colleges in the state of Texas, including the Houston Community College, shared a $3.3 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help increase the odds that minority students and those from low-income backgrounds will be able to complete their educations. The grant is designed to do so by implementing and expanding a variety of remedial education programs that can help target the issue.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a regular supporter of Jobs for the Future. This organization exists to deal with a variety of different issues and potential problems related to both education and careers. For example, it supports community colleges and their students; it attempts to reduce the number of high school students dropping out before graduating; it provides continuing education opportunities for adults with full-time jobs; and it attempts to reduce unfairness related to race and economic background in terms of achievement and compensation in the workplace.
The Grand Challenges Explorations Grant is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Winners of this grant receive $100,000 initially, and potentially $1 million more later. Typical winners of the grant are research centers striving to better the human condition; for example, a recent winner was the LIMR Chemical Genomics Center Inc. at the Lankenau Institute for Medical Research in Wynnewood, Penn. This organization is working to develop new drug combinations that can more effectively treat malaria – especially strains that have proven resistant to traditional treatments.
The Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession is located in Washington State, which is where the headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are located. The foundation funds the Center; its goals are to help develop high-quality teachers at all educational levels, which in turn boosts the potential of the students impacted by these teachers. The center accomplishes this goal via research contributions to the development process of new policies and regulations that impact the teaching profession, as well as by facilitating improved communication about and education for the teaching profession.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also funds the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education. Specifically, the Foundation funded the 2010 Big Ideas Fest, which was put on by the Institute. The goal of the Big Ideas Fest was to bring many different experts in all different fields impacting students together, hoping that they could develop new policies and improve existing policies that impact student needs and achievement. For example, the Fest has been used to create new techniques for helping teachers aid student learning in all different settings, include those outside the classroom.