In 2015, College Futures Foundation brought together seven community foundations, centering the goal of transitioning traditional, merit-based scholarship programs to a more strategic, need-based approach. College Futures envisioned this transition as a vehicle to improve college completion rates for low-income, first generation students, seeking to enhance the community foundations’ capacity to increase college attainment. To support this goal, the Gardner Center supported each foundation to use a set of processes and tools that built their capacity to undertake improvement efforts within their own institutions, and to use this capacity to engage their community partners in collective inquiry. The foundations used contextual knowledge and collective inquiry to design, implement, and improve their strategic, need-based scholarship programs internally, and in conjunction with partners.
These materials, prepared for the 2020 Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education, highlight our work alongside the efforts of two community foundations: Kern Community Foundation and the California Community Foundation.