Philanthropic Due Diligence: Exploratory Case Studies to Improve Investments in Urban Schools

Center on Reinventing Public Education



Case Study Sector


Many foundations have put funds into urban school reform. It seems clear that philanthropies are now re-assessing their strategies, looking under the hood and kicking the tires before they invest, and even demanding changes in governance and management as a condition to grantmaking. This paper proposes “Exploratory Case Studies” as a tool to improve philanthropic giving. It suggests that case studies can help funders target resources on districts with the greatest need while finding a better fit with beneficiary districts.
The paper examines the Annie E. Casey Foundation's exploratory case studies of San Diego and Denver. An appendix delves further into the San Diego case.



  • Strategy


  • Northern America

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