Follow the Money: Gates Giving for Its Teacher Agenda

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The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, whose priorities include global health and U.S. education, has made initiatives focused on teacher quality a key dimension of its recent grantmaking strategy.

The Big Picture

Total Amount Spent: $2 Billion Since 2008

More than one-third of the Gates Foundation's education spending since 2008 has been dedicated to its teaching agenda.

*Note: Numbers may not add up due to rounding.

Number of Grants Funded: Breakdown of Teacher-Related Spending

*Click on number to view detailed list

  • 67 Grants Total: $78,938,413

    1. Professional development: Supplies aid for improved teacher professional development and related tools, as well as to help teachers network and share best practices
  • 63 Grants Total: $122,665,467

    2. Capacity-building: Supports districts, states, and others in developing teacher evaluation systems, and helps build capacity for other teacher-quality initiatives
  • 53 Grants Total: $50,014,034

    3. Research: Funds research on effective teaching, including the Measures of Effective Teaching research project and related work products
  • 49 Grants Total: $50,710,139

    4. Education/advocacy: Provides grants to educate communities, engage the public on Gates-funded teacher work, and build support for teacher initiatives
  • 20 Grants Total: $37,958,606

    5. Teacher preparation: Aids traditional and alternative programs that prepare teachers or groups engaging in advocacy around teacher preparation
  • 16 Grants Total: $20,725,979

    6. Unions: Funds teachers' union projects, including work on teacher evaluation and the common core
  • 12 Grants Total: $281,193,218

    7. Intensive partnerships: Supports four "Intensive Partnerships for Effective Teaching" sites, including Hillsborough County, Fla., Memphis, Tenn., and Pittsburgh
  • 9 Grants Total: $23,611,556

    8. Charter-district collaboration: Encourages districts and charter schools to share best practices, including for teacher effectiveness
  • 8 Grants Total: $21,570,250

    9. Teacher voice: Supports groups that help teachers have a voice in policy, such as Educators 4 Excellence and Teach Plus
  • 7 Grants Total: $8,198,912

    10. Data systems: Aids states and districts in the collection of linked student/teacher data
  • 2 Grants Total: $1,052,505

    11. Media: Aids the journal Education Next in covering teacher effectiveness, charter schools, digital learning, and common standards and assessments

Top Beneficiaries

Four of the five biggest recipients of Gates Foundation aid for teacher-quality initiatives participated in its "intensive partnership" grants, which support changes to teacher hiring, evaluation, and pay. Denver used its cash for similar purposes.

Beneficiaries Receiving More than $10 million in Total

List of Beneficiaries

The Gates Foundation has funded grants to over 100 entities. Choose from this list to see details for each recorded beneficiary:

The Gates Foundation has provided grant support to Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week. The newspaper retains sole editorial control over coverage. See disclosure.


Since 2005, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded more than $7 million in grants to Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit corporation that publishes Education Week.

That total includes a current grant of $2 million over 25 months to support the development of new content and services related to the education industry and innovation in K-12 education.

Also, the Gates Foundation provided a $2.6 million grant over 40 months, starting in 2009, to underwrite a range of efforts to support EPE's editorial and business-development capacity.

The first grant from Gates to EPE, $2.5 million over four years, underwrote the Education Week Diplomas Count report, as well as original research on high school graduation rates, and related activities.

Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of its coverage under the Gates grants.

Besides the grant support, the Gates Foundation in 2005 provided a $100,000 contract to EPE. Under the arrangement, the EPE Research Center conducted a pilot project on the feasibility of providing research support to the foundation.

SOURCES: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Education Week

Reporting & Analysis: Stephen Sawchuk (@Stephen_Sawchuk) , Michele McNeil (@michelemcneil) , Alyssa Morones , Holly Peele
Design & Visualization: Chienyi Cheri Hung (@cyhung) , Sumita Bannerjee

Vol. 33, Issue 11

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