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Morgan Family Foundation to invest in Joint Venture Education Initiative

Philanthropists provide $150,000 in seed funds to establish “Silicon Valley Alliance for Teaching”


San Jose, California—The Morgan Family Foundation is making a $150,000 grant to Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network to serve as seed money for a new initiative called Silicon Valley Alliance for Teaching. The alliance, to be developed in partnership with the Offices of Education in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties, aims to enhance the recruitment and retention of outstanding teachers in the region’s public schools, with a particular focus on intensive professional development.

“An effort in the education arena is long overdue,” said Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture. “But because the issue is so enormous and so complex, the Joint Venture board was unwilling to move forward until we had identified a very specific piece of the puzzle we could impact in a meaningful way. We’ve found it—teacher development—and we’re delighted to have an angel investor for what we expect will be a long-term effort.”

“The state of our education system holds crucial importance for Silicon Valley, and people generally recognize this,” said Rebecca Morgan, president of the Morgan Family Foundation. “But what’s been missing is a specific focus on teachers, and our region’s ability to keep outstanding educators in the classroom. When we saw Joint Venture identify this as a new priority we were ready to help.”

Hancock further explained: “For the most part the debate about our school woes is focused on other things—plant and equipment, classroom size, funding, vouchers, charter schools, and the like. Lost in all this is the number one variable, the thing most directly linked to student outcomes, and that is the quality of the teaching.”

Stanford University Professor Linda Darling-Hammond praised Joint Venture’s focus on professional development. Considered a national expert on teacher training, Darling-Hammond served as an advisor during Joint Venture’s exploratory investigation.

“The literature shows that teachers don’t hit their stride until their third or fourth year on the job. But in Silicon Valley teachers don’t last four years,” Darling-Hammond said. “The reasons, somewhat surprisingly, go much deeper than teacher pay. They have more to do with feelings of personal growth and efficacy.” Joint Venture will immediately begin the organizational work on the Silicon Valley Alliance for Teaching, and plans to officially launch the program in the second half of 2008.

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About Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network
Established in 1993, Joint Venture: Silicon Valley Network provides analysis and action on issues affecting our region's economy and quality of life. The organization brings together established and emerging leaders — from business, government, academia, labor and the broader community — to spotlight issues and work toward innovative solutions. For more information visit www.jointventure.org.

About the Morgan Family Foundation
The Morgan Foundation is a private family foundation established in 1993. The Foundation focuses its giving on youth, education, environment, and stewardship. For more information visit www.morganfamilyfoundation.org.

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