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Area philanthropists’ efforts should not be tarnished in debate over education policy

Re “Donors behind charter push keep to the shadows” (Page A1, Aug. 20): The implication that Strategic Grant Partners is tied to so-called dark money is unfounded and poorly reflects the philanthropic work of our dedicated funders, who have historically played such an important role in the Commonwealth.

Strategic Grant Partners is a group of 15 families and foundations who came together in 2003 to do shared philanthropy, making grants in child welfare, education, and early childhood and youth development, with the mission to help underserved children and families in our state. We have longstanding roots in Massachusetts, live and work here, and care deeply about the state’s future growth and prosperity.

Education is the doorway to equal opportunity and self-sufficiency, and the unfortunate reality is our schools are fraught with serious inequities. We and other like-minded philanthropists have a long history here in the Commonwealth funding a variety of issues, including supporting district schools and public charter schools. In fact, our grant-making to initiatives that support district schools far outweighs our funding to charter schools.


The idea that Strategic Grant Partners’ giving is tied to “dark money” is outrageous. We only give to 501(c)(3) organizations, and our grant agreements preclude our grants being used for any legislative or electoral purposes. While we can — and should — conduct a healthy debate about the future of education, we need to make sure that the Greater Boston philanthropic community is not demonized in the process. Furthermore, any assertion that philanthropists garner personal gain with their giving is groundless. Our partners, solely out of basic decency, seek to provide a leg up to others who have not had the same opportunities.

Joanna Jacobson

Managing partner
Strategic Grant Partners