Policy Workgroup

PWG Goals

The Policy Working Group (PWG) is a collaboration of funders that seeks to align their strategies and coordinate investments to maximize their impact on policy that will advance equitable learning environments for all students, particularly students who have been most marginalized in the education system. The PWG views equity as both a process and an outcome, which is achieved when each child receives an education that provides them with culturally-affirming and academically rigorous experiences and that prepares them for success in learning, work, citizenship, and life.

Through supporting grantees at the national and the state/local levels and fostering bi-directional connectivity, the GTY PWG seeks to advance equitable learning environments that are: 

Designed to support and foster development of the whole child, including students’ social, emotional, cognitive and academic learning and development, identity development, and physical and psychological health and wellness. 

Rich with developmental relationships and experiences for students and adults that are student centered, asset-based, affirming of racial, ethnic and cultural identifies, and designed to maximize learning, growth, and leadership for each young person.

Informed by the science of learning and development.  

Photos credit: All4Ed.org / license


  • Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (co-chair)*
  • Lefkofsky Family Foundation* 
  • The Philanthropic Collaborative for Education (formerly National Public Education Support Fund)
  • Raikes Foundation (co-chair)*
  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation*
  • Wend Collective*
  • William and Flora Hewlett Foundation 
  • Harmony SEL at National University

*Steering Committee member 


Grantees of the PWG (past and current) include: 

Our Commitments

We are guided in our collaboration and grantmaking by the following commitments: 

Equity-Centered Systems Change

Support communities, advocates, and policy makers to articulate a nonpartisan, broadly shared, and unifying vision and identify universal goals and targeted strategies for those furthest from opportunity in order to build just education systems

Transform Power

Support efforts that distribute leadership, center the voices and experiences of students, families and others closest to the work, and consciously redistribute power


Support efforts that invite, engage and design solutions, and co-produce knowledge in partnership with students, teachers, families, communities and field leaders and with input from across the political spectrum to increase potential for bipartisan support

Bias to Action and Continuous Learning

Support strategies for action and that are designed to shift systems in the pursuit of reliably producing healthy and equitable outcomes in recognition that inequity is a complex problem with few technical solutions

Contribute to a Healthy Field

Support more connectivity, collaboration, learning, and thriving in the whole child equity policy and advocacy field, including bridging between progressive and conservative perspectives

Our Accomplishments

Since its inception, the PWG has had many accomplishments on the federal/national level and state and local levels.  Here are some examples:  

  • Supporting collaboration for an aligned whole child and equity agenda:  Early in the COVID-19 crisis, the GTY PWG  recognized that federal policy making would be important to recovery and reinvention regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, but particularly if the Democrats won the presidency and congress.  We funded the Rapid Response Desk for Equity (RRD) to urge policy makers to center whole child equity in their policy responses to COVID-19.  The partners include influential education equity advocacy groups, civil rights groups and advocates focused on the needs of targeted populations (ie. homeless students, BIPOC students, students with disabilities, English language learners).  The RRD’s efforts build capacity and facilitate collaboration to provide the policy and advocacy muscle needed to focus federal policymaking on equity and support state and local advocates to do the same.  
  • Supporting Governors in their whole child and equity agendas:  Through a grant to the National Governors Association (NGA), the PWG is supporting technical assistance and grant support to a cohort of six states for strategies to equitably meet the social-emotional needs of students and families during and beyond the pandemic. 
  • Meaningfully elevating student voices:  Through grants to Californians For Justice, the NACA Inspired Schools Network, and the New Mexico DreamTeam, the PWG is supporting models for authentic engagement with young people to drive policy at the school, district, and state levels.

More Information

The PWG is facilitated by EdCounsel. Grantmakers interested in joining should contact: Cathy Holahan or Nathan Woods.

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