Foundations recognized that their efficacy depended upon collaboration with state and local officials, as well as local black educators. They developed a unique reform dynamic in North Carolina and in Mississippi through forms of interstitial collaboration that filled gaps in each state’s education policy and practice. Rural blacks participated in that dynamic, more directly and formally in North Carolina and more covertly in Mississippi. Education was a flash point in the quest for civil rights between 1900 and 1940 and schooling was an important site for community organization. Local participation was an essential component of foundation efficacy. The beginning of the 21st Century has similarly seen substantial sums of money contributed to shaping the future of schooling and education systems could gain from harnessing those resources. Contemporary foundations also have the power to promote extensive collaboration among reformers, teacher unions, business organizations, and state and local actors to generate support for reform. While the focus is shifting to the national level, philanthropists might find it helpful to draw on the experiences of early 20th Century foundations, whose efficacy depended upon collaboration at every level of governance.
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