Issue 19| June 2018
Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium
June 2018 Newsletter
Dear Friends,

It has been a flurry of activity over the last several months and we have lots of updates for you! We are busy at work identifying our research and advocacy partners for each issue area and are currently narrowing the scope of work for each of our four policy work groups. There will be lots more information on these work groups coming soon.

TEGAC's School Finance Policy Work Group is shaping up to be one of the most important and impactful work groups in the Consortium's history. We've pulled together a diverse array of partners, led by philanthropy and business, who are joining forces to deliver our school finance messages to the Capitol. Also, this spring, the Consortium generated a lot of buzz with the release of results from its school finance poll that evaluated Texas voters' appetite for school finance reform. Several news sources picked up the story, and op-eds on the importance of money in education quickly followed. TEGAC Leadership Committee Chair, Dr. Wynn Rosser, wrote an op-ed published by the Austin American Statesman, and former House Education Committee Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock wrote an op-ed published in the Texas Tribune's TribTalk . Read more about the polling data below.

TEGAC is also wrapping up a very busy and successful fundraising season. The Consortium set lofty fundraising goals for our policy work groups in 2018, and we have had tremendous success in reaching these goals. Thank you to all of our members who are supporting one or more of the 2018-2019 work groups!

The Consortium continues to respond to requests to share our model and research throughout the state. TEGAC staff recently presented at the Texas Education Foundations Network (TEFN) conference in Austin hosted by TEGAC member, Texas Pioneer Foundation, as well as the Central Texas Education Funders event with Central Texas area superintendents. We also presented at the Momentum Conference in Fort Worth with our grantee partner, Texans Care for Children, to talk about the importance of early childhood education advocacy. This conference brought together early childhood advocates from at least 20 Texas cities.

This summer "District Days" will kick off once again. TEGAC members will begin scheduling meetings with legislators in their home districts to familiarize lawmakers with the contributions of philanthropy in their communities, the goals of the Consortium, and to ensure policymakers view TEGAC as a resource on important public education issues. These District Days will take place throughout the summer and fall, so please be on the lookout for more information soon!

We continue to grow our ranks, adding four new members to the Consortium in 2018! Please welcome the Sooch Foundation (Austin), the Leland Fikes Foundation (Dallas), LSG Charitable Foundation (Austin), and W.C. Payne Foundation (Dallas). We are thrilled to have them join this distinctive group of grantmakers from around the state.

Finally, we regretfully announce that our friend and TEGAC advocacy consultant, Michelle Smith, will be leaving her role at TEGAC to take a job heading up legislative affairs for TEGAC member, Raise Your Hand Texas. Please join me in wishing Michelle a big congratulations on her new position!

As always, thank you for your interest and participation in TEGAC. We simply couldn't do this work without you.
Welcome New Members!
We are thrilled to be partnering with four new TEGAC members: the Leland Fikes Foundation, LSG Charitable Foundation, the Sooch Foundation and W.C. Payne Foundation. This brings our total membership to 47 foundations from across Texas! We look forward to working with these new foundations toward our shared goal of protecting and improving public education in Texas.
TEGAC Releases Polling Data Showing Support for Increasing State Funding of Texas Public Schools
In March, TEGAC released a voter survey conducted by Baselice & Associates, Inc. showing broad, bipartisan support for increasing state funding of Texas public schools. TEGAC released the polling data in a press conference ahead of the School Finance Commission’s public hearing in Austin on March 19.

The Baselice & Associates poll found:

❏ 71 percent favor increasing the state share in order to provide property tax relief.

❏ 68 percent of Texans favor increasing the state’s share of public education dollars from the current 38 percent to 50 percent.

❏ 86 percent of Texans favor a requirement that local education tax dollars sent to the state must be used for public education, and not used to fill other budget shortfalls or fund other programs.

You can find the press release online here and you can find several stories covering the polling data in Austin American Statesman and Spectrum News . See a video of the press conference below.
TEGAC's Regional School Finance Convenings
TEGAC has been collaborating with a variety of partners to host regional school finance symposiums across Texas. The symposiums are meant to encourage the business community’s engagement in public education advocacy to drive meaningful change in school finance reform.

The Consortium is focusing on hosting events in five key cities (Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston) with other smaller cities to follow. TEGAC co-hosted its first meeting in Dallas with the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce in March.
We held our second one in Austin in April, along with our co-sponsors United Ways of Texas, United Way for Greater Austin, Texas Association of Business, Austin Community Foundation, and the Austin Chamber of Commerce.

At these events we have had an amazing turnout of representatives from the business, education and philanthropy communities. The convenings have received tremendous media coverage, including coverage in the Dallas Morning News , Dallas Business Journal , Spectrum News , Austin American-Statesman , and more .
TEGAC co-hosted its third regional school finance convening in San Antonio on June 7. The luncheon was co-hosted by TEGAC member, the San Antonio Area Foundation, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, and attracted 250 business and education leaders from the San Antonio region. The event was moderated by Bob Rivard and covered by the Rivard Report .

TEGAC will continue to host at least three additional school finance convenings in the fall, including Houston, Fort Worth, and Amarillo.

Please help us amplify the buzz TEGAC is generating in the school finance discussion. Here’s how you can help:

Follow TEGAC on Twitter for additional content you can share across your networks.

Whenever you Tweet about school finance, please be sure you use #txlege #txed and/or #txedstrong in your Tweets!
Texas Tribune Discussion on School Finance Commission

On May 4, 2018, the Texas Tribune held a conversation on school finance with state Rep. Dan Huberty (R-Houston), state Rep. Diego Bernal (D-San Antonio), Todd Williams (businessman and education advocate from Dallas) , and Nicole Conley Johnson (Austin Independent School District's chief financial officer) - all members of the Texas Commission on Public School Finance. TEGAC was one of several sponsors for the event.

Members on the panel expressed optimism that the School Finance Commission will present something to lawmakers but what that will look like, and if lawmakers will want do anything with the information, remains a question.
TEGAC 2018 Members Meetings
On April 6, TEGAC held its Spring Members Meeting at the Austin Club. We had a great mix of discussions around the Texas Education Agency's strategic priorities, education public policy issues, and Texas politics with speakers such as TEA Commissioner Mike Morath, Representative Donna Howard, Representative Drew Darby, former Chairman Jimmie Don Aycock, and Evan Smith of the Texas Tribune. We also heard from several of our researchers and advocacy partners about the work they are gearing up for around each of our four policy issues as we move closer to the 2019 session.
TEGAC will hold its Fall Members Meeting on Wednesday, September 19th at the Sheraton Austin Hotel in Austin. 
We will be joined by a series of education experts and Texas policymakers to discuss the most important topics leading to the 86th Texas Legislative Session. You can register below. You won't want to miss this!

District Days
Every legislative interim year, TEGAC members meet with legislators in their districts. District days -- the time when our representatives are back in their home districts -- present a great opportunity to get to know elected officials and to help them understand the important contributions of Texas philanthropy and the work of TEGAC.

TEGAC's District Days offer our foundation partners the chance to discuss critical public education policy issues with lawmakers and educate their legislators about the important contributions of philanthropy in their communities. They also help to strengthen relationships with elected officials and their staff who may not be very familiar with the work of TEGAC. District Days will kick off this summer and continue throughout the fall. 
About Texas Education Grantmakers Advocacy Consortium
In 2011 the Texas Legislature approved historic cuts to funding for public education. Foundations across Texas have seen successful public/private partnerships threatened or eliminated by budget cuts. Also, demand for scarce foundation dollars is increasing as community groups see their revenues eliminated from school district budgets.
In response, a geographically and politically diverse consortium group of foundations is joining together to promote, protect and improve public education. The Consortium is designed to be a forum and serve as a focal point for organizing philanthropic efforts. In some cases the Consortium seeks to pool funds from multiple foundations to increase the impact of its advocacy efforts. The Consortium is partnering with policymakers, the media, the business community, academics, advocates, parents and others to ensure the broadest dissemination of its work.
Foundations with all levels of interest and experience in advocacy grantmaking are welcome to participate. Because every foundation is different and the needs of the Consortium are so diverse, there is a place for every foundation in the Consortium.  
To learn more, go to
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