The world is a different place today. In the past few months, we found ourselves reflecting not only on our 2019 highlights but also considering the scale of change experienced over this past year by the CDE Foundation team and the communities we serve across the state of California. In less than a year, we welcomed a new CEO, four new staff members and several additional board members, and saw substantial growth in our program areas. Through these shifts we have remained consistent in our commitment to collaborative partnerships. Our team has rolled up our sleeves to confront systemic inequities with innovative solutions, creating spaces where our shared learning can transform into enhanced capacity for good.

In 2019 our capacity building programs engaged stakeholders representing 60% of County Offices of Education and 25% of California school districts, drawing from our state’s varied demographics to bring a diversity of contexts and perspectives. Many of these stakeholders were engaged across multiple program areas, such as labor-management collaboration, STEAM initiatives, teacher residency partnerships, and other system-level impact strategies. Each program presents a unique opportunity for us all to push our education system to evolve more rapidly in service of a more equitable future.

In addition to the many valued partners seen on page 16, we extend a special thank you to our closest collaborator, the California Department of Education (CDE). As a fiscal sponsor for CDE, we managed $1.2 million, providing means for private funds to invest directly in a public education system that serves nearly 6.2 million students. State Superintendent Tony Thurmond and his team have set forward a bold vision, and we are honored to partner with them.

We now have an unprecedented opportunity to serve California students and educators in response to the COVID-19 global pandemic by ensuring equity of access to distance learning through the California Bridging the Digital Divide Fund. We also have a responsibility to address structural racism in the education system, engage in ongoing learning and listening as an organization, and concentrate our effort in direct support of Black student success. Now more than ever, necessity is the mother of invention – and she is challenging us to bring our most creative and generous selves to our work. We are proud of the CDE Foundation team and grateful to our funders and partners for tackling tough challenges head-on with flexibility, empathy, and resilience. In the months ahead, we will continue adapting programs, addressing new needs, and adjusting to the realities of a world forever changed.

~ Jessica Howard, CEO & Jennifer Peck, Board Chair