The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (Hewlett) created the California Education Policy Fund (CEPF)1 in 2011. The CEPF was created at a time of budget crisis and limited policy opportunity within the California policymaking context. Administered by the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA) and its contractor Capitol Impact LLC (CI), the Fund was conceived of as a way to help preserve the ecosystem of education advocacy in California, defined as the set of players focused on state-level education policy and advocacy (e.g., advocacy organizations, research organizations, grassroots groups). The Fund was also designed to keep some attention and focus on key policy areas of interest, including standards, assessments and accountability policies, state education data systems, finance reform, etc.2 Within this context and set of goals, grant making was structured as general operating support to organizations that were selected through an open process. From 2011-2013, CEPF awarded grants to a total of 21 organizations (see Appendix A).
Since 2009, the context in California has shifted significantly, with California aligning around Common Core State Standards and providing greater opportunity for statewide uptake of Hewlett’s national Deeper Learning strategy3. As the context has changed, the focus and structure of the Fund has also evolved from supporting a broad ecosystem of policy actors in 2011-2012 to being Deeper Learning oriented in 2013-2014. This shift moved the Fund from a more general focus on policy and practice reform in California to a more directed focus on policy and practice reform aligned with Deeper Learning for the purpose of preparing students for college and career.