The mission of the Philadelphia Education Fund is to improve the quality of public education in Philadelphia and the region, so that youth are prepared for college and careers.
The Philadelphia Education Fund works with school districts and partners, including businesses, universities and non-profit organizations, as well as community stakeholders to:
- Increase the number of public secondary schools (grades 6 – 12) that are high performing;
- Increase the number of public school students who access postsecondary education and persist to completion;
- Position the Philadelphia region as central to state and national dialogues about improving public education.
The roots of the Philadelphia Education Fund can be traced to 1985, when the city's business, foundation, and university communities created the Philadelphia Alliance for Teaching Humanities in the Schools (PATHS)/Philadelphia Renaissance in Science and Mathematics (PRISM). PATHS/PRISM worked in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia to increase access and rigor to humanities and science/math education for K–12 students. During the same period, the Philadelphia Schools Collaborative (the Collaborative) was created by the District to focus on high school reform.
In a strategic decision to unify two organizations working toward similar goals, PATHS/PRISM and the Collaborative merged in 1995 to form the Philadelphia Education Fund. The result of this merger is a single, stronger entity that joined the national Public Education Network and occupies a significant role in Philadelphia schools and the surrounding region.
The Philadelphia Education Fund is an independent nonprofit organization that fulfills its mission of providing quality public education through funding provided by private donors, foundations, corporations, and public sources. It is called a “fund” because it is a local education fund (LEF) member of the national Public Education Network (PEN) — an association of 81 LEFs across the country. PEN's mission is to build public demand and mobilize resources for quality public education for all children through a national constituency of individuals and local education funds.
Throughout our history, we have developed a particular expertise in preparing teachers for successful careers in the School District of Philadelphia. Over the last eight years specifically, our programs have provided some 3,000 teachers with the opportunity to gain teacher certification through alternative routes to teaching programs for K–3 and middle- and high-school classrooms. We have also worked with the District to enhance the pool of new teacher candidates.
In addition to providing educators with direct programs and resources, we are also actively working as an agent of change behind the scenes by partnering with the School District to improve policy and practice leading to improved teaching and learning in the classroom.