Our Projects


Launching and Facilitating a Funder Collaborative to Help Youth Thrive


The Challenge

Grantmakers for Thriving Youth (GTY) is a funders’ forum advancing a comprehensive approach to learning and development that will enable all young people to acquire the skills and capacities needed for success in learning, work, citizenship, and life. Led by funders investing in social and emotional learning and recognizing the significant challenges to its advancement, GTY seeks to share knowledge, facilitate connections, and catalyze collaboration between its member funders and the larger community of interested grantmakers.

GTY selected The Learning Agenda to expertly facilitate the 16-member steering committee, establish and maintain connection with a larger, growing body of funders interested in SEL, and identify areas for strategic collaboration.

The Learning Agenda Approach

In the first year of the collaborative, TLA planned and implemented a number of learning events and other activities to increase the knowledge and effectiveness of GTY members, and to reach and engage a broader group of funders interested in SEL. A sampling of activities included:

  • steering committee meetings to address problems of practice and offer opportunities for in-depth conversations with field experts, such as 2013 MacArthur Fellow Angela Duckworth and author Paul Tough;

  • Grantmakers for Education pre-conference session on Embracing the Whole Child, with a focused agenda and a slate of diverse experts to discuss human development, birth through adolescence, and how SEL supports development and cognition;

  • interviewing grantees in common to understand the challenges they are facing as field demand grows;

  • mapping foundation strategies and investments to understand where investments are concentrated and lacking, and open discussion on ways to be better strategic partners;

  • branding, development and distribution of a website and monthly e-newsletter to share research, events and projects with the larger group of SEL-interested funders; and

  • ongoing communications to facilitate in-depth information sharing among GTY member foundations.

The Results

GTY is an active forum for discussion, learning and resource-sharing among its member funders. Members of the collaborative have access to better quality and more up-to-date information about peer-investments in SEL, and a ready-made group of thought partners on strategic opportunities for investments in the field.

The collaborative has surfaced new knowledge important to the growth of the field – in areas such as building the capacity of adults to support SEL practices, scaling effective approaches, strategic communications and measuring outcomes – and is making this information broadly available to similarly interested organizations. By increasing the flow of information, the collaborative is building the field to help more youth thrive.

In Their Own Words

“As a relatively modest, place-based funder, GTY has given us a tremendous opportunity to engage with and learn from funders carrying out similar work. It has also been an incredible forum for deepening our knowledge, hearing directly from experts in the field of social and emotional learning – practitioners, researchers, and academics – and strategizing potential collaborative efforts. TLA has been instrumental in facilitating these important conversations and keeping us all aligned and focused, while also providing thought leadership and authentic partnership along the way. They are all a pleasure to know and work with.”

Mirellise Vazquez
Executive Director, Tauck Family Foundation

“The Learning Agenda team is exceeding our high expectations. With a bias towards action, they approach each interaction as a strategic opportunity to move our collective learning and impact forward. The combination of content knowledge and experience facilitating donor collaboratives has made GTY an enjoyable, early success.”

Itai Dinour
Education, Einhorn Family Charitable Trust