Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

Distributed May 17, 1995
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

The Hewlett-Annenberg Challenge Grant
Hewlett dollars are matched by Annenberg to create $50-million gift toward school reform in the six counties of San Francisco Bay Area

MILLBRAE, Calif. -- The largest privately funded grant ever made for public school renewal in the San Francisco Bay Area's six counties was announced today.

A grant of $25 million -- $15 million from William R. Hewlett personally and $10 million from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif. -- will be matched by the Annenberg Foundation to jointly form the Hewlett-Annenberg Challenge Grant. The Annenberg portion of the grant comes from the half-billion-dollar Annenberg Challenge to American public schools launched by the Hon. Walter H. Annenberg in December 1993.

The joint five-year grant requires that the combined $50 million be matched locally from private donations and public funding to raise the total to $100 million for Bay Area school reform over the next five years.

The grant will be made to the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC), formed several months ago by a group of education, business and community leaders. The Collaborative covers 118 school districts in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara.

Ms. Wallis Annenberg, vice president of the Annenberg Foundation, said, "When we initiated this challenge, we had hoped that other leaders like William Hewlett would step forward. So much can be done for our nation's schools if we all join together to help make it happen."

"We believe few things are more important to the well-being and vitality of the economy and of society in the Bay Area communities than the quality of our public schools and the education of our children," said Walter B. Hewlett, chairman of the Hewlett Foundation.

William R. Hewlett, director emeritus and co-founder of Hewlett-Packard Company, is known for his support for the advancement of education, medicine and science. The Hewlett Foundation was established in 1966 by the Palo Alto industrialist, his late wife and their eldest son, Walter.

Walter Annenberg, editor, publisher and former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, designed the Annenberg Challenge to energize and support promising efforts at school reform across the country. President Bill Clinton announced the extraordinary $500-million gift for this purpose at a White House ceremony in December 1993. Grants already have been made to four other metropolitan areas - New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia.

With the joint grant, the Collaborative hopes to achieve five major goals over the next five years:

The Collaborative will be open to all public schools, districts, county offices of education, universities and other agencies and non-profit organizations that serve children. The one requirement is that they actively work to accomplish the same goals. Resources will be concentrated on supporting the work of a core group of schools and their partner school districts which are willing to take on a leadership role for whole school reform. The collaborative will also organize ongoing opportunities for participating schools and school districts to come together to ask tough questions about what works, what they learned from their experiences, and what they need to do next. New, more powerful technological tools will help in the communication of and the support of the region in school reform. The Collaborative also will devote significant resources to support schools and partner support organizations to undertake research and development efforts related to critical educational issues.

Ms. Annenberg and Hewlett joined children, teachers, principals and school reform and civic leaders who gathered for the announcement of the grant at Mills High School in Millbrae, Calif. They were joined by Dr. David Gardner, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; Brown University President Vartan Gregorian, advisor to the Annenberg Challenge; Merrill Vargo, BASRC director; and members of the BASRC Board of Directors. Also attending were BASRC board co-chairs Floyd Gonella, superintendent of San Mateo County Office of Education, and Arthurlene Towner, dean of the School of Education, California State University, Hayward.

"The Hewlett-Annenberg Challenge Grant gives an unprecedented boost to our school reform efforts," said Gonella. "It is our responsibility now to ensure that this investment is used wisely and effectively to bring about a groundswell of educational renewal in our schools."

The Bay Area is a diverse region economically, socially and culturally. Its 118 school districts share a rich history of school reform efforts and are linked by as many as 30 active reform networks, projects and initiatives. The Collaborative was drawn from existing school reform networks, universities, foundations, nonprofit groups, schools and districts. It is guided by a board composed of key community leaders committed to public education.

Information about application procedures for joining BASRC will be distributed within the next few weeks to school districts, county offices of education, universities and other school-related organizations.