CASE STUDY

Great Hearts Academies

Transformative foundations partnerships allow school network to expand


Greats Hearts Academies is the nation’s largest, and perhaps also the fastest-growing, bricks-and-mortar operator of classical charter schools. A significant amount of Great Hearts’ success has been powered by the strategic partnerships it has formed with foundations.

American Philanthropic helped Great Hearts initiate those relationships. Five years ago, as it began to consider expanding its footprint both within and outside the state of Arizona, Great Hearts asked American Philanthropic to identify potential foundation partners who might be interested in funding its growth nationwide as well as in several key geographic areas. Using our proprietary database, institutional knowledge, and other tools, we responded by providing in-depth research on and profiles of more than 100 foundations whose philanthropic priorities were aligned with Great Hearts’ mission. We then worked with Great Hearts to create approach strategies for each foundation prospect.

Great Hearts ran with this research. Thanks in part to the new partnerships with foundations it has built, today Great Hearts has expanded its network to include 26 schools in two states—with much more growth to come. Transformative foundation grants have also enabled Great Hearts to start new programs for its teachers and students. We are now working with Great Hearts to find and approach new foundation partners for the Great Hearts Institute, which will serve as an intellectual hub for the classical-education movement.

 

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