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Challenge Fund Circuitry (Anyone ELSE want to look up $52M worth of Challenge Grants from Annenberg Foundation Year 2001?) [Publ. April 26, 2017]

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…Or anyone else want to figure out whose “brilliant” idea this maze was in the first place?

This post delves into both aspects.  The “Challenge” originators here and their close previous relationships gets as interesting as “where’d the money really go, that year?” exercises, which would have to be repeated I gather endlessly — continuously — to keep some checks and balances on this arrangement, but perhaps not from top to bottom to get a sense of how equitable and ethical it is overall.  For that understanding, I continue to take “core sample” drill-downs on financial statements (or tax returns) of key organizations, as well as over time, compiling a timeline for the sector across organizations and individuals setting them up.

I also found, you don’t have to “drill” far at all on the tax returns to find misleading representations of where donations went once distributed, and other disturbing characteristics in funds and cashflow reporting when comparing grantor to grantee statements and IRS forms. In the first example I looked at, a grant amount of $6.68M claimed paid in a certain year was not located in the same year to what is designed as an intermediary organization, “Chicago Annenberg Challenge.”  Not long after this, the CAC organization dissolved voluntarily, having designated a successor fund also in Chicago, formed just four years later.  Why even do that?  Or, to rephrase it, what legitimate, ethical, public-interest purpose does this behavior serve?

One thing that does surface — how political it is from the start, in origin and in execution, and perhaps that’s key to the problem.  The entire public school (departments of education federal, state, county, city) system is so vast, it provides endless temptations to exploit, and too few defenses against exploitation for the public.

Post title: Challenge Fund Circuitry (Anyone ELSE want to look up $52M worth of Challenge Grants from Annenberg Foundation Year 2001?) with case-sensitive short-link ending “-6Db”

See next image (link in caption to view full-sized) to see why the word “circuitry” may be appropriate.  The excerpt is labeled as representing a single year’s contributions: 2001. All the colors are just my roughly categorizing recipients by type, including naming convention for the ones named after the Challenge itself.

Annenberg Fndtn FY2001 lists $52M of grants to 15 of the “Challenge Grants (Public Education)” — paid that yr. My annotations are simply sorting grantees by category, informally, and noting that AISR as an entity doesn’t show up among them. These take time to produce — pls. read!

While this image shows $52M “Paid in Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 2001” by The Annenberg Foundation, in this post I decided to focus mostly on just one organization out of those 15, one set up specifically to obtain Challenge Grant funding and function (allegedly) as a conduit to the Chicago Public Schools and named after the Public School Challenge.  Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc. (“CAC”)

I’m curious in part for its grant size this particular year (see image), in part for it being named (like two others — see brown arrows in the image) after the challenge itself as an entity, and, in significant part seeing the background of some of the interesting individuals involved in its leadership, such as Bill Ayers and the pre-Senator, pre-President Barack Obama, who was chairman of its board 1995-2001.


[Currently about 20,000 words and without tags. I may move a middle section referencing “Community Learning Partnership” out of an Evanston, IL street address attributed to the Annenberg Foundation’s Year 2000 contribution to “Chicago Public Education Fund,” later, and/or add tags, after publication.].

Also, the post has two references to outside pages (with more background material). These have been written and will be activated shortly. LGH Apr 26, 2017.

ALSO, some people may be aware that a former CPS (Chicago Public School) leader was indicted on 20 felony counts (19 out of 20 counts being dropped in exchange for agreement) regarding a $20M no-bid contract for “SUPES Academy,” which, at least one source says, was an investment of the Chicago Public Education Fund, successor to “Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc.” I’ve seen that information, but haven’t assembled it yet.** [Oct. 13, 2015, in The Chicago Reporter by Melissa Sanchez:

Byrd-Bennett pleads guilty in SUPES corruption case 

As part of a plea agreement with federal authorities, former Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd Bennett pleaded guilty this morning to one felony count of fraud in connection with the SUPES Academy corruption scandal.

Prosecutors indicted her last week on 20 counts, but as part of the agreement — which includes her promise to cooperate on further cases — they will drop the remaining charges. ||  The former head of the nation’s third-largest school district is now a convicted felon. …

Authorities say Byrd-Bennett steered a $20 million no-bid contract for principal development to SUPES Academy in exchange for the promise of future kickbacks.

The School Board signed the contract barely a month after it voted to shutter 50 schools, mostly in black neighborhoods. The 2013 closings were the largest in U.S. history. || As Byrd-Bennett walked out of court, a handful of retired CPS teachers shouted at her, calling her “a disgrace to African Americans.” {{There were two co-defendants..}}

and, the above article connected from this one in “Report Raises Concern about Principal Turnover” (as reported by “CPEF”  Chicago Public Education Fund.”), article By Stephanie Choporis | November 6, 2015

Heather Anichini, president and CEO of the Fund, says higher turnover rates are found only in the retail, hospitality and logging industries…..[[See this post, she follows Janet Knupp, FORMERLY of COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS, who I blogged already over internal discrepancies in their Form 990s — which comes up in CPEF also, below…BIG time….]]

…These findings come on the heels of the SUPES Academy corruption scandal. <==Principals complained bitterly about the quality of that professional development program, which was first brought into the district on the Fund’s dime. The report says the district’s currently available PD options follow a “one-size-fits-none” approach.

The report recommends that CPS find ways to give principals more time to focus on instruction. It also asks the district, universities with principal training programs and nonprofits alike to respond to principals’ needs for more personalized development, to help them learn how to better use existing budgeting and curriculum tools and to expand leadership opportunities and peer-to-peer learning.

The money is often in the training, public/private partnerships are fraught with this type of potential, and the better people monitor (a) the school districts’ financial dealings AND (b) the Form 990s (and financial statements) of often well-known involved nonprofits making headlines for fixing the schools (in this case), and get out the message that (we) will continue to do this, the fewer places there will be to hide this type of behavior.  Some day, perhaps, people will acknowledge my position that this is “endemic” to the entire concept and not fix-able. Expect and demand accountability — how about THAT (as opposed to out-come based public institutions as mediated or adjusted by private non-profit, tax-exempt sector organizations) for an organizing and social change principle?  But, then realize just what one is up against in holding to that point of view, whether LEFT (progressive) or RIGHT (conservative), BOTh wanting to work through and with the largest sources of privately controlled wealth around.

…Just one more quote on this subject from related site, still “The Chicago Reporter

$20 million no-bid contract raises questions on SUPES Academy By Sarah Karp | July 30, 2013,

…Without fanfare, CPS {{=”Chicago Public Schools”}} board members recently approved a three-year, no-bid $20 million contract to provide extensive professional development for principals and network chiefs in what is being dubbed the Chicago Leadership Academy.

The size and the circumstances surrounding the contract have raised eyebrows among some outside observers. The contract with Wilmette-based Supes Academy is by far the largest no-bid contract awarded in at least the past three years, according to a Catalyst Chicago analysis of board documents. In addition, CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett worked for the company as a coach up until the time she came on board at CPS as a consultant.

There’s also conflicting information about Byrd-Bennett’s involvement with another company owned by the same individuals who run the Supes Academy. …

READ THIS SECTION! (Click image for rest of article)

I have no doubt you’ll find what IS in the post, interesting, and approached from a different angle as usual — because I show-and-tell those Form 990s!

Bill Ayers’ prior involvement in the “small schools” movement and with the Bank Street School of Education puts some background color into the overall agenda of this late-1990s Annenberg Public School Challenge also and showing its current (or I should say, more recent 21st century, late 20th century) behavior is consistent with those sharing similar progressive ideology and acceptance of using education of small children as “laboratory” experiments IN education to be combined with teacher-education at the graduate level.  Although in this post you will also see involvement of a Tennessee Republican Senator (and former governor) of conservative longstanding “privatize government” leanings.

In case “Bank Street College of Education” history, philosophy and practices are not familiar, excerpts from its website (various pages) and Wikipedia, are available as a footnote on a separate page.  They are relevant, but I don’t want it cluttering up this post.  Selected excerpts with a bit of connective tissue are found at this page: Bank Street College of Education and School (Fast-Tracking FYI on its 100 year Progressive, Experimental Laboratories involving Young Children, History).  My page will be published, but not particularly advertised on the main blog page (meaning, sidebar).  Some preview here gives a general flavor, and marked by different color background, light-blue, and its pink border.  Some preview material added here may not be on the other page.

A school within a college

…Bank Street School for Children was founded in 1916 in New York City by visionary educator Lucy Sprague Mitchell as The Bureau of Educational Experiments, a laboratory nursery school staffed by teachers, psychologists, and researchers who worked to discover the environments in which children grew and learned to their full potential, and to educate teachers and others how to create these environments.


The School for Children is an independent demonstration school for Bank Street College and a working model of the College’s approach to learning and teaching. Education at the School is experience-based, interdisciplinary, and collaborative. The emphasis is on educating the whole child—the entire emotional, social, physical, and intellectual being—while at the same time, the child’s integrity as learner, teacher, and classmate is valued and reinforced.

[Guess parents were replaceable or optional in this model, and for some, are still considered optional…]

Briefly, the Bank Street College of Education Wikipedia also reminds us that among its partnerships are some with educational media corporations, and a few more details, such as its founder having been Dean of Women at UCalifornia Berkeley, when it got $1million for mental health (appropriate to the times, 1950), and that only in 1995 did it finally get its first woman, or black, president, Dr. Augusta Souza Kappner, who had existing ties to the federal USDOE, and helped raise capital.  She was President 1995-2008.  The year 1995 brings Bank Street (in NYC) up to when the Chicago Annenberg Challenge incorporated.  “Leading Black Educator Chosen to Head Bank Street“** (NYT 8/16/1995), and a time when education reform organizations (such as the Coalition of Essential Schools) were becoming more commonplace. (From that article):

**Dr. Kappner, in an interview yesterday, lauded the cultural diversity of the teaching staff at Bank Street, which is regarded as one of the nation’s leading education schools.

“What’s going on at Bank Street is very much in the process of translating into a broader movement across the country,” she said. “The institution is involved in school systems in several other cities.”

Founded in 1916, the college offers master’s programs in education, runs a demonstration school and family center, conducts research on early childhood and produces educational books and computer software.

The graduate student enrollment at Bank Street, at 610 West 112th Street, is 900. The school and the family center have 450 students, from prekindergarten through eighth grade.

From Bank St College of Ed “Past Presidents” page viewed Apr 2017

The current Bank Street College of Education leadership (President) is Shael Polakow-Suransky, who came there July 1, 2014, from being second-in-command just before then to NYC Public School system, and having referenced (a) being a Bank Street alum and (b) having been mentored by Ted Sizer at Brown University! Read more info on his decision, as a former Bloomberg-era person now under a new (Catherine Farina) leadership (Jan. 21, 2014 at “Chalkbeat”

…Polakow-Suransky’s shift may also portend a tighter partnership between the city and the college. As Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to hash out plans for a universal pre-kindergarten program, both Fariña and Bank Street—which has traditionally placed special emphasis on training teachers and leaders in early childhood education—said that they could work together in the future. …

Polakow-Suransky joined the city school system as a teacher in 1994 after graduating from Brown University, where he studied education and urban studies. After teaching math and history at Crossroads Middle School in Manhattan, he moved to Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School,** then left to found the Bronx International High School in 2001. || He joined the Department of Education’s central administration three years later, [only 2004] first in the Office of New Schools, which oversaw the opening of more than 200 new small schools during his time there.

Several paragraphs below, starting with “In other words,” I am referring back to this quote on Polakow-Suransky’s academic and work history. The material inbetween relates to the Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School.

Curious after learning more about this man’s own background (he attended an alternative high school, ‘school without walls,” in the 1970s in Michigan himself; see the “wiki”), I looked for the unusually-named “Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School” that he left (after a stint, for how many years unknown, there, his second school appointment apparently and first high school appointment):

USNews.com “Best US High Schools” At Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School, the student body makeup is 60 percent male and 40 percent female, and the total minority enrollment is 100 percent. Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School is 1 of 522 high schools in the New York City Public Schools.

NYDailyNews, March 14, 2013, by Michael Feeney:  Students defend failing Bread and Roses High School but blame their classmates for phaseout; ‘The teachers do everything they can,’ said one, ‘but if we don’t care this is what happens.’

“Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School on Edgecombe Ave. near W. 135th St. is one of four uptown schools – and 22 citywide – slated for phaseout or closure by the Department of Education. (MARIELA LOMBARD/FOR NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)”

…Bread and Roses was one of three uptown public schools slated for phaseout by the Panel for Educational Policy this week, along with the Choir Academy of Harlem and J.H.S. 013 Jackie Robinson.

A fourth school, MS 45/STARS Prep Academy, a Grade 6 to 8 school in East Harlem, will close at the end of the school year, the panel decided. It was one of two schools that will be closed in June. ….

In the fall, the Eagle Academy for Young Men of Harlem will begin teaching its first class in the Bread and Roses building on Edgecombe Ave. near W. 135th St.

The all-boys school will start with a sixth-grade class and expand each year until Bread and Roses is phased out.

The NYDailynews article quoted a parent from its parent association saying they were led to believe this was a “turnaround” school, but instead it was just dumped.

Closure would be 4th change in three years for Bread & Roses HS Feb. 14, 2013 by Joanna Seow in “Chalkbeat.org:

The school received an “F” on its last city report card, with only 41 percent of students graduating in four years compared to a citywide four-year graduation rate of more than 65 percent.  About 100 students, teachers and parents protested the phase-out plan in a two-hour hearing Wednesday night in the school auditorium, with many arguing that Bread and Roses was never given the opportunity to follow through or finish an improvement process before starting a new one.  The school has been put through the “transformation” model, which was supposed to change school leadership, bring in extra support services, and experiment with longer school days and new teacher training; the “restart” model, in which school operations are handed over to an independent education organization; and then the proposed “turnaround” model — all within the last three years.

It is 78% “disadvantaged” and (currently viewed, not two decades ago!) its is just below 40% and math just above 40%, both below state and further below national averages.  In addition, a 2013-2014 “High School Quality Snapshot” produced by the NYSDOE rated this small school (274 students) Poor or Fair (not a single “Good”) in key areas (see chart), with a graduation rate far below city average:

Bread and Roses Integrated Arts HS Quality Snapshot 2013-2014 (click for the rest of pdf)

Bread and Roses Integrated Arts High School Scores (per USNews.com viewed Apr2017)

In other words, his undergraduate study at Ivy League Brown, while Ted Sizer was there (Polakow-Suransky is younger — b. 1972 — and Sizer supervised his masters’ dissertation).  There appears to be no PhD level in this career educator now college of education president.  The “CES” model was “gearing up” (but before CES bothered to incorporate and legitimize itself at Brown!) focused on the areas being emphasized at the time; Polakow-Suansky then taught for only about 10 years before moving into administration — with, apparently, a “Small Schools” emphasis, which also ties him in purpose to Ayers and others, as well as to the CES philosophy in general.

Current Bank Street College of Educ President bio blurb (@July1, 2014) shows predecessor position was second in command at NYCity (not “State”) DOE! Also read pp.2

Meanwhile, it’s April 2017 and Bank Street College of Education has not yet uploaded its FY2015 (which ended 6/30/2016, almost one year ago) tax return — and he’s President.  No “related” organizations are reported at Bank Street, and from what I can tell, this should not be a complex tax return to file, either.

In case this isn’t clear yet, there is a “Bank Street/Brown University (CES Sizer, Small Schools, etc.) AND, as it turns out in Polakow-Suransky’s career path, a “Broad Academy” (as in two Eli-Broad-Foundation-funded training entities, spanning 2001-current, with the “switchout” around 2005/2006) connection between movements, nonprofits, and professional training “academies” not to mention colleges of education (whether at Brown or at Bank Street).

For more, again, go to the separate page: Bank Street College of Education and School (Fast-Tracking FYI on its 100 year Progressive, Experimental Laboratories involving Young Children, History)


For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2001 (which obviously could include the latter half of 2000), Annenberg Foundation claims to have paid Chicago Annenberg Challenge (“CAC”) $6,685,200.  That would be nice to document from the recipient end, but — I can’t without a (so far) missing tax return from CAC for ITS fiscal year 2000, representing what would have been the first half of Annenberg Foundation’s Fiscal Year 2000, but labeled here “Year Ending June 30, 2001” as the image shows.  They were on different fiscal years.

Looks like the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc. existed just about 8 short years, from 1995? until it closed down in 2003, fizzling out like this.  Again, one might ask:  Why?  (Actually Illinois Corporate record shows even briefer existence — 4/27/1995 through 1/30/2002 voluntary dissolution, less than seven years)

Total results: 3Search Again.

Chicago Annenberg Challenge IL 2003 990PF 24 $0.00 36-4016426
Chicago Annenberg Challenge IL 2002 990PF 28 $1,418.00 36-4016426
Chicago Annenberg Challenge IL 2001 990PF 32 $452,608.00 36-4016426

The numbers under Total Assets (from this source) always represent Year-End Total Gross Assets (not “net” which may be smaller) and do not reflect all activity during the year, but obviously the last three tax returns show an organization that is shutting itself down.

The bottom row represents fiscal year 2001 for this entity, which as you can see, isn’t showing even $1M of assets (but $452K) at year-end, or $1M of contributions (but only $1.9K).

It also had an address change this year to Northfield, Illinois (back again to Chicago for 2002), and didn’t acknowledge even $2,000 contributions from anywhere, and stated it was not required to file a Schedule B (which would report “Excess Contributions” such as $6M from Annenberg).

The next screenprint shows it did acknowledge $1.9K ($1,954) contributions on line 1. So, we have a logistical problem — what is the explanation for the ($6,685,200 – $1,954) difference between claimed contributions and acknowledged on the recipient tax return?

A “Schedule A” of Support showing the prior four years for some entities might solve the problem, however, no “Schedule A” shows for year 2001, or Year 2002 (which amended return was stamped with three different 2006 dates, and which details the dissolution of the CAC). I recommend readers scroll through at least the “CAC” returns for Years 2001 and 2002 above, to see (for 2001) particularly how grants are not identifying the actual grantees in the main schedule, but an addendum further shows which “grantee” went to an actual “grantee” by a different name. For example, grants which may have looked like they were going to actual public schools, many times were instead going to universities, or other “systems-change” nonprofits — not that (this being a Form 990PF versus public charity filer) this form provided EIN#s (which a Form 990 prompts for, at least current versions of it) for ANY entity than the designated successor one (see next table for “CPEF”).

Finding a Year 2000 tax return if, for example, Annenberg had dumped the entire $6.68M to the CAC before  or on 12/31/2000 (Annenberg’s statement is labeled by the Year ENDING date as 2001 while CAC the recipient’s Fiscal Year = Calendar Year) might show this — but I don’t have ready access to it.  Anyone else who might find that on-line?

2001, Chicago Annenberg Challenge only admits receiving a bit over $1K contributions…Notice column titles (for next image).

Bottom half of FY2001 CAC Form 990PF, annotated to show odd classification of distributions (Lns 26) and resultant $1.8M deficit “per the books” vs. none, “cash basis. See Column titles seen on top of page 1 image, above. Click for Full-sized.

I’m seeing details on the 2001 (Amended) Tax return here that aren’t too hard to understand, but weighing whether it would be worthwhile to print, annotate, upload, narrate, and otherwise document right now — For example, the millions of dollars distributed are listed (Yr 2001) under right-hand column “cash” and not left-hand (of the $$ figure columns) under Revenues and Expenses per the books (see colorfully annotated image of p.1)

Next link, also in the image caption, labels the annotated image showing just a piece of the many “anomalies” or oddities showing up on that return: Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC, EIN#364016426) FY2001 990PF Part I bottom half showing total revs $80K Ln24 Total Expenses (per the books) Ln26b $1’8M but (Ln26d, rh column-CashBasis, $6’9M

I think let’s move on to the other parts of this same story, which are equally interesting!

“CAC” had already designated a successor organization and was already donating in part to it: Chicago Public Education Fund,  which tax returns currently look like this:

Total results: 3Search Again. Notice CAC was a Form 990PF but its successor, a plain Form 990.

Chicago Public Education Fund IL 2015 990 36 $12,696,363.00 36-4279013
Chicago Public Education Fund IL 2014 990 35 $14,948,783.00 36-4279013
Chicago Public Education Fund IL 2013 990 29 $8,843,438.00 36-4279013

From the same Illinois Cyberdrive Search site, this one says, Business ID# 60326282, Formed 1999, and ‘Not in Good Standing’.

CPEF, Entity#60326282, Formed 1999, “Not Good Standing” as viewed 4/2017

Interesting:   this was first funded (it says) in 1999 with about $1 million.  The Year 2000 return lists some “Schedule B” (Excess) Contributors (or perhaps back then it was a different schedule), just one page of them, however the numbering begins not with “1” but with “30.”  And while there are two or three $20K or $25K contributors, and $200K from “The Chicago Tribune,” there is a noticeable $995K from “The Annenberg Foundation” that year.  (See link provided, I did not “image”).  A closer look at CAC grantees Yr 2001 shows that some were was already going to this entity Chicago Public Education Fund.

Actually, the Year 2000 tax return of the CPEF above, IS relevant to discuss — after I noticed that even on its “Page 5 of 6 Schedule B Pt. I Excess Contributions” — obviously not ALL the “Excess Contributions for the year” as totaled, still added up (just page 5 only) to about $200K more than is reported on the IRS Form in Part I Summary.  Page 1 total Contributions:  $1,031,406 or $1.03M.  Page5 of 6 (not even taking into account what might have been on pp. 1-4 or p.6 which isn’t uploaded either!) total as written is $1,226,816 or $1.22M (per cell phone calculator).  Their CEO that year received a salary of $142,000 + benefits (as the only paid officer or one working FT) for this type of internal discrepancy re: correcting the substandard math & english of Chicago Public School systems!!

The five CPEF images below (may not annotated; you can follow the sequence I’m sure) are:

  • #1 Part I, Page 1 top for Year 2000 (understand that this represents only the second year of operation:  Fiscal year = Calendar year)
  • #2 Excess Contributions (page 5 of 6) top part up through Annenberg Foundation $995K contribution (Annenberg Foundation also bears an usual address in Evanston, IL)
  • #3 Excess Contributions (page 5 of 6) bottom part (which overlaps with the Annenberg $995K to show it’s the same document, and bears a footer.
  • #4 & 5 One or two images showing to whom the $881K of grants went that year; note: the first column “Classification” =/= grantee name.  Look at the amounts and grantee names.

Because I’m not annotating them, I’m also not printing to pdf for each image  You have the link to the tax return above if the images don’t display large enough to read.  As I said near top of this post, you don’t have to drill down that far to see discrepancies!

CPEF (EIN#36-4279013) Yr2000 Form 990 Pg1 top (Image 1 of 5) Total Contribs $1.03M

CPEF (EIN#36-4279013) Yr2000 Form 990 SchedB Excess Contribs, p5 TOP (Image 2 of 5)

CPEF (EIN#36-4279013) Yr2000 Form 990 SchedB Excess Contribs, p5 BOTTOM (Image 3 of 5, overlaps 2 rows with Image 2)

CPEF (EIN#36-4279013) Yr2000 Form 990 Statemt of Grants FROM, TOP (Image 4 of 5)

CPEF (EIN#36-4279013) Yr2000 Form 990 Statemt of Grants FROM, TOP, showing Total was $881K (Image 5 of 5)

Wikipedia on Chicago Annenberg Challenge is somewhat short and sweet (suggest — read it!) and answered another question I had in reviewing several tax returns — it was on the “to do list” — look up who is Vartan Gregorian, who showed up on Forms 990PF.   That and other questions may be answered in this short spiel on how the Public School Challenge came to be:















The Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC) was a Chicago public school reform project from 1995 to 2001 that worked with half of Chicago’s public schools and was funded by a $49.2 million, 2-to-1 matching challenge grant over five years from the Annenberg Foundation. The grant was contingent on being matched by $49.2 million in private donations and $49.2 million in public money. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge was one of 18 locally designed Annenberg Challenge project sites that received $387 million over five years as part of Walter Annenberg‘s gift of $500 million over five years to support public school reform. The Chicago Annenberg Challenge helped create a successor organization, the Chicago Public Education Fund (CPEF), committing $2 million in June 1998 as the first donor to Chicago’s first community foundation for education.

Annenberg Foundation doesn’t list an address in Evanston, IL, which is a wealthy (and 91% white per “Blockshopper”) suburb of Chicago (and where Northwestern University, most of it, is located) that I’m aware of, however Kenneth B. Rolling and a “Community Learning Partnership” (*.org) does at 2308 Park Place, Evanston, IL — the address from which nearly $1M was granted TO the Chicago Public Education Fund from Annenberg in FY2000, above…

It doesn’t take too long looking at the website (which may or may not have been there in 2000) to see that this is organizing for social change (in fact, certifications working with community colleges in key cities) along the PICO, IAF, (ACORN?) etc. model.  I’m not exploring this thoroughly here, just referencing it as an out-of-place detail on a tax return.  I simply knew that Annenberg wasn’t featuring its Evanston, IL offices on their main site (or tax returns) over the years… I have a sense that in general, this is also what the Public School Challenge is about as well — at least from the perspective of its progressive adherents.

The “history” page of the nonprofit listed at this street address references a “Center for Community Change” which is searchable on this blog and as I recall (probably) has Open Society Foundations connections.

KenRolling@2308ParkPlaceEvanston IL shows yet another Community Organizing Nonprofit (cf Annenberg Fndtn grants to CPEF per its SchedB FY2000) From that website:
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

April 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm

Freedom of the Press IS on the Auction Block (Rupert Murdoch, Walter Annenberg empires: Consolidate, New Markets, Buy&Sell, handle the Scandals, go public, go private, keep on trucking…) [Publ. April 21, 2017]

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Consciousness-raising on this ongoing Auction Block reality is always timely.

THIS POST IS: Freedom of the Press IS on the Auction Block  (Rupert Murdoch, Walter Annenberg empires: Consolidate, New Markets, Buy&Sell, handle the Scandals, go public, go private, keep on trucking…) and its case-sensitive short-link ends “-6BH.” [excluding the “.”]

Attempting to differentiate what I do here, and my purpose in doing it, from journalistic, personal anecdotal, or high-profile (poster child) case anecdotal reporting, and cause-based rhetoric on many of the same topics on which those journalistic, anecdotal types of reporting have been dominant:  family courts, domestic violence, marriage/fatherhood, child support, divorce-custody and so forth, has been an ongoing theme in my blogging.  We should recognize that, and I call attention to this situation, information on these topics that is publicized on-line may comes from both secondary, pro-bono (volunteer) social media reblogging, and primary sponsorship — which primary (organization) sponsorship may be itself several levels deep as to seeding one rhetoric or another (and with this recommended solutions).

Beyond how many levels deep is sponsorship of the reporting websites/organizations (that others like to quote, repost, and reblog) is the question of sponsorship of the technology platforms on which the rhetoric is itself disseminated, decade by decade, 1900s – 2000s.  This brings us into the question of high-technology media corporations, conferences, and just how profitable the sector is — although when it’s NOT profitable, someone’s company or subsidiary IS going to get sold off sooner or later.  At the bottom of this post, I take a single corporation’s history on a timeline and show some of the trends — all of which relates to the on-line news, other media, and print (where they still exist) publications, and who owns whose at any point in time.

Yet another factor comes up when professional journals (such as the Family Court Review with its affiliations) about which the average person NOT into the professional fields involved, whether academic or “created” fields (domestic violence advocates, fatherhood researchers or practitioners, etc. may not even know, and to which therefore they cannot respond properly, or timely, which is to say, effectively.  This is no accident!

Institutions (such as universities) have their own additional blogs and websites to further promote ideologies which the public, in general, may be completely unaware of, between comparing the mainstream news media (ABC, NBC, CBS — PBS — or now, Fox) with their favorite right-wing or progressive news outlets, a choice of “pro or con” a limited series of issues which BOTH sides profit from debating in public.

Up next (as part of demonstrating this situation), I have an example of law-school sponsored journalism hooking up with another private nonprofit-university published journal seeking, deliberately over time, to transform the systems of:  family courts, juvenile justice, school truancy law, and of course behavioral health/social science-related services.  I remember exactly what search phrase led me to become aware of this center, but unless you happened to be on the lawschool website and curious about one of its many “Centers” and take that curiosity some steps further, you might not have known.  (Next images show first, the lawschool banner, then that banner with the “Centers” dropdown — in fine print):

UCBaltimore SOLaw Home page

UCBaltimore SOLaw Home page showing drop-down menu for “Centers” in very fine print) Click for full-sized.

LAW UBALT EDU Centers, annotated + showing the CFCC (Screen Shot 2017-04-21 at 4.04PM)

UCBaltimore SOLaw Home page; having clicked on “CFCC” option, the donors name in such large letters, important parts of the page aren’t even visible on the top half (scroll down to see now more overt connections between CFCC founder and AFCC-affiliated (co-published) Family Court Review, of which this Associate Professor is now Editor in Chief. And, newsletters, and recommendations for a new post-JD certificate in family law, etc.

And the trend is to Unify under themes controlled, again, by private interests — but in the case of UBaltimore School of Law, that university is part of the Maryland State System.  And I have already posted on the influence of this particular center WITHIN the law school having had a role of pushing through the setup of family court divisions when it COULD NOT and WAS NOT being passed legislatively.  It was done administratively through a well-known presiding judge at the time (Chief Administrative Judge Bell) with a well-known and clearly well-earned civil rights record.  I am not going to hunt up all my specific links, but believe they will be found on the TOC page under late 2013 as I recall. For example:  Dec 22, 2013, my “Eavesdropping into an Indoctrination Center; Hindsight from a Pilot Project Outpost” specifically references this CFCC and one of its founders, Barbara Babb.  Next to images are screenshots from that part of the post, including one link to an article cited on turning the tide, and endorsing this “unified family court” concept for “families and children,” which is to say, most people!

No apologies for the sarcastic tone, either!

#1 of 3 from my Dec 22, 2013 post referencing UBaltimore School of Law CFCC in re creation of the family law division (late 1990s) in Maryland — through an administrative judicial ruling

#2 of 3 from my 12/22/2013 blog

Title and publication/issue# referenced in Image 2 of 3 from my 12/22/2013 post

Here’s another example I discovered not too long ago from a UBaltimore School of Law CFCC website which I sarcastically (but I still say, accurately) referred to as an “AFCC Outpost” in late 2014.  Predictably, they are recommending more training of judges and in fact, a post-J.D. certification regarding family law issues.

This theme refers to the private, professional journals which, when read, reveal intent to affect public institutions.

However that is not the major emphasis of this post.  Below this illustrated section, I will talk more about the sale of Triangle Publications (and with it, TV Guide) in ONE large section involving (at least) TWO major actors (see post title for which one).


AND, below that, in a different (more gray) background-color, a section on  high-technology specialty corporations buying and selling each other over time, using for an example the 1971-formed CMP Publications.  I think it’s interesting, and sale of THAT media wealth (ca. 1999) helped set up yet another privately controlled family foundation which went — where else? — into education reform, this time, the “progressive” way.

I would like to have here provided access with active links to this Spring (April 2017) Full Court Press issue (3 annotated images below) to readers, however none were provided (the links were basically NOT active) on my received email and I see from the website (Scroll down further, it’s on the left sidebar) where this “Full Court Press” might normally show up (and a Summer 2016 version of “The Unified Court Connection, 17th issue” (and the Spring 2017 one is called the 18th issue) is supplied, it may not be yet available on their main website.  Odd, that!  But, you can learn there its stated goals:

CFCC primary goals are to:

  • Deliver cutting-edge family law education by engaging law students in real-life learning opportunities   [[i.e., mentoring fresh generations of law students in the “RIght Way” to think about family courts]]
  • Promote the development of unified family courts to provide children and families with a single court system with comprehensive subject-matter jurisdiction
  • Improve the delivery of legal, social, judicial, administrative and other services within the family justice system, including evaluating family court systems
  • Develop training programs and tools for judges, court staff and attorneys to build their understanding of the complex issues underlying family law proceedings
  • Support school success for children by bringing together judges, attorneys, law students and other members of the legal community to improve school attendance, reform school discipline practices and protect legal rights for children in school

We invite you to learn more about what we arewhat we do, and how you can get involved with our work.

This CFCC (now named after alumni donors, a married couple) is innately intertwined with private nonprofit associations and has been since is 2000 co-founding. There is a clear intent to protect the proprietary “Train the judges, protect AND EXPAND our turf” visible, with the emphasis on therapeutic jurisdiction, a “holistic approach” and all this said throughout to be in the public’s best interest, and families’.  Now it’s not enough to combine the unified family court jurisdictions, they also want to help steer entire communities, thus pretty much revealing the true colors behind the movement, from the start.

Image 1 of 3 (UBaltimore School of Law S&M Meyerhoff CFCC Spring 2017 Full Court Press) email alert

Image 2 of 3 (see caption for image 1). Note reference to Diane Nunn. Diane Nunn also has a long history  as an AFCC-affiliated person with the California Judicial Council (TOP ruling body of the Calif. courts)  AOC/CFCC, which CFCC historically has seemed to coordinate policies with CFCC here in Maryland.  Her AFCC affiliation is not mentioned here but (see image 3 of 3) this CFCC’s is now more “out in the open.”

Image 3 of 3 (annotated, Click HERE to read my comments on the AFCC affiliations .Note reference to Barbara Babb (co-founder of this) now being Editor in Chief of the (AFCC-Hofstra Univ. -produced) “Family Court Review.” Notice also reference to yet more certifications and trainings being recommended (for both judges and lawyers) and continued promotion of “Unified Family Courts”
















There is a place and importance to telling one’s story, but when it comes to advocacy, analysis and exposure of the problems in the above areas, who is using the story for what purpose has to be determined, and those in the least advantaged position at any point in the time, should be most concerned to determine, through following the financial and corporate funding trails (profit and nonprofit) WHO is behind the message they’re repeating, for free presumably, to the world in seeking:  justice, court reform, protection, (etc.) from any government entity.

It takes at least two sides to play ping-pong, tetherball, or Good Cop/Bad Cop with a single theme.

I have continued to say, that vocabulary has to be business and accounting related, and to be wide enough in scope, it must incorporate the financial relationships with government.  And I have continued to demonstrate what you can find once you start looking into that.

People do not seem to realize (in my experience) that once you become entrenched in a subject matter side to the point of NOT perceiving the operational foundations of those propagating it, you lose objectivity and credibility, period. Credibility becomes limited to those who happen to side with you already, or who may help further a journalistic career writing up the problems for their publications, whether as employee or freelance.

People eager for change and reform [again, I’m referring experientially to people in the family courts, domestic violence, marriage/fatherhood, child support, divorce-custody and related fields] also often don’t seek to distinguish between what is anecdotal (even if true) to others not personally eyewitnesses of the events, and what can be at least verified by others from afar as true statements, and from those true statements (qualified, of course, as to the credibility of their sources), compiling a reasonably comprehensive, fair, logical and set in a historic context, account for the present situation.

I would not expect 100% agreement “across the board” ever, but if these discussions cannot move out of the realms of religion or quasi-religious assertions, it should not be a viable discussion for public policy in the USA until consent is made to suspend the Constitution and formally declare instead a “theocracy.” That wouldn’t pass (I hope!), so instead, the trend has been to slip elements of major religious beliefs (again, either pro- or con- monotheism and male-dominance) in the back door –which is to say, functionally, administratively, and INdirectly.

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Challenging the Annenbergs’ Public Education Challenge Grants, Still Searching for AISR@Brown as a Form 990 filer, Still Scrutinizing Why We Accept that Privately Controlled, Synched, Billion-Dollar, Tax-Exempt Foundations Care about the Public as Much as About Controlling Their Collective Assets (and the Public, Lest It Start Demanding a Better Look at the Books!) [moved here Apr. 15, Publ. April 21, 2017]

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This sprang un-mid-wifed (?) from the belly of another post,** where it’d grown submerged under that post’s main identity until ready to burst forth into a free-breathing, distinct publication from the other, as itself, and at a different street address (url) on the same blog.  I have been pregnant (and carried to term; they’re young adults now), so I do know what it feels like getting around the last few months: cumbersome. That’s how the other post was getting.

**the post (published 4/17/2017) which gestated (? incubated) this one:

Others talk so freely about conceiving, founding, launching and incubating various projects (or nonprofits) under some larger fiscal agent, or donor-advised-funds community foundations until they are “spun off” or “born,” I figure I can talk about having “given birth” to another post every now and then.   🙂  Sometimes, when I’m tangling too close with certain subject matter (here, the University of Pennsylvania and University of Southern California’s “Annenberg School of Communications” Trusts, not to mention the Annenberg Foundation itself) unpremeditated offspring are conceived.

So, this one being my “baby” I gave it a nice long name, in the  family (“FamilyCourtMatters)”tradition:

The first several paragraphs here overlap from the originating post, before I “get into it,” scrutinizing some of the Forms 990PF and relationships between various Annenberg projects and their main foundation. *** [see below next para. and link]

As previously explained (on the last post, above), this is a large family foundation (well, at least one) whose primary wealth came from ownership of publications/media field — the sale of “Triangle Publications,” by a second-generation business success, Walter H. Annenberg.

As much as I might want to elaborate more on this, after starting to do so here, I ‘re-allocated’ this into a spin-off post, which is now (a day later) complete and ready to go when this one is, under the name:

***And whose family style of philanthropy, prior generation and the new one (daughter Wallis), tends to put its name on the things it funds and endows — like entire schools within at least two universities, and to advertise about the amazing, large-scale things it has accomplished by the sheer scope and size of commitments.  No question this philanthropy is appreciated by the recipients, especially the art museums, but I do have a “show-us-the money” (financial reports) issue with the private-university-located entity which not only seeks to transform the US Public School system but also I gather to privately steer how, and in what direction, and to do this nonprofit and somewhat fiscally underground.

I also believe it’s time to start questioning the university homes (here, private universities) who help hide the cashflow involved while publicizing the program and project aspects, both this one, and other related ones.   

About this principle: I am noticing the habit across subject matters and at other universities also (example:  National Center for Adoption Law and Policy at Capital University in Columbus Ohio turns out to have been a trademark of the university, and while its featured website was referenced repeatedly on-line at different sites ending “*.org” or as I recall “*.edu”, at the end of the day, the website for which $230,000 (for starters) HHS funds were obtained by a Capital University Alumna (and US Rep), looks to have never been put up; the domain name is for sale with no redirect, and what was “NCALP” then became FYLaw, equally untraceable, most likely. You can see this interest across several of my posts within the last half year.

That was “Child Welfare Training” subject matter, but it also occurs in domestic or “Intimate Partner” violence prevention fields also (Ohio IPV Collaborative).  In reality, it may be less the subject matter than the accounting and reporting practices we should be paying attention to. At some levels, I believe the stated “cause” may be functioning as a hook, to reel in public support for the private or public/private consolidated interests (wealth, in other words) to problem-solve and retrain all involved in the new way of thinking, communicating, or in of course new electronic databases or platforms for the same.

In this post, “AISR” stands for one of the advertised projects for which I’m having some trouble locating financial reports (showing gross receipts, program-related revenues and expenses (payments to others, including subcontractors), plus annual reporting of a balance sheet, showing where are its investments), despite how popularly and widely it is referenced both by the involved universities and some of the funded nonprofits, some of which are either themselves networked, or helped start one (i.e., “Coalition for Essential Schools.”

If there IS no such Form 990-filing entity by the legitimate name AISR (written out), thing, then I would question why a corporation by that name was ever set up, which, as I established in my last post, Rhode Island Corporations Division says does exist; it has a business entity and listed board of directors, is classified as a nonprofit, and a start date is listed.

“AISR” represents “The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University” which is in the USA’s smallest state: Rhode Island or as the Secretary of State/Corporations Division website says “Rhode Island and the Providence Plantations.”

Here’s a street sign for the AISR but who can find its tax return (EIN#)?  I see there is a corporate filing for it.  Donations to it are coming (mostly) direct to Brown University EIN#; Brown being a private nonprofit, files its own Form 990s:

Ramifications: IF there is no proper EIN# (for example, if AISR is an UNregistered trademark of Brown University, or some other explanation), then what does that say about the famous Annenberg Foundation whose $500M to public education — and $50M of this to this institute named after the donors — is displayed on their website and recited faithfully in histories of the respective institutions?

If, by contrast (however) the secrecy and “catch-us-if-you-can” aspects of the cash flow TO the AISR is symptomatic of Brown University only, not the Annenberg Foundation whose claim is to have committed $50M gift to it months after its first $5M gift (and this in 1993), then PERHAPS the donee may be found by starting at the Annenberg Foundation end and working downwards as to the Public Challenge Grantees.

I cannot easily access EIN#s before this century, but early in this century did find a list of some of those grantees (but not named AISR and representing any EIN# outside of Brown U’s main #). Will show it below. This all will make more sense if you read the annotated images, not just the narratives around them.

What’s more, when a major foundation IS claiming to donate money which cannot be readily found on a financial report to an institute within a private university not subject to (or complying with requirements to) file — I figured perhaps it might be good to identify, in this situation, the OTHER “Challenge Grantees” specifically and see if, as a group, they are doing any better.  Perhaps also it is a symptom that something might be radically wrong with the entire picture; whether or not should be identified and whatever is wrong should be corrected. Where, for example, are the checks and balances?

CYC (found at AISR Brown University) Notice “Cradle to Career” is the goal.

At all points, when public schools major institutions are targeted for systemic change as sponsored by untrackable, or hard to follow private money, (projects of school districts across the country, who as specialized, special-purpose government entities, must maintain their pension funds, facilities management, maintenance, construction and acquisition at times (i.e. real estate), staff, administrative overhead, support staff, school security, books, computers and consumable classroom supplies, not to mention supply of properly qualified teachers, and security-screened for criminal backgrounds at all levels too — should we not already have familiarized ourselves with at least our own school districts’ financial statements too, how they are put together, and be able to tell when any unethical, immoral, or potential racketeering influence (RICO) might be operational?    And be talking about those financial statements with each other, as opposed to devouring the press and funded public relations material (only) about them?

If the school districts — and their projects, the schools —  are collectively a major “distressed asset” in which foundations wish to personally invest (or, have the public “divest” more and more) — shouldn’t we be able to see where they are dealing with the private contractors seeking to reform them in coordinated fashion based on theories from, for example, specific Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia University, Princeton or Ivy League models?  [This maroon font marks three paragraphs not on original post, in the “overlap” section].

From ANNENBERG FNDTN WEBSITE About Page 1989 – 1993 (School Reform) + 1958 School for Communciation at U of P (Screen Shot 2017-04-14 at 1.32PM (Goes with next image):

The School Reform challenge is featured on Annenberg Fndtn’s own summary of itself, along with establishing schools of communication in 3 institutions, and substantial contributions to art museums and endowed chairs at universities. It also gives a size reference for the initial funding of the foundation — sale of a media empire (Triangle) for, judging by this, $3.6 billion, presenting another major problem to be solved — federal taxes on capital gains! And, public image vis a vis the less well-endowed (i.e., the working poor and middle class).

The foundation still has a Pennsylvania Address, although its surviving Annenberg family members and some of the staff/contractors seem to be more in Southern California (Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, etc.).

Timeline FAQs from its “Who We Are” (after identifying as a family foundation).  Notice the years, please.

  • 1989 The Annenberg Foundation begins operations on July 1 with $1.2 billion in assets. [see also annotated image to left]
  • 1990 To focus attention on the needs of historically black colleges, the Annenberg Foundation makes a $50 million challenge gift in what becomes, at the time, the most successful fundraising drive ever by the United Negro College Fund.
  • 1993 The Annenberg Foundation makes a $25 million grant to Harvard University. The grant will be used for scholarships, seminar programs and renovations to historic Memorial Hall, including the creation of a freshman dining facility named for the Ambassador’s son, Roger Annenberg.
  • 1993 The Annenberg Foundation makes a historic commitment to public education with the $500 million Annenberg Challenge. The Annenberg Challenge is one of the largest gifts in philanthropic history and works to revive and inspire school reform efforts across the nation. Eighteen locally designed Challenge projects operated in 35 states,** funding 2,400 public schools that served more than 1.5 million students and 80,000 teachers. [[More on how it identifies (or doesn’t) these projects, below, look for the “**”]]
  • 1993 The Annenberg Foundation grants $120 million to the University of Pennsylvania.## The grant endows the Annenberg School for Communication and creates the Annenberg Public Policy Center, which conducts research and convenes discussions on the critical intersection of media, communication and public policy.

“**” and “##” mark two footnotes I’m making to the organization’s summary page.  “##” is addressed first, and several paragraphs below that, and likely next to an image, **.” Look for both the symbols and titles in those two colors to tell one from the other.

## Annenberg School of Communication Financial Relations with the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenbergs:  

This 1993 $120M endowment for the (pre-existing since 1958, per description above) Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (“ASC at UofP” for convenience here) becomes interesting when eight years later, the UofP endows a trust whose income goes to the school, but is still controlled by Annenberg and their historic financial and legal managers from other foundations or trusts.

I found a 2002-funded Trust which was initially funded with $100M (even) FROM the University of Pennsylvania [currently held in the UofP’s “AIF” and possibly from it in the first place] which was from the start under the control of (a) a Dean or Director from the ASC at UofP, Annenberg Family Members (originally Leonore + Wallis; Leonore the mother died in 2009, her famous spouse Walter H. in 2002), some lawyers from (as the Form 990PFs show) from a Philadelphia Law firm Dilworth Paxson also known for handling other Annenberg financial and estate matters.  One of these men (Wm. J. Henrich) was previously successor to Triangle Publications when its owner (Ambassador Annenberg) stepped down in, I believe the NYT article showed, 1984.

Closer looks at some of the respective tax return details reveals operation practices and the larger strategy.

(Shown again below:   tinyurl.com/1984Nov16NYTHenrichSuccdsAnnbg.  Not too long after, Triangle Publications was sold?)

“AIF” is a term I found on the tax return, and as seen on a financial statement (at university site) must stand for Affiliated Investment Funds” managed by a third party, it says:

AIF is Associated Investments Fund third-parties-managed, then 2’8B (excerpt from FY2001 UofP Financial Statemt)” (<==click for full-sized).

I will post more on this below; I’m still trying to understand it and wrap my head around how a university as large as the University of Pennsylvania, around since 1740 (!!), could be operating as a private nonprofit, and not as is seen in other states whose similarly-named universities ARE often state corporations or instrumentalities, or may have started as land-grants, but going by the name “University of Pennsylvania” similar to other states   Apparently.

This would mean that Annenberg has chosen two PRIVATE universities for Schools of Communications (here, and Univ. of Southern California) and private university Brown for its AISR.

The interesting feature to me here is that what I considered a state university, and would expect to be subject to “CAFR” filings, is apparently (judging by the size and description of “Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania) instead, just a humongous 501©3, that is, a private, nonprofit.  Each state may do its state-supported university systems in its own way, but that was a real surprise for me.  The ramifications?  It may not have to produce the type of detailed reports that other government entities have to.  For a contrast, I’m working on a separate post looking at the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s CAFRs, not that this topic hasn’t been covered on this blog (and a related one) in earlier years.

Take a look! You’ll have to ignore the wrong name supplied by the FoundationCenter, again; the EIN# represented belongs to the “Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania” which a small image from the IRS “Exempt Organization Select Check” search page also shows.  Or, just click on any oddly named organization in the table here to see the Form 990 attached to it.

Total results: 3Search Again.

Out-Of-School Time Resource Center PA 2015 990 142 $17,230,855,000.00 23-1352685
Morris Arboretum PA 2014 990 238 $16,398,248,000.00 23-1352685
Institute of Contemporary Art PA 2013 990 204 $14,905,771,000.00 23-1352685

The IRS “Exempt Organizations Select” check search site verifies that contributions here are tax-deductible and who actually owns that EIN#:  “Trustees of the University of Philadelphia.”

$17 BILLION dollars of assets of course includes buildings, and liabilities to go with them.  BUT, a closer look shows it includes substantial investments and related companies (foreign and domestic).


Click to read Annotations and view full-sized (Sched E self-identification by U of P on its tax return)

The Annenberg Foundation “About Us” summary fails to mention that after it gave UofP $120M to endow the school named after the family and setting up another “Center” with the family name, eight years later, in 2002, the UofP then set up a trust controlled by ASC leadership and Annenberg family leadership, starting with $100M — and not too many years later, doubling in size, which income was to go to back to the University of Pennsylvania (i.e., the terms of the trust strictly controlled where its revenues went).  However, someone had to administer this, and over time I saw that the, or an independent subcontractor investment management firm (Bessemer) also had funds titled after itself in which the assets were invested, as well as being paid (as a subcontractors, plus separately, there would be also more “investment management fees”).

About Bessemer — this firm began when Phipps, who helped found Carnegie Steel, sold his share and (obviously) than had some investments to manage.  The investment company (1907 started) continued privately controlled, but by the 1970s began inviting in some of their kind (wealthy families, foundations, or trusts) to work with them.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bessemer_Trust.  Still run by a Phipps descendant (as of this “Wiki”), it manages over $100 billion assets for its 2,300 clients, has offices all over the US in major cities, and the Cayman Islands, and London.  In 2001, this Bessemer Trust formed a partnership with someone from Morgan Stanley aimed at “middle market equity.” See next image:

Minimum investments to get involved in Bessemer Trust, if they want you, is $10M.

Guess what the 2001-formed partnership middle-market partnership specialized in?

“Lindsay Goldberg is an American private equity firm focused on leveraged buyout and growth capital investments in middle-market companies in such sectors as consumer products, commodity-based manufacturing, energy services, business services, financial services, energy transmission and waste disposal.[2]

The firm, which is based in New York City, was founded in 2001 by Alan Goldberg, who had previously served as chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley Private Equity (later Metalmark Capital) and Robert Lindsay, who played a central role in the Bessemer Trust private equity business, serving most recently as Managing General Partner since 1991. Goldberg and Lindsay had worked together in the 1980s at Morgan Stanley and were founding members of the private equity business in 1984.

The firm has raised approximately $13 billion since inception, across four funds. The firm raised $2 billion for its first fund in 2002.[3] In 2006, the firm completed fundraising for its second fund with $3.1 billion of investor commitments.[4][5] In 2008, Lindsay Goldberg commenced raising its third fund with a target of $4.0 billion. As of November 2015, $3.4 billion had been raised toward its fourth fund.[6]

Leveraged buyouts and growth capital.  Per this (brief) Wiki, there was also some press over a controversy regarding one of the projects, Duff Capital Advisors, which lasted about one year, period, 2008-2009.

Investment in Duff Capital Advisors[edit]

In 2009, Lindsay Goldberg received media coverage for controversies related to its investment of $500 million in seed capital in Duff Capital Advisors.[8][9] Launched by former Morgan Stanley CFO Phil Duff, Duff Capital was led by financial services executive Eileen Murray, who served as its Co-Chief Executive Officer and President.[10] Duff Capital Advisors started in March 2008 and shut down in May 2009 prior to moving into the 43,400 square feet of office space, complete with food court, showers, and other amenities, which the company had leased in an office park in Greenwich, Connecticut.[11][12] Subsequent to the closure of Duff Capital Advisors, Phillip Duff formed Massif Partners, another hedge fund; however, Lindsay Goldberg declined to make an investment in this enterprise.[13] Massif Partners went on to encounter similar challenges to Duff Capital.[14]

(For timeline comparison, the alteration in the UofP / Annenberg School of Communications financial setup involved moving $100M into a trust “fbo” (for the benefit) of UofP in 2002 and another one “fbo” USC (University of Southern California), looks like the same amount or close to it, also about the same time.)  However, they weren’t involved with the partnership, just Bessemer Trusts.  BUT, later on, you can see the investments are in funds named “Bessemer” part of the time.  [I do not recall on which tax return, but remember seeing this.  Perhaps it was on the foundation proper and not one of the ASC Trusts…Anyone is free to review; I’ve provided the EIN#s…]

But here’s an image from a UoP tax return showing that EIN# as part of its overall “related entity” operations.  I’ll show the table for the same EIN# below.

Trustees of Univ of PN EIN# 231352685 FY2014 990 Excerpt showing ASC Trust as supporting entity.  Meanwhile, see also the corresponding entity’s filing (the ASC Trust at U of PENN) FY2014 Form 990 acknowledging the Univ of Pennsylvania as its own Schedule R Related Entity (and the only one, in fact):

** Annenberg Public Education Challenge (footnote to the Foundation’s summary page)

(**18 projects in 35 states by definition indicates crossing state jurisdiction lines, which helps break down accountability with the departments of education and school districts within each state involved.  But that’s nothing particularly new in the field of public/private partnerships…)

Question:  Where are the Foundation’s Forms and audited statements for year 2015? I can understand why 2016 may not be out yet — but why not 2015? (2015 return has not shown up yet on the FoundationCenter search, either) — this is the latest year showing as of now, April 2017.  They are two to three years behind in reporting to their own openly transparent website.

Annenberg Foundation PA 2014 990PF 101 $1,663,095,893.00 23-6257083

Above represents FY2014 because at this point their FYr.=Calendar Yr. That means FY2015 isn’t posted yet, at least here (also not on their website).

Just a word on the relationship with the University of Pennsylvania and Annenberg School for Communications (started in 1958) and its endowment (and new name, Center for Public Policy) — who funded whom, and who controls whom, gets a little complicated when I read an Annenberg Foundation 2002 return stating that the “[Ann’brg.] School for Communications” had converted into a private trust. I looked up the private trust and found its initial return (2002) which shows a $100M contribution TO this trust:

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Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

April 21, 2017 at 8:43 pm

(1) Fund for Educational Excellence. (2) Foundation for Excellence in Education (or ExcelEd). (3) Alliance for Excellent Education, and (4) ConnectEd (Note the backers) and I just showed (5) Communities in Schools (Remember the subcontractors). Also Consider (6) Brown University’s AISR ~Smart Education Systems~ based on Ted [Yale, Harvard]+Nancy Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. [Publ. April 17, 2017]

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published April 17, 2017 (the day after Easter) at 19,000 words.

Tags (there would be many!) to be added later.

This post,

(1) Fund for Educational Excellence. (2) Foundation for Excellence in Education (or ExcelEd).  (3) Alliance for Excellent Education, and (4) ConnectEd (Note the backers) and I just showed (5) Communities in Schools (Remember the subcontractors). Also Consider (6) Brown University’s AISR ~Smart Education Systems~ based on Ted [Yale, Harvard]+Nancy Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. (case-sensitive short-link ending in “-6pr”),

continues from the bottom of

Three (or Four) Famous, Privately Controlled Nonprofits Who Just Wanna Transform Public Education (and Urban Populations to Practice On (case-sensitive short-link ends “-6iI”) (just published, with a long introduction, April 3, 2017 mid-day),

and represents where the writing started after deciding on that title and subject matter.

Among other questions, I first remind us (and I have the standing as a parent, former teacher across a variety of systems, and more recently, investigative blogger of nonprofits and public/private partnerships and their self-reporting of programming while concealing, withholding, or delaying until forced to, their books — i.e., holdings (cashflow, etc.) to say this with confidence):

Controlling the education (esp. public school system) = controlling the next generation = controlling the nation, including the revenue-producing options of those same generations.

By “controlling” I mean “restricting” in order to keep most of the nation in its assigned places in society — NOT in the top echelon who control the investments, and steer the systems, and train their own offspring, marrying into each others’ family, to continue doing the same generation after generation.

Look for the matching questions I have about this agenda in similar-styled box quote below.  There is a discussion and several paragraphs inbetween.

Along these topical lines, you’ll hear a lot about “closing the achievement gap.” It may come from groups pushing charter schools and more choice,* or those opposed to the same.

From generic (Google) search results, 1st and 2nd page, you can easily see the variety of domain names discussing this, from NEA (National Education Association), to PBS to Www2.ed.gov (federal Dept. of Education), to what would seem to be product-specific domain names, and others, state-specific.  I looked at several of them, and no matter where I looked, I found those so enthusiastic about closing it were operating either as tax-exempts backed by other tax-exempts — or public/private partnerships, and when debating the issue of charter schools (as I just said, above), on closer look whether those for or those against, both are recommending more investments for systems change, and typically involving digital learning platforms.

Again, this conversation also tends to be partisan, with progressives complaining about conservatives and vice-versa.  Everyone seems eager to discuss the “big bucks foundations” backing the OTHER side, or blast for-profit schools — but neither side is discussing the tax-exempt sector AS a networked sector, drawing both finances, sponsored voices, and collections of assets available for investment (wherever the privately controlled group chooses) towards that sector and away from the low-income, poor people.   [Example in this 2013 document focused on Massachusetts, [“Threat from the Right focused on Massachusetts”] but see its pp.76ff discussion of “Foundation for Excellence in Education” w/ references to Betsy DeVos and the DeVos family, Bush, Broad, Gates, and others].  From reading it, one would think there was no substantial sponsorship of education reform from progressive foundations — but I’ve seen and posted on it at the highest levels (Open Society Foundations, Omidyar Fund Network, etc.).

It seems to be off the radar to discuss that the tax-exempt status itself might be a contributing factor — as opposed to a solution — to poverty in the USA, which has now passed its 100th anniversary in taxing all individuals except those able to drastically reduce, legally evade, or illegally, dodge accountability and paying it. IF that discussion were ever to be held fairly, as I through this blog consistently have intended for it to be, whether court-connected, or gender-war-connected (both sides), or as we have here, public-education-reform-connected, the fingerpointing would be equally at both political parties.

~ ~ ~ I’ll talk more about the Achievement Gap-Closing Group Debates, reviewing some of the top-level search results on the phrase, separately. Some fascinating data on the sponsors continues to surface (well, after I dug into the Form 990s) ~ ~ ~ (link active now, but accurate only when it’s published: “Tax-Exempts Against the Achievement Gap (Accounting Details ALWAYS provide a fascinating backdrop to the Cause-connected and Controlled-Debates SPONSORED Rhetoric) with case-sensitive short-link ending “-6zO” as in “October” not as in the symbol for “zero”)“) ~ ~ ~

This “closing the achievement gap” talk does NOT refer primarily to the significant gap between the schooling of those of inherited or significant (entrepreneurially-acquired) wealth, typically private schooling from grade or high school forward and the public schools, BUT INSTEAD basically achievement gaps within and across public school systems, according to defined demographic (racial, gender) or geographic (i.e., urban/inner-city or not) sectors and with a view to eventual utilization across country lines, too.

In this sphere of discussion, schooling in USA inner-city, impoverished, disadvantaged, low-income (etc) urban areas is compared for potential program application for schooling in conflict-ridden, violent zones in other countries. Programs have been and still are being developed with a view of working internationally, not just in the USA. There is a profit and self-propagation motive, which pushes back against the actual intention to solve poverty in the USA.

What we tend to forget: public schools as fantastic market testing place (just like the family courts also have been — so many people getting divorced, forced-consumption-of services on an unprecedented scale also, just like welfare reform — it’s a remarkable market niche for those with their eyes on it.

The USA just happens to provide (to people of this mindset) an irresistably wonderful, and wonderfully large testing ground in its massive school system, and (unlike some other countries) significant public education funding too. Our compulsory education laws K-12 and our Department of Education (Federal and state levels) with corresponding budgets, and supportive, supplemental “education foundations” are already and for decades (over a century) established;  common practice.  And, we are a large country.

Having filled themselves up well here as corporate entities with wealth poured into tax-exempt foundations (family, private operating, or public charity) and through social and class connections, able to fly around for conferences and networking to (spawn) more nonprofits, many nonprofits and their backers (working closely with for-profits providing the digital or other platformed, often proprietary) are eager to spread the good news in countries where there’s less competition with educational choice [private incl. some legal forms of homeschooling; public, parochial or other religious] or savvy middle and professional classes who might over here see the profit motive involved in school-reform entities operating primarily tax-exempt.

FOR AN EXAMPLE (of US Schools being used as educational laboratories): I have recently been hunting for WestEd‘s comprehensive, annual financial reports (audited) covering ALL its activities and stating ALL is assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses to date, for a specific year as, being a Joint Powers Agency, it has to produceAnyone who can locate such a report more current than, let’s say 2010 (WestEd was formed in 1996), please submit a link in a comment!

WestEd (a JPA formed from two previously-existing JPAs under California’s Joint Powers Authority Act; roughly translated, it’s a government entity under which citizens have no direct rights, although it is public-funded, probably mostly public-funded). runs an REL (Research) Regional Education Laboratories).  (The image this time = the link, also).

WestEd has been subjected to at least two negative audits I found while looking for their CAFR.  One, from 1998 (USDOE OIG) I already posted.  Here’s another one from the NSF: Audit Report OI8-08-1-011:

Attached is the final audit report, prepared by Mayer Hoffman McCann P.C., an independent public accounting firm, on the audit of NSF award number ESI-0119790 awarded to WestEd. The audit covers NSF-funded costs claimed from September 1, 2001 to June 30, 2007, aggregating to approximately $11.05 million of NSF direct funded costs and $1.25 million of claimed cost sharing. NSF requested and OIG agreed to conduct an audit at WestEd because of findings in prior A-133 and other NSF audits that identified that the policies and procedures WestEd used were inadequate to monitor and track award activity for subawards, cost sharing, and participant support.

The auditors identified four significant compliance and internal control deficiencies in WestEd’s financial management practice that contributed to the questioned costs, of which we consider the first to be a material weakness. Additionally, the first three of these control weaknesses were previously identified and reported in NSF OIG and A-133 single audit reports. Given the systemic and continuing nature of these compliance and internal control deficiencies it is likely that NSF’s eleven other current awards amounting to $13.6 million, as well as future awards are impacted by the same weaknesses.

…In case there was any question whether the US public school system, at public cost, is being subjected to “R&D” monitored by government agencies who have questionable internal control (reporting weaknesses).  SO DO MANY OF THE NONPROFIT NETWORKS WISHING TO FIX THE SCHOOLS, but the only real auditor of this sector as a sector seems to be the IRS, and public who get around to figuring out it might be a good idea to research.

This all seems obvious to me, but readers who question this are welcome to submit comments.

For more indicators of school-reform as “development” in conflict-ridden places (USA, Mexico, or on other continents) — also resembling the Boston Consulting Group, as I call it, “Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan” philosophy (see recent post with that phrase in it) of being the first or among the first in some new field and so able to define the terms and dominate it, as well as employ the “LBO” (Leveraged Buy-Out) practice on public institutions (by getting on the decision-making groups — for a private corporation it’d be board of directors; but for public institutions, it would require having councils to steer those “public/private collaborations” (or if more official, “partnerships”)  —  please review some of my earlier posts (2016) on the International Institute for Peace at Rutgers (http://iip.rutgers.edu), which lists the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (or similar title) in Southern California associated with it.  Notice the language.
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Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

April 17, 2017 at 11:45 am

A Tale of Two LLCs (and One Brown University Institute): Fronting the Causes, Burying-Moving-Renaming-Abandoning/Reinstating-Geographically Dispersing and Building Umbrella Organizations (a.k.a. Shelters) for the Networks’ Actual Fiscal Identities and Relationships [Publ. April 11, 2017]

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A Tale of Two LLCs (and One Brown University Institute): Fronting the Causes, Burying-Moving-Renaming-Abandoning/Reinstating-Geographically Dispersing and Building Umbrella Organizations (a.k.a. Shelters) for the Networks’ Actual Fiscal Identities and Relationships (post title with case-sensitive short-link ending “-5gG”).

This post was drafted (Late Dec. 2016) after I’d discovered the Rhode Island (Brown University-related nonprofit) component which prompted the sarcastic but accurate title.  I BELIEVE THE RECORD SHOULD SHOCK ANYONE OF NORMAL SENSIBILITY (ETHICS) AND WILL ALERT THE PUBLIC TO WHO AND WHAT IT’S DEALING WITH WHEN ANY OF THESE INVOLVED NONPROFITS, PARTNERSHIPS, NETWORKS OR WELL-KNOWN PROFESSIONALS (not to mention sponsoring foundations’ leadership) PROMOTES ANSWERS OR SOLUTIONS TO KNOWN EDUCATION CRISES IN THE URBAN SCHOOLS.  WAKE UP!!  


WHO IS MONITORING INDIVIDUALLY, or COLLECTIVELY, each network, and each networks’ financial activities?  These are set up so as to avoid such monitoring by widely distributing funding and responsibility throughout the network, then (predictably) citing the various networks, or common leadership favorably on each other’s websites.  Public officials (“civil servants”) are also often involved in board leadership.  Placement at prominent universities (such as Brown — not the only one) also discourages criticism and hinders follow-up financial accountability.

The Brown University connection has at least two major founding components. One is The Annenberg Institute for School Reform itself (“AISR”), habitually described as an “organization” (but if so, where is it on the R.I. list of corporations, and if it’s a nonprofit, what is its EIN#?  Is it somehow exempt from filing tax returns so we may follow the funding and redistribution of efforts to transform the operating paradigm of the nation’s schools?)##  The other is the nonprofit Coalition for Essential Schools, Inc.,(“CES”) formed 1998 in Rhode Island and spawning more networks (organized regionally a few named after their states) by the founder (?) of the Institute.

~~~In addition, board members of one or both are typically involved in other significant, similarly-purposed foundations or nonprofits, often functioning also as networks (such as Public Education Network (“PEN, Inc.”)**  or — found in Ohio — the evanescent “Forum for Education and Democracy, Inc.” and its “developing” nonprofit “Common Ground Foundation,” which I discovered and referenced briefly on the post named in the next paragraph (waiting to be published in association with this one)).  Board members in common, or board members moving from one to another also occurs.

**A Public Education Network person (Wendy Puriefoy) was found on the AISR board.##  PEN member organizations (link above is from “Issuelab” and displays 75 members) include the San Francisco Education Fund (“SF EdFund.org”) which comes up in this post also.  If you look (PEN link again) on the right side, there’s an article under “VUE” image, featuring the Annenberg Institute for School Reform working alongside PEN.  Clicking on that link, we can see (per “Issuelab”) that AISR co-published with the six (6) following organizations:


This organization has co-published titles with …

You can look these up at 990finder.FoundationCenter.org (or CitizenAudit.org or similar sites).  I JUST DID.  By doing so, I have a quick-look at location, entity age, assets, and (Pt VIII revenues) of any tax return, relative sources of income, government grants vs. private vs. “Program service revenues” and the buying and/or selling of the massive securities most of the above already own.  From looking through Form 990 (IRS filing) tax returns over time, I will also quickly see whether these assets have been increasing substantially in the last two years (because that source produced last 3 years’ results in any search), whether there are similar but not identically-named entities around (and if so, who’s the largest) and legal domicile — by click-through; the State displayed on level one may not be the legal domicile.   These returns sometimes also reveal (on a Schedule R or otherwise in earlier years) related or disregarded entities with leadership and sometimes even real estate (office addresses) or employees in common.

Aspen Institute = Since 1949 – EIN#84-0399006 = Legal Domicile CO (despite “DC” address) = latest Total (Gross) assets $278M, main source or revenues — by far, private.  Substantial increase in assets from prior year = substantial increase in contributions.

Nellie Mae Education Foundation = Since 1998 – EIN# 0407255323  = Legal Domicile MA (It’s in Quincy, MA), Gross Assets over $500M.  It got $25M startup capital in 1998 and is living off this (contributions, nil), and it’s funding some of the other entities, including Annenberg, CCE (above), Great Schools Partnership (shown below) and more.  Latest return showed $19M of grants distributed. Its Total Assets are decreasing year by year recently.

It’s not quite that simple (I did some drill-downs), it involves “Sallie Mae” (SLM Holdings) which represents a privatized government operation originally dealing in federally-guaranteed student loans — bought out Nellie Mae Corporation (which had already created a “secondary market” in the same).

[See Wiki for active links, and further down on it for “controversies”] SLM Corporation (commonly known as Sallie Mae; originally the Student Loan Marketing Association) is a publicly traded U.S.[2] corporation that provides consumer banking. Its nature has changed dramatically since it was set up in 1973. At first, it was a government entity that serviced federal education loans. It then became private and started offering private student loans, although at one point it had a contract to service federal loans. The company’s primary business is originating, servicing, and collecting private education loans. The company also provides college savings tools such as its Upromise Rewards business and online planning for college tools and resources. Sallie Mae previously originated federally guaranteed student loans originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).[3] and worked as a servicer and collector of federal student loans on behalf of the Department of Education. The company now offers private education loans and manages more than $12.97 billion in assets. Sallie Mae employs 1,400 individuals at offices across the U.S.[4][5] On April 30, 2014, Sallie Mae spun off its loan servicing operation and most of its loan portfolio into a separate, publicly traded entity called Navient Corporation. Navient is the largest servicer of federal student loans and acts as a collector on behalf of the Department of Education…

This was used (so it’s said) to start up (fund) Nellie Mae Education Foundation in a large way and “free it to do its philanthropy.”  I saw quickly that any startup which about Year 1 gets $25M AND has “$143M” in program services already (??) after which their investment proceeds grow exponentially, has something a little “unique” going on.  There was a Nellie Mae, Inc., but the privately held corporations preceded the public foundation.  And they are dealing with the student loan industry — and the assets (even if in the form of debt) is phenomenal in size, obviously.  Investment Fees and salaries for board members of the nonprofits (who it even says, tend to be board members of those likely to get grants from it, as are the committee who recommends who gets to be on the board …..).

This interesting history goes back to the 1970s and 1980s and crosses major economic changes of those times, some including the word “bailout” and others “privatization” which of course was a primary characteristic of the 1996 Welfare reform act PRWORA.   I expect to post on it soon, in part because the money to fund some of the Northeast region (USA) “redesign the schools” networks  — of course intended to go national, if not digital and distributed-network along proprietary standardized ideas facilitated by smaller (sponsored) nonprofits — if it had federal origins in the first place — that’s public backing originally.

Sallie Mae (after purchasing Nellie Mae Corporation) kept some of the same leadership (such as Lawrence O’Toole) also on the foundation, has had its own controversies since then per the Wiki; and this foundation, while I don’t know if it’s also been controversial, I do know what I just saw on the tax returns (including moving millions of dollars (recent tax return – $94Million) into assets which then were moved to Central American and Caribbean investments (and among the “other Investments or Investments Other Securities, probably more are also offshore) while helping some disadvantaged students — and LOTS of the School Redesign 501©3s

Annenberg Foundation = if you can spell “LARGE” that will do. Heinz Foundation — no doubt the same.   (Any others, you can look up yourself. I know I have started.)

##I did find (while writing this) the corporate filing for AISR, valuable information as that also shows current and (back to only 2006) prior boards of directors, i.e., powerful connections.  I did not, yet, nail down whether it has an EIN# separate from that of Brown University itself, or must file tax returns associated with that EIN# and that business ID.  Screenprints and documentation shown below.  Why it matters:  $50 million dollars is a  lot of money for “startup” (so is the original, $5 million dollars).  Are our public school systems and private universities now just “for sale” to the very highest bidder?  ARE we, that is, is the USA, operating still as a republic, with government “of, by and for the people” and through representation of us WHERE WE LIVE AND WORK, thus helping fund all public schools,  in effect, or not?

However all these organizations may describe and promote themselves, my basic classifications START with, is it: (#1) Organized as a government entity (which is tax-exempt as an entity, regardless of its Revenues to Expenses or Assets to Liabilities status) or (#2) if not government it is by definition organized and/or incorporated as non-government that is, PRIVATE.   Private LLCs and “Inc.”s have to declare a legal domicile, and when regsitered in that legal domicile whether or not they are Stock, or profit — or non-stock, not-for profit, is identified.  So second question/classification for any PRIVATE entity is whether or not it’s  tax-exempt.

Notice above, that the list of co-publishers with the AISR are a looking like tax-exempts,  (anything labeled “Foundation,” will be and I did see the “Center for Collaborative Education is a nonprofit; leaving only two labeled “Institute” or “Program” to categorize.  Put another way, here are two images from ISSUELab (organized by “the Foundation Center”) on PEN (Public Education Network) — one describes it.  The second shows links (with thumbnails and a mini-abstract for each) “PEN” on the left, and on the right, a colorful image labeled “VUE”  (will show up again in this post) and an abstract referencing the AISR at Brown partnering with Pen on a National Commission (etc.).  VUE = Visions for Urban Education.  Brown University is private, and tax-exempt and its return is shown in this post because I was looking for the financials of the AISR “at” Brown University.

Basic principle — look for the financial footprint in a form that can be compared to other entities of similar classifications (private, or government), and which will show (in particular) where the assets are being held and invested while the organization is busy seeking more revenues besides those already available from the investments.  Notice how money is handled, and reporting.  Here, we are talking people that are declaring themselves (and their networks) as “the” problem-solvers for public school, in which the public has already so much invested. How do they report?  DO they report? Are they reliable, ethical, honest, and transparent in deed, or just in self-description?

If the government is to be representative, that, is held accountable, then the finances MUST be available to view by those paying for the services.  When so many obstacles to locating them are placed, while talk of “deficit” and lack abounds, and the benefits of streamlining, standardizing (etc.) and compromising on that balance-of-power governmental model is promoted — nationwide — then that is the underlying issue, not just “effectiveness” of teaching approaches a, b, c, or evidence-based-according-to-entity-XYZ “e.”

There is a back-story to both AISR and CES (the Rhode Island nonprofit), much, with references links, is found on a post I’m now publishing (about three-and-a-half months and a whole lot of lookups on similar situations later). Its name: (1) Fund for Educational Excellence. (2) Foundation for Excellence in Education (or ExcelEd).  (3) Alliance for Excellent Education, and (4) ConnectEd (Note the backers) and I just showed (5) Communities in Schools (Remember the subcontractors). Also Consider (6) Brown University’s AISR ~Smart Education Systems~ based on Ted [Yale, Harvard]+Nancy Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools. (case-sensitive short-link ending in “-6pr”),

From that post, referencing this one:

Here in this post, I also added a section on a sixth nonprofit (CES, started out of Brown University in 1984, followed by AISR, an Institute named after its well-known benefactor at Brown, started in 1993) on which [I, “Let’s Get Honest”]] had done some previous “drill-downs” (and was appropriately shocked at the corporate filing history), but not, as I recall, posted yet.  This is mentioned here because I feel it significant. It also demonstrates again whose money (such as Walter H. Annenberg of publishing wealth, starting in Philadelphia) is behind some of these reform efforts.

Overall, and sometimes individually (see last post!), these are networks and as nonprofits not necessarily huge (billion-dollar, or hundred-million-dollar) themselves, still have elite and influential backers

I am back here to check on this Dec. 2016 draft and reference it from another extensive section on the AISR/CES/Brown U. situation on the other post.

This situation had gripped my gut on the brazen “in-your-face” flaunting of basic corporate filing rules, and accountability for finances received and (re) distributed while skipping the state [East Coast to West Coast]– then coming back as itself.   The related entities (some of which I’ve also looked at) and boards of directors on similar, or cited by this institute (or its founder in his bio blurb) entities are also engaged in “odd” behavior as nonprofits, I found, between Dec. 2016 and April 2017.

Also meanwhile (between when I first flagged it and now)  the entity (“CES”) I’ve been complaining about on this blog has shut itself down after returning (per IRS returns) from California to Rhode Island entity address, getting another “we’re going to revoke you in 60 days for non-filing!” message after having just recently gotten a special legislative dispensation to avoid penalties and be considered retroactively as if never-revoked despite a baker’s dozen (looks like 13) years of non-filing (if they paid the fees and provided the annual reports — a very simple filing which could easily, for any honest entity, have been mailed in) then moving up to Maine and voting (Feb. 2017 only) to finally dissolve itself.  No, I am not making this up! (will be posted again, below):

CES 2012 REINSTATEMT Waiving All Penalties (for 13 Annual Rpts X20 Dollars fees only!) by Legislative Action (Jan 2012) From CES Filings @ Rh Island (several pages — not just the two images from it shown.  Check it out!)

CES Mar2001 Revocatn CERTIFICATE (1p) from RI (printedApr6 2017)

This is R.I. Business Entity #95304 (or, “000095304” and searchable that it dissolved on 2-21-2017 and its showing an address in Maine (images also shown below on this post):

482 CONGRESS STREET, SUITE 500A PORTLAND, ME 04101 USA, “the Heart of Portland’s financial District“(Loopnet.com has a photo) and where officer/director’s David Ruff has a “Great Schools Partnership, Inc. going (formerly contracted with CES for management services, says one of CES’ tax returns in the waning years).

Great Schools Partnership was formed in 2008 (CES founder Ted Sizer d. 2009), last year Gov’t grants $1M, private $2M+ and “Schools contracts” $947K.  Meanwhile, grants out from the entity were $610K, going in $31K and lesser installments back TO schools for “NextGen … Initiative.”  Looks like some are charter schools.

FY2014, David Ruff was paid $124K + benefits, alongside just one other FT officer (no trustees work more than 1hr/week) paid also over $100K.  Entity started up with $1M funding and Exec Director (Ruff) salary was then only $48K (FY2008 “initial/address change” GSP Tax Return)

Total results: 3. Search Again. (similarly named entity in TN isn’t acting similarly though).

Great Schools Partnership ME 2015 990 37 $2,562,643.00 26-3834610
Great Schools Partnership ME 2014 990 24 $1,905,627.00 26-3834610
Great Schools Partnership ME 2013 990 23 $1,000,668.00 26-3834610

A bill to forgive CES, a “transform the schools”-nonprofit  (who meanwhile went “AWOL” to California) its 12 years’ non-filing (i.e., “truancy”) and vacate its corporate revocation — if it catches up now and pays the fees (but, no penalties). Meanwhile, separately (not shown here) an nonprofit copying the CES concept formed in Calif in 2005 (SFCESS), didn’t register as a charity until 2010 and in 2011 (when CES had returned to RI as an address) the incorporator of SFCESS (Gregory Peters) is added in 2011 to CES board of directors. Look at the list of years!

(…looks like David Ruff is Exec Dir. — not a board member):

Great Schools Partnership (locale: Maine) Exec Dir David Ruff (viewed 4-2017 from website) still listed as Treasurer? of the recalcitrant (but forgiven by the State of Rhode Island) Coalition for Essential Schools














OK, a bit on Great Schools Partnership, Inc. (Principals, Predecessors, and Public Education Officials On Board)

I saw that the first (before its first Tax Return showing an address change) street address of “Great Schools Partnership” (in Maine) matched a “Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute” (<==I looked at its 2015 return and recent audited financial statements — holding onto $20-$30M assets while donating $1M or so out in scholarships to Maine high school seniors, etc.; it was formed in 1999 (per tax return) or 1995 (per website) when the Senator retired from his more public pursuits.  David Ruff was Marketing for this institute at some point (next image), and the GSP 2008 return (under Pt XI, Adjustments) also shows it received $177K from the institute.  In addition, it had $1)M startup funds.

I see what they are doing, but that would have to be a separate post!  However, it does seem that GSP is an outgrowth of the Sen GeorgeJMitchell….Institute, which in its earliest shown (2002, 2003) returns says that the Maine Community Foundation was a related entity (and had a shared employee).  In addition, a “Duke Albanese” (later found presenting with David Ruff, and I learned “Education Commissioner” for the state) was in 2003 (at least) shown as among the highest-paid (over $50K) contractors, which IRS forms back then required to be listed.  While the main purpose of the SGJMInstitute is declared to be providing scholarships to Maine Seniors to attend college, a secondary purpose (and the grants show this) is transformation of the secondary schools.

In fact, this (From Bancroft & Company, LLC, School Improvement Efforts Under the Radar) (Bancroft being also a board member of GSP) calls the GSP an “affiliate” of the Mitchell Institute. (see the “About” page to realize that: Bancroft comes from a consulting (McKinsey & Company) background, is currently into growth equity investments and “coincidentally” is on the boards of this and yet another school-reform nonprofit in Maine. If you also click below on “Educate Maine” and read about the two principals first listed (J. Duke Albanese and Ron Bancroft) it’s clear that (like Sen. George J. Mitchell) Albanese attended the elite, almost-Ivy, historic (it pre-dates the formation of the State of Maine!) Bowdoin College — which only went co’ed (let the women in) in the 1970s… Kind of like Brown University….).

Ron left McKinsey in the mid-eighties for a simpler life on the coast of Maine, his native state. After several years in which he was a principal in the buyout of a large shipbuilder and the owner of a small wood products company, he established Bancroft & Company as a way to bring the value of his wide range of business experience to smaller companies.

In more than twenty years of strategic work with growth companies in a range of industries, Ron has established several long-term client relationships that have been mutually satisfying. His clients have tended to grow and prosper. They attribute part of that success to Ron’s unique ability to “value add” strategic facilitation to their businesses.  [[LBOs and Turnarounds — that Harvard/Bain/Bridgespan model I’ve been posting on !! Done with companies, why shouldn’t it also be done with schools?]]

At this stage of his career Ron is principally focused on Advisory and Board relationships in the Private Equity field. He is a Strategic Advisor to Industrial Growth Partners, a San Francisco-based firm that specializes in acquiring engineering-driven mid-size manufacturing companies.

In addition to his consulting practice, Ron has long been involved in education reform. He is a founder and former Chairman of both the Maine Coalition for Excellence in Education, a business/education coalition, and its successor organization, Educate Maine. He also serves on the Board of Great Schools Partnership, a leader in bringing proficiency-based education to New England High Schools.

Leadership and service have been consistent themes throughout Ron’s life. He is an honors graduate of the United States Naval Academy. ===>>>A Rhodes Scholar, Ron earned a Master’s Degree in Politics and Economics from Oxford University. <<===

GSP (Great Schools Partnership) website shows Ron Bancroft as President currently.  The latest tax return (above) is only FY2014, in which he is just a board member. Either way, the officers (not board members/trustees) are the ones paid.  Probably Bancroft is more than independently self-sufficient by now, and doesn’t need salary from this pipsqueak (size-wise) nonprofit…

And, these foundations (the Institute and the Maine Foundation) are obviously, bulking up their assets and paying a significant administrative overhead to their subcontractors or employees (such as investment managers) in the process of tossing some $$ towards some deserving high school seniors.  Or so the tax returns seems to narrate, over time.

Total results: 3Search Again.

Mitchell Institute ME 2014 990 41 $33,753,595.00 01-0523390
Mitchell Institute ME 2013 990 29 $31,695,095.00 01-0523390
Senator George J. Mitchell Scholarship Research Institute ME 2015 990 41 $35,840,829.00 01-0523390

ShowingD. Ruff association with a pre-existing nonprofit associated with a well-known Senator. See also a New England Secondary School Consortium (“NESSC” -ME, NH, VT, RI, and CT) [run BY GreatSchoolsPartnership and out of the same street address] and pushing of “NextGen” programming (see NGLC which  leads to Educause.edu, behind which find, predictably, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation). GSP, meanwhile, has trademarked something called “iWalkthrough.” In general these networks coach and professionally train, technically assist (etc.) SCHOOLS. GSP website explains how Policy, Practice, and Public Perception must all be addressed at once in order for it to succeed (like a Blitzkrieg of School Reform?)

GSP, Inc. a nonprofit gets a trade-marked product: “iWalkthrough.” With, of course, different applications (see image).

“iWalkthrough” applications

I understand that nonprofits focused on particular causes are going to have or certainly can have, boards of directors from many different states.  That’s not the only issue here — the issue is when their filings are not legitimate, and they are intricately involved with major public systems with intent to alter them while such institutions themselves aren’t the most open about their own funding, either.   A major issue here is overall loss of accountability for public funding of the public schools BY the public who (most of us) inhabit them, came through them, or our kids are likely to.  They have been part of the landscape for so long; perhaps our standards of expecting accountability have simply faded?So this post, after a brief insert on the AISR as an institute (not its founding, etc. which is on the other post as a subsection), showing where it is and what it’s doing, I am looking primarily (top part) at a single nonprofit, “Coalition for Essential Schools,” and at its filings.  NOTE: I am not looking at the related (in name, not as identified on tax returns) 501©3s in other places.  There is more than one “Coalition for Essential Schools” when geographic regions or state names are added to the term.  Part of the networking plan was setting these up, in addition to AISR itself also (see other post or their self-reporting) setting up operations in other states also. The target is particularly urban school districts.

990Finder ~Coalitn of Essential Schools~ Namesearch=>Results 1 page only~3 regions, 2 states + home org (2017-04-02 at 7.26PM


Not shown from a simple name search are no doubt other entities using the same concept (just as with marriage/fatherhood programming or domestic violence coalitions — the naming conventions of any nonprofit may change, while running same curriculum or operating similar if not identical programs).

I also found a San Francisco Coalition of Essential Schools (website SFCESS.org) formed (incorporated) in 2005, didn’t register til hunted down to do so by the California OAG (in 2010) and it seems, operating out of a street address which is a school building, i.e., a private entity out in public-purpose property.  I didn’t research whether the school owns or is leasing said building, but I did look up its corporate filing (SOS) and at its tax returns, + charitable details** after registering in California (going “legit.”).

**==> SF Coalitn of EssentlSmall Schools (3guys in SF+Berkeley) had to be almost hunted down to register+ are delinquent FOUNDING Dox do not include Founding Dox, EIN# 562544544 Details print.

These foundations were listed as partnering with one of the list below (from Los Angeles):

see “powerfuled.org” “About” page.

Besides sharing boards of directors and ideas, what else do SF CESS and CES (and maybe GSP) have in common?  Well, the CES website calls them “Affiliate Centers” — here’s a list:

(see link. Notice both GSP, Inc. (in Maine) and SFCESS (in California) are on this list. I looked also at the one in Boston (Center for Collaborative…) and will also take a quick look at the one in Southern Calif, whose website said it was started in 2003, but has already changed its name.


Formerly, says its footer banner at “powerfuled.org,” “Los Angeles Small Schools Center.” It cites powerful foundation partners, including — remember, readers? — James Irvine Foundation, California Endowment, California Community Foundation, and more…Footer says, started in 2003, but California Sec. of State says (showing the new name, not the old) in 2007.[See “CharitableDetails [Speckled History]” ~ Links will be active!]..

<==[Also in Caption of “Center for Powerful Schools” icon, referring to a Los Angeles Entity which was behaving something like SFCESS. I found discrepancies between reports to the OAG and its IRS filings, as well as having received a grant from Connected: The Center for College and Career” (see my other post) dated before IT registered as a Calif. charity, either… Yegads! Char Details [Speckled History!] for LASCC~CentrForPowerfulSchools (EIN# 260326342 CaEntity (2007) 2995924]

SFCESS — (not the Los Angeles entity referenced in the image below) After not registering for 5 years in a row (until 2010), as can be seen by the date “Jan. 2011” in first several rows of “Schedule” section above, it’s AGAIN delinquent — for not turning in tax returns recently, when turning in their annual required “RRF” (Charitable Registration, with fee and listing of (a) any government grants received, (b) if an audit was done — basically a one-page sheet of Yes/No questions with Header info identifying entity name, its mailing address, three categories of identifying #s (EIN#, Corporate Entity#, Charitable Registry #) and on a single line, its assets and revenues for the years.  This form is to be signed and dated by a responsible officer or director, and mailed in within 4-½ months of fiscal year end, with a sliding-scale fee.For a fiscal year ending June 30, which SFCESS shows, their RRFs would be due mid-November Fiscal year 2005 (its first year) ended 6/30/2006 = RRF was due by 11/15/2006.  Look at the pattern shown on the charitable returns (pdf link above).  In addition to simply not registering OR sending in any RRFs for 5 years, it thereafter continues to send them ALL (but one — year 2010 I think) in two or three seasons (about a half year or more) late, year after year.  And for the last two years shown, not accompanied by a Form 990:

SFCESS It takes the Calif OAG FIVE (5) ltrs to get it to register!

SFCESS Charitable Details (link to multi-page printout above) shows its most recent status still “Delinquent.” Also notice the date “January 2011” on Schedule for turning in documents (sev’l yrs in a row)

SFCESS (more recent filings, “Schedule” section) show an “N” where a “Y” should be for tax return also accompanied the RRF filing. (Notice revenues). Also, late filing of RRFS, and (Related Documents, 1st two rows) show “CT-2010.” CT = Charitable Registration (finally) and 2010 RRF-1 (i.e., the first RRF sent in, looks like!). In the pdf link I provided, the “Related Doc’t” section links should be active (clickable to view contents)

Next comes a substantial section here on SFCESS and three entities it’s partnering with (SFUSD, WestEd (which keeps coming up in these discussions, usually as a subcontractor — but here, as a “partner”), and SF Educational Fund or “SF EdFund.”).  Those three entities are mentioned by SFCESS on its most recent (available) tax return).

AFTER discussing SFUSD (showing some of its revenue sources, with a few images and how it advertises (or rather, doesn’t) its financial statements, I review who/what is the JPA (Joint Powers Agency) WestEd.

WestEd literally doesn’t seem to provide its own comprehensive annual audited financial statements  on its website AT ALL, but I did locate a 1998 OIG Audit of WestEd shortly after it was formed, showing initial practice in administering two MAJOR RELs (Research Education Laboratories) and purchasing and managing a building in Los Alamitos, CA (near Los Angeles) and in San Francisco, shows massive cheating on several fronts.  That is, per the US DOE OIG at the time.  I did locate a proposal (RFP) for someone to produce those statements for 2017, and if all goes well, 2018, and 2019 by WestEd, which characterized its annual revenue as $160 million.

I also found through listening to the “PR rhetoric” on WestEd’s “Wiki,” that it was filing trademarks for the developed products or services, i.e., teaching methods;  A simple search located 21 trademarks filed by WestEd in its, so far, short life.  One of them was shared with a single woman using a dba to imitate being a company (but, it was just a dba), with a B.A. from SF State in “Wisdom and Resiliency,” a Teaching Credential, and several certifications along the lines of executive coaching.  That is shown, leaving a large question mark:  Why did WestEd, recently, decide to start sharing its trademark status and fronting this individual with at best a moderate level of education from a local state school, and not even a legitimate incorporated business to her name?  Or was that the main point?

Then I look at SF EdFund (which was new to me) and discovered that two nonprofits started in 1964 and 1979, respectively did a 2009 merger when one’s assets were around $7 million, and that the originally named “SF EdFund,” being the non-survivor, left behind its old EIN# giving the surviving one (formerly “SF School Volunteers”) the now-unused business name of “San Francisco Educational Fund”). So the EIN track record of the current SFCESS partnership doesn’t pre-date 2009; however as SFCESS started in 2005, who knows whether it maybe dealt with the prior one.

AFTER all that, which takes a while, I then show how SFCESS — with which the above three entities (SFUSD, SF Edfund, and WestEd) gladly formalized partnership/s, at least as of FY2014 — did not register as a California Charity for fully five years after incorporating and beginning to receive assets — in fact, until forced to.   That this just doesn’t seem to faze its new and powerful partners (one of them a JPA even) is a reflection on them also.

I though this might be a simple task, to profile one “SF CESS” entity as a characterization of its program model which seems clearly taken from the Rhode Island-originated “CES” or “Coalition of Essential Schools.”   It was in concept, just long and somewhat tedious to present.  But  — fascinating.

AFTER all this (and written before it) comes my discussion of the AISR (in Rhode Island at Brown University) and, below it, the Rhode-Island initiated (I think!) “CES” both associated with Ted (and Nancy) Sizer.  CES behavior was — if possible — as a reporting entity, even worse, which evidence I have also posted.  

Towards the bottom third? of the post comes the “Two LLCs” (in Midwestern states) material also referenced in the post.  All told, we are looking now at 17,000 words, unless I “export” a section of it.

If you simply read through this post, including most of the annotations on those annotated images (i.e., backup for what I’m saying) I doubt that: school districts, nonprofits, tax-exempt foundations, possibly Ivy League Universities or elected public officials working in or at any of the above may never seem the same again.  

And perhaps a curiosity about the “RELs” (Regional Education Laboratories) run by WestEd — and possibly other Education-related JPAs — I hope will arise to the point of finding financial statements and where USDOE (or NSF, or US HHS) OIG audits exist, reading them.

If so, I’ve done half my job. These are NOT what they are portraying themselves as throughout — problem-solvers.  People lie, organizations may also exaggerate, or cheat, on their tax returns, but putting it together, the “Cold, Hard Facts” have a story to tell.  The other half is, what to do about it, and that I believe is an issue of government financing, i.e., taxation, and whether or not others can tear themselves away from the daily and often disturbing news (Yes, I read it, too!) and take a hard look at this kind of evidence — and “each one teach one” to the point it is collectively understood and evaluated.  

Because without accountability, we have no balance of power between government and those government.  Trust me when I say, don’t wait on your local legislators or legislatures to broach this subject matter!  They want more, better, bigger, and more positive-press-friendly public/private partnerships based on scarcity of public resources.

How about plugging the accountability holes first?  Why shouldn’t delinquent organizations be held accountable to admit they exist, and show their financials?  Why shouldn’t the public have a grasp on the scope of Joint Powers Authorities (and Agencies) and what this does to the relationship between local government (citizens) and federal contracts and grants on major infrastructure projects?

Why should we have, overall, school systems which are “too big to fail” (though they do), war over them along political (Left/Right) lines and no one minding the back office operations in the Regional Education Laboratories?

Stop taking so many public proclamations at face value, i.e., “on faith.”  Start calling enough of them out ,and possibly others will get the message.  I can’t do this alone (or, as a volunteer!).

Thanks for patience and reading tenacity this time

// Let’s Get Honest 4/9/2017

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Three (or Four) Famous, Privately Controlled Nonprofits Who Just Wanna Transform Public Education (and Urban Populations to Practice On) [Publ. April 3, 2017]

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Three (or Four) Famous, Privately Controlled Nonprofits Who Just Wanna Transform Public Education (and Urban Populations to Practice On) (case-sensitive short-link ends “-6iI”)

Intro added right before hitting “Publish”:

This is a detailed post, under 10,000 words only because I broke off the bottom third (where it started) for separate publication.  It has at least two other spinoff posts one of which was already published on 3/30/2017.  I hope that by publishing several on similar topics in fast sequence, some common sense and raised awareness of just how many, and how deep are the pockets, of the school transformation networks (plural) with their subcontractor friends from the consulting field, in combination with of course proprietary technology platforms, are fully functional and effectively ARE transforming the landscape.  Another term for this would be “development” as it occurs by developed countries upon “under-developed” or developing ones.

We should acknowledge that “the world’s THE stage”;  while these typically operate in the US, their foundation backers often do not.  Many of the concepts for application on the US public schools — a vast resource for testing grounds for this and that pilot, and also representing compulsory consumption of products & services (for most, unless they have the privilege or option of alternate forms of K-12 education under U.S. law) came from England, Germany — from Europe, countries with peerages, titles of honor, and sometimes a national religion going back centuries, which the US does not have.

Careers and career professionals in the field of school transformation do exist, often working for the largest private foundations around (I found another one today, in a different network with, predictably, a doctorate (and B.A. degree) in psychology, government task force positions, and numerous foundation positions, including at the Annie E. Casey Foundation).  The U.S. is being “developed” every bit as much as other countries, but in a more different manner and sold as solving our social problems.  Most troubling to me is attempting to turn local public schools into community centers, rather than giving equal consideration to the possibility that this is a top-heavy, expensive model just too tempting for the profiteers to avoid.

These networks, private influence (non-representational particularly of local people) on school districts and most schools’ continuing, ever-present search for more money and programming which might bring that in or justify it, are here, probably to stay.  I advise becoming well-aware of the proliferating nonprofits while they are still around to be tracked.  (Some are starting to close themselves down, and the track record may not be around forever).

I am not writing from the sidelines on this issue.  Although I may not have lived in many of the states where nonprofits I discuss are headquartered, I have lived in several different states in the USA over the decades, and both East Coast, MidWest, and West Coast.  I am a parent, I know exactly what it is like to be a single parent with a college degree attempting to head my own children in the same direction on scholarships.  Unfortunately, also having had to deal with marital domestic violence, part of this time I also had do this while dealing with the usual choice such (mothers) get:  (a) the abuse itself (if in the relationship) and (b) the family court litigation (if one exits the relationship and becomes in ANY way, sharpe or form involved with the social services in the process, bringing on the child support, marriage/fatherhood factor into the mix in any divorce or custody proceedings).  In this context, I had NO real free time, and became acutely aware of the relative efficiency of different forms of schooling upon the household as well as (which was not even in question at the time) the relative levels of achievement and involvement in so-called “extracurricular” activities my children could be in, given a two-parent household with a commute every single weekend.
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