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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:

“CommunityLearningPartnership” ℅ Ken Rolling, at street address previously reported as “Annenberg Fndtn” (re: CPEF donor FY2000)

Founding Program Sites

Beginning in 2009, the Community Learning Partnership concentrated on building local partnerships that would result in community college degree and certificate programs in Community Change Studies. In its initial four-year implementation phase, the Partnership experimented with the building of educational and skill-building programs in four cities.  In Los Angeles, we worked with CDTech, a nonprofit committed to organizing and development in South Central Los Angeles, to broaden its educational programs to include community organizing.  CDTech launched the Los Angeles Community Organizing Academy in collaboration with Los Angeles Trade and Technical College and engaged dozens of students and community leaders. 

In northern California, we helped DeAnza College, which enrolls students from San Jose and Silicon Valley and is one of the nation’s premier community colleges, as it planned and launched a Certificate in Leadership and Social Change in 2012, and quickly began enrolling and graduating students. 

In 2011, Syd Beane, a former colleague of Andy Mott’s at the Center for Community Change, connected the partnership he organized between the Native American community and organizations in the Twin Cities, and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) to the expanding Community Learning Partnership network. Soon after, Syd a nationally known American Indian community organizer, community development specialist, and educator, joined the Community Learning Partnership staff as National Field Director. The partnership in the Twin Cities has led to the creation of a new A.S. Degree in Community Development at MCTC.  It now is developing a pathway to further education in organizing and development at Metro State, a four-year public university located in St. Paul.

Reminds me in part of what AISR was doing over at Brown University in the previous century.

Typical of this and other sites — plenty of news and rich color theme, NO link identifying any financials, but that doesn’t stop the “DONATE” button connected to a paypal account (i.e., noncommittal as to whether Community Learning Partners is or is not a legitimate business entity (or even a nonprofit), or a fiscal agent of some other entity serves as its fiscal agent. In other words, what is “it” corporate, association, nonprofit, 501©3-wise?  Or is it someone else’s project with a named website that happens to match a street address in Chicago characterized as belonging to the Annenberg Foundation about 17 yrs ago. (2017 now – Yr 2000 the CPEF return).

The “Our National Partners” page only lists two: Emerald Cities Collaborative (formed 2009) which shows Kenneth C. Rolling being paid $93K in a recent (diminishing assets pattern) DC-based (but DE legal domicile) entity, and another one with the word “Democracy” (“The Democracy Commitment”) in it, patterned after yet another, (etc. etc.).  In faint print on a gray background, their two names and logos (but not active, clickable links) may be seen on website footer.

2015 Strategic Plan of the CLP reads in familiar terms, omitting references to laws, or corporate registration requirements for nonprofits, obviously, but referencing “structures” that support the wanted conditions, and further down, government’s obligations re: Education. A passing reference to Student Outcomes also mentions “how federal, state and local governments work”  as well as nonprofits, in the context of transforming them, etc.

We envision a multi-ethnic, multi-racial, equitable and sustainable society where justice triumphs over exploitation. To achieve a just, humane and healthy world, it is essential that people be actively involved in determining the conditions that shape and affect their lives – and the structures, policies, and practices that support those conditions

From (several) points under “We Believe” (i.e., the “Credo”):

  • Issues of race, class, gender, sexuality and immigration status must be addressed as primary and integral parts of social justice and full democratic participation.
  • Education is a fundamental human right. Government has an obligation to provide accessible educational pathways that encourage and invest in building local capacity and in developing local leadership that fosters social responsibility and civic engagement in all communities, especially in communities that have endured injustice and inequity.

Apparently “government” (which level — federal, state, county, school district, etc. — not identified) is to train (excuse me, “educate”) or provide “education pathways” (WHO is omitted in the statement) which encourage LOCAL investments, while others work on the global and national, alongside tax-exempt foundations known for their multinational commercial and investment activity…  Interesting how popular the word “community” has become when there aren’t standard geo/political/legal definitions of “community” (stand-alone definitions, as with “state” or “county” or Municipality / Township” etc.).  Words referencing such geopolitical areas could’ve been chosen, but for decades, “community” has been preferred as the organizing theme..

  • All community members — particularly those members of historically marginalized communities — who have become empowered through education or otherwise have a continuing personal responsibility to contribute to the social, economic and political empowerment of their respective communities.

[Interesting, sounds like the “guilt” trip for collective responsibility towards one’s origins.]

  • Our continuing mandate, individually and collectively, is to consciously claim ownership and operate from principles that are inclusionary, participatory and respectful of the diverse and life-serving practices among all individuals and communities.

(Etc.) “The Democracy Commitment” was launched (sic) in Nov. 2011 and is a membership organization, apparently, for community colleges.  Initial fees $500 and ongoing, annual, $1,000 it says, for this purpose:

…The goal of TDC is that every student of an American community college graduates with an education in citizenship and democracy. This goal includes ALL of our students whether they aim to transfer to university, achieve an associate degree, or obtain a certificate.  The future of our democracy and our shared futures depend on a more informed, engaged, and globally responsible citizenry.  We strive to close the gap between the democracy we have and the democracy we seek.

Guess the word “republic” as representing the governmental structure of the United States of America is out of favor.  Anyhow, an “American community college” is going to be a public institution. Clicking around on that website for any reference to its own Form 990 filings or financials (or even a street address, although I see a telephone number from which one could be guessed), it’s not too hard to see an upcoming Baltimore Event (NCLDE image below) which, upon enough clicks, one can see the funding role of USDOE with contract to “Global Perspective Initiative, Inc.” and secondarily, “American Association of Colleges and Universities,” with references to words like “Crucible Moment” etc.  Obviously started under the Obama Administration, and will be occurring under the Trump / Betsy DeVos (Sec. of Education) one!

“The 2017 Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement Meeting (CLDE17) is a conference designed around an emergent theory of change adapted from elements of the 2012 Crucible Moment report. {{CLICK IMAGE TO SEE IT}} Like this report, the CLDE17 conference invites participants to consider what does a civic-minded campus look like? To this end, several threads within the civic engagement movement will be considered including: how to build campus cultures and contexts that foster: civic ethos, civic literacy and skill building, civic inquiry, civic action, and civic agency.”

All road lead to “Oz”?? Beautiful graphics, but not a hint of financial reports on the website….typical…



I simply cannot (readily) find the EIN# of the 2011-forward “The Democracy Commitment” or, so far, “Community Learning Partnership” either. Possibly they are (unlike “Emerald City Collaborative”) initiatives and not actual business entities. The former seems to have been sponsored by AAC&U, which is teaming up with it (and one more entity) in Dec. 2015; see image. AACU motto: “A Voice and Force for Liberal Education.” TDC is also listed under AACU “Partners” page, which includes The Aspen Institute and others…

(CLICK IMAGE for 2015 PRESS RELEASE shown above) “AAC&U thanks those foundations who have supported the agenda and activities of our Centennial Year, including Carnegie Corporation of New York, Endeavor Foundation, the Charles Engelhard Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, The Teagle Foundation, and USA Funds, as well as the many individual donors who have made financial commitments to the Centennial Fund, which has launched the second century of AAC&U’s leadership for liberal education

Association of American Colleges & Universities (since 1915, but what is its EIN#?) (Soliciting via “network for good”)(EIN# is 521945674, moderate size, tax return however says formed “1994” –??

Total results: 3Search Again.

Emerald Cities Collaborative DC 2015 990 37 $1,967,146.00 27-0920269
Emerald Cities Collaborative DC 2014 990 34 $2,549,230.00 27-0920269
Emerald Cities Collaborative DC 2013 990 33 $4,123,510.00 27-0920269

Our partnership with Emerald Cities Collaborative, founded by our Steering Committee co-chair, Denise Fairchild, reflects our deep commitment to economic and environmental justice.  Addressing environmental and economic sustainability is central to our vision, our mission, and the hearts and minds of the students in our programs.

“Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) is a national non-profit network of organizations working together to advance a sustainable environment while creating greater economic opportunities for all. We’re transforming the energy efficiency sector in a high road way, by retrofitting building stock, creating high wage jobs, and revitalizing the local economies of our metropolitan regions.”

This is privately funded, and in any given year, its CEO is earning as much or close to any amounts granted out, looks like to entities which don’t exactly seem to be needy (such as “The Seattle Foundation”).  Birds of a feather also must flock together because (whether in FY2010 — first functional year– or FY2014, the Schedule I prompt for EIN#s of grantee organizations is simply ignored.  In FY2014 it seemed to have been “whited out.”  Also interesting, although it has its own EIN# and exempt qualification, the first two years show most assets being held by a fiscal agent — but an unnamed one.

MISCELLANEOUS “Emerald Cities Collaborative Images” (captions label them):

Emerald Cities Collab’tive showing well-paid officers incl $93K to Ken C Rollings (not an original director) and near $200K to D. Fairchild

Principal officer (from the start) Denise Fairchild at the Durfee Foundation (2001 sabbatical) describes her background, which includes a powerful connection (last sentences below) re-1994 to the Los Angeles LISC.  (Local Initiatives Support Corporation).  “LISC” in different locations has been an intermediary organization for HUD, if I’m remembering this right…

The bio blurb also gives a picture of what the network (including the one with an Evanston, IL, address) is doing in general — professionalizing community organizing in association with community or technical colleges across the country.

Denise Fairchild of Emerald Cities Collaborative working with Community Learning Partnership (which shared a street address in Evanston with recorded Annenberg Fndtn Sched B grant of $995K TO Chicago Public Education Fund; Emerald Cities being a listed “National Partner” of CLP (Evanston,IL) — profile and photo from Durfee Fndtn (Los Angeles), labeled “2001 sabbatical.” See notes on foundations collaborating to provide non-profit leadership paid sabbaticals

Denise Fairchild is the Founder and President of Community Development Technologies Center, a training, applied research and technical assistance organization specializing in community development strategies. In partnership with L.A. Trade Tech College, CD Tech has developed the nation’s first program in community development at the community college level. Other groundbreaking work includes the creation of an Individual Development Account (IDA) program for low-wage workers to save for a house, a business, or educational opportunities. Prior to starting CD Tech in 1994, Dr. Fairchild was the Director of the Los Angeles Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). * Denise Fairchild is now with Emerald Cities Collaborative.

Click for full-sized. To get full return “tweak” the YE date from a url in table above to “201006_990pdf” or similar.

Initial Return FY2009 showing 21 direx + 0 employees

Emerald Cities What it does (year 1 or 2 return CLICK TO SEE)

Look at “Other Assets” — Ln 15; Fiscal agent holding over $1.4M startup funds?

Detailing Pt.X Line 15 =fiscal agent-held assets (next yr it’s down by about $900K)

FY214 two grantees (EIN# column whited out) $75K each to “The Seattle Foundation” and “The Providence Plan,” NO address, not even a state for either, i.e., “Up Yours, IRS Form 990 (and public who might read it)!

The LISC listed in California is as a NY Entity. As I said, it’s functioning as an intermediary organization, and at last look FY2015 (at California Office of Attorney General, which records only go back to year 2001 or so, uploaded anyhow) is showing $532M, that is, over ½ billion of assets.  Its latest RRF (report of government grants) AND report of interested-transaction type contracts with officers/directors, etc., takes six page typed, single-spaced, double-column. Discussing this is not within the scope of this post, however, here’s that RRF. LISC NY (EIN#133030229 CAL entity 1078893) RRF-1 2015, 532’8MAssets + 136’9M Revs From CalifCharDetails has SIX pp of Q1 + Q6 Details!

LISC (Low Income Support Communities) purpose from the Form 990:

“Local Initiatives Support Corporation”

LINE 1 – ORGANIZATION’S MISSION (LISC) is dedicated to helping community residents transform distressed neighborhoods into healthy and sustainable communities of choice and opportunity – good places to w ork, do business and raise children LISC mobilizes corporate, government and philanthropic support to provide local community development organizations with loans, grants, and equity investments, local, statewide and national policy support, and technical and management assistance.

LISC is a national organization with a community focus Our program staff are based in every city and many of the rural areas w here LISC-supported community development takes shape In collaboration with local cor munity development groups, LISC staff help identify priorities and challenges, delivering the most appropriate support to meet local needs LISC is Building Sustainable Communities by achieving FIVE goals (1) Expanding Investment in Housing and Other Real Estate, (2) Increasing Family Income and Wealth, (3) Stimulating Economic Development, (4) Improving Access to Quality Education, and (5) Supporting Healthy and Safe Environments and Lifestyles.”

I also included image of a letter from the OAG (12/22/216) asking “where’s your RRF details for 2015?)” and a search results showing it is a NY organization operating in California.  LISC as a phenomena would be more than one post, easily.. If it’s not understood, take a look at its Form 990 throughout (including Sched R related Entities, the $42M of grantees (listed properly at least) for a start.

The bio blurb at Community Leaders Partnership (“Our Team”) link shows even more the powerful previous connections, including political ones in Los Angeles and with Mayor Antonio Villaigrosa, and that Denise Fairchild was recruited in 2010 for Emerald Cities Collaborative:

…In 1995 she founded and directed the Community and Economic Development (CED) Department at Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, as well as an affiliated non-profit community development research and technical assistance organization, CDTech. She helped launch the Regional Economic Development Institute (REDI), an initiative of Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to provide inner city residents with career and technical education for high growth/high demand jobs in the L.A. region, with a focus on the green economy.  From 1989-1994, she directed the L.A. office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and is credited with raising over $100 million in equity, grants, and loans for community-based housing and commercial development projects and, generally, with building the non-profit housing and community development industry in the L.A. region.  Her civic and political appointments have included the California Commission on Regionalism, the California Economic Strategy Panel, the California Local Economic Development Association, the Urban Land Institute National Inner City Advisor, the Coalition for Women’s Economic Development and the Los Angeles Environmental Quality Board. She also served as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s special advisor for South L.A. Investments.

“Our Impact” screenprint (that’s a partial) (warm color themes, below) gives the general idea.

Community Learning Partnership (website) “Our Impact” lists the categories.  partial screenprint.  Notice targeting (1) low-income (2) young (3) men and women of color, first-gen college, and (4) low-moderate workers of all ages or (5) others in career transformation.

Emerald Cities Collaborative website, again, much information, lists its board members (Ken. C. Rollings not shown, Angela Glover Blackwell of Policylink (@1999 Oakland, CA) is), and MANY partnersbut when it comes to “FINANCIALS” you get the Paypal donate page again, not even a declaration of whether it is a bona fide 501©3 (although it seemingly is).

Angela Glover Blackwell (an attorney) was former SVP of The Rockefeller Foundation, and also represents a power base. Notice that reference to PolicyLink (interview with Fairchild) leads to a page on the left with typical lineup: Place-based, Men & Boys of Color, Cradle to Career, etc. links.

I guess you can see why some conservatives are hammering away at this (Facebook link found through searching the name Ken Rollings):

The Fund existed and still exists to carry on the work of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge — that work being the expansion of Theodore Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools, the reform movement that now (even absent Common Core) indoctrinates students in several states and districts nationwide with a Marxist-Communist political, moral and social ideology.

As Clark wrote, Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) opened a regional office called the National Equity Project/Bay Area CES in 1991. A long-time advisory board member to the National Equity Project is Linda Darling-Hammond, who served as education advisor to Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and who has since been involved in the development of assessments for the Common Core standards.

One of the major goals of the National Equity Project is to “redesign” school districts, and the project’s website boasts as one of its “major accomplishments” its support of “the comprehensive redesign of two urban school districts (Oakland and Emery Unified) to create systems of equitable resource allocation, accountability, central office support for schools, and community engagement.”

(Click Image for Full-sized) Angela Glover Blackwell’s bio blurb at ECC; however also see 2012 PolicyLink Interview with Denise Fairchild and notice left side-bar links: Health Equity & Place, Promise Zones, Cradle to Career, Men & Boys of Color — but good luck finding a link to their 990s or audited financial statements. “PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®.”


CONTINUING WITH CHICAGO PUBLIC EDUCATION FUND FILING HABITS…I just looked up a Year 2008 tax return for CPEF to see if they were identifying their grantees any better, knowing that in 2008, the IRS form was changed somewhat and that grantees would be reported on Schedule I, which prompts for the EIN# of each, as well as labeling it whether 501©3 or government.

Next image is Schedule I Part I (donations to domestic organizations or governments versus “individuals”, which would be on Part II) the FY2008 CPEF tax return link.  (Image didn’t catch the header showing Form 990filer or Year 2008 in an effort to catch all the grants to organizations that year (except $628K direct to teachers for incentives shown on the next page, which would be a Part II to Schedule I).

As you can see, whoever filled out this form (probably electronically) “declined to state” the EIN#s and didn’t even bother to note which of their grantees (such as over $900K to “Chicago Public Schools”) was government, as opposed to private nonprofits.  In other words, look at all the blank columns which ought to have contents.  In the right-hand column, which is to identify (i.e., differentiate where there are differences) “Purpose of Grant” for every single one, they filled in a boilerplate, noncommittal statement basically dodging the question filling in just  “Support of nonprofit organization” which, in the case of “Chicago Public Schools,” and some others which appear to be programs, not actual business entities, is besides basically meaningless, for some of these, also false.

Meanwhile (see the link), Janet Knupp’s original $142K salary has within 8 years (2000-2008) more than doubled to $342K — for (so it says) a 50- hr. week; both figures not including benefits.

And (second image below), despite CPEF being for the purpose of public institutions, a statement is included that no, they do NOT make their governing documents available for public inspection.  This year, contributions went from $5M to, suddenly, $16M, but a look at its assets page shows that a good chunk of this is in the form of Pledges Receivable” stated as assets.

TheFundChicago.org” (website) gives more updates; I haven’t fully reviewed the site yet.

CPEF (TheFundChicago.org) FY2008 Form 990 showing Sched I grantees (that year $2.7M total) omits prompt for EIN# on all grantees (2nd page not shown) & boilerplate text in RH column

CPEF FY2008 Form 990 {<==whole return}} statemt re governing doc’ts not available to public;  go check Guidestar!..









More from the Chicago Annenberg Challenge “wiki” declares how much Walter H. Annenberg relied on the CES (Ted Sizer) and Brown/U of P connections — plus some others — on deciding how to make his big Public Education Challenge grants (yellow-background color because I will come back to this quote further down).  (This statement is footnoted “[4]”; the footnote leads to a broken link at Annenberg foundation)

Annenberg sought recommendations on making a large gift to American public schools from his pro bono education advisors:[4]

  1. Vartan Gregorian, president of Brown University (1989–1997); president of the Carnegie Corporation (1997– ); former president of the New York Public Library; former professor of Southwest Asian history, dean, and provost of the University of Pennsylvania
  2. Ted Sizer, founding chairman of the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) (1984–1997);*** professor of education at Brown University (1983–1997); former headmaster of Phillips Andover (1972–1981); former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1964–1972)
  3. David Kearns, ***chairman of the Alexandria-based New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC)—a 1991 school reform initiative of President George H. W. Bush; former Deputy Secretary of Education (1991–1993) under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the George H. W. Bush administration; former president, CEO and chairman of Xerox

I wanted to validate that these were indeed the three people relied on in large part, by Walter Annenberg, in making his determination.  The broken link title is found here in a 2002 (a bit premature, but still) “Lessons Learned” glossy report on the Public Education Challenge, prefaced by a full-page congratulatory letter from Vartan Gregorian (in his new capacity as head of Carnegie Corporation), and similar contents inside validating the heavy reliance on (1) Brown University AISR (which — let’s keep in mind — has NOT been identified as a separate entity from Brown itself), and Ted Sizer’s Coalition of Essential Schools model.

Here’s (Image 3 of 3 below) a half-page from the innards showing the dilemma we have here in continuing to call “AISR” an Institute when it is showing up as a corporation with no attached financial records in the form of a 990 or 990PF! And basically echoing the information in the Wiki above…

Image 1 of 3 from Annenberg Fndtn website 2 and 3 look at the middle publication shown

Image 2 of 3 from Annenbrg Fndtn website

Image 3 of 3 from Annenbrg fndtn website inside the 2002 “Lessons Learned” pdf; shows reliance on the AISR at Brown and (right side) how, coincidentally Ted Sizer’s CES (not referenced that this was also originally housed at Brown) happened to share the same philosophy!

[***I looked it up.  See bottom of this post, for now.  These guys are C.R.O.O.K.S. !!! !!! !!!]

To clarify that claim, here’s my disclaimer.  I’m not a criminal defense attorney, haven’t worked as a prosecuting attorney in any district attorney’s office, or as a criminal investigator for any public office.  But, as a “layperson,” I fail to see what other purpose reporting of nonprofits full of so many “nooks and crannies,* right-angle turns (in organization names), unusual allocations of compensation, and oddly arranged related entities” are necessary for the accomplishment of a public good related to the public school system.

  • “In the OED’s definitions, nook seems to have the meaning of some kind of corner, whereas a cranny is some kind of opening or crack. Together they cover a range of possible places in which a thorough search might be conducted. I think either on its own would be rare in current English.”…”A “nook” is a corner or a small, partially enclosed area of a larger room. A “cranny” is a crack or a crevice.”  … The phrase ‘every little nook and cranny’ means every part or aspect of something.”

*Why should it ever be necessary to search “every little nook and cranny” to identify and verify what public funds in private hands were expended, or what private funds to influence public institutions, were expended?  This can only happen through the prevalence and certain people’s awareness of how tax-exemptions can be set up to conceal, rather than set up to reveal, honest accounting for supposedly honest public purposes.  The convoluted reporting is, in my opinion, a character trait, and a sign of less than straight-up purposes.  Hence I used the word “crooks.”

Re: David Kearns and the New American Schools Development Corporation as one of just three main education advisers for Annenberg (per this Wiki anyhow), and I’ve already seen how the CES part of it has been acting under Ted Sizer, how the NASD sector behaved during these years and right after (receiving the Chicago Challenge award) does reflect on the entire program itself – and not just in Chicago.

If you also search “Lamar Alexander” (now Senator Lamar Alexander, before then twice governor of Tennessee) on this blog you may see his involvement with “Corrections Corporation of America” (for-profit prison system profits), others have investigated the conflict-of-interest factor; so given those involved, it shouldn’t be surprising.  I believe this was one of them.

Take a quick look and don’t miss the closing comment (or the opening ones):  How to Get Rich in Government: The Ethical Spectacle (date, 1995?  Note:  Lamar Alexander became Senator in 2003, but apparently before then was running for U.S. President also) (See the article’s simple outline of events):

What is the moral of the story? Public life (especially in states like Arkansas and Tennessee) is like dancing a cotillion in which, at the end of the mad whirl, your pockets are stuffed full of money. While the rest of us (assuming we have money to invest at all) struggle to select stocks or mutual funds that will do well, and frequently suffer for our mistakes, public officials like Lamar Alexander and Bill Clinton are surrounded by appreciative people who will cut them in on a sure thing, helping to support them in a comfortable manner while they helm the ship of government. Doubtless without expecting anything in return.   [[ 🙂 ]]

This modest proposal is the only solution: let’s require a vow of poverty from anyone who wants elective office. There is no other way out of this.

There was significant politically-connected financial backing at the time.  Here’s from a Sept. 22, 1986 Washington Post, all emphases added.

Private Company Asks For Control of Tennessee Prisons

Corrections Corp. of America wants to lock up the state of Tennessee for 99 years.

In an aggressive bid to increase the role of private enterprise in government affairs, Nashville-based Corrections Corp. of America (CCA) has asked Tennessee for the right to operate the state’s troubled prison system for the next 99 years…..

CCA’s financial and political clout in Tennesse makes the company unusually well equipped to deal with the controversial legal, constitutional and philosophical questions that surround the company’s proposal to manage the state’s prison system for a profit. The company’s chief financier is Nashvillian Jack Massey, one of the wealthiest men in the southeast. Known as a man with “the Midas touch,” Massey developed and financed well-known Wall Street giants including Kentucky Fried Chicken and Hospital Corp. of America.

HCA, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital management company, is based in Nashville, not far from CCA’s offices. Massey’s role with the company has helped CCA raise more than $18 million through private stock placements, including stock sales to some Tennessee businessmen who have made millions of dollars in the hospital business.

Massey’s presence also helped CCA put together the $250 million proposal to take control of the state’s prison system by attracting strong backing. The company said it has retained investment bankers, including Merrill Lynch Capital Markets, who might help sell CCA stock to the public to raise the money needed to finance the proposal.

Gov. Alexander’s wife, Honey Alexander, and Tennessee’s Speaker of the House, Ned Ray McWherter, have been stockholders in CCA. CCA officials said Honey Alexander and McWherter, who is a leading candidate to be the state’s next governor, have sold their shares to avoid any conflict of interest.

Tennessee insurance commissioner John C. Neff is a stockholder in CCA. CCA President and Director Tom Beasley, former head of the state’s Republican Party, has close ties to Alexander’s Republican administration.

Despite CCA’s strong political ties and the governor’s willingness to consider the privatization proposal, some state officials have raised serious questions about the proposal.  [[such as the then Attorney-General…]]

More current — 2015, from the Vanderbilt (University) Political Review — I’m quoting a lot, but this puts together more pieces and insights to the CCA founders.

(see Oct. 26, 2015 “Shackled….how Vanderbilt helped spawn the private prison industry.”)

Shackled by Money: How Vanderbilt Helped Spawn the Private Prison Industry Oct. 26, 2015

As CCA says on its website: “New companies are created every day. But it’s not every day that new industries are established.” It takes a special kind of genius to make millions from human imprisonment. And that entrepreneurial genius has its roots in Vanderbilt University.

Tom  Beasley, a distinguished alumnus of Vanderbilt Law School, had transformative aspirations when he founded the company in 1983. A 1986 article in The Journal of the Southern Regional Council described Beasley’s creative ambitions using his own words: “Declaring that ‘the market is limitless,’ Beasley… hopes to ‘solve the prison problem and make a lot of money at the same time.’” Lamar Alexander, Tennessee longtime senator and former governor, is another Vanderbilt alum involved with the company. A friend of Beasley, and formerly his landlord, Alexander was governor of Tennessee and a supporter of CCA when Beasley first proposed (and succeeded) in taking a “chunk” of the state’s prison population. Lamar Alexander’s wife was an early investor in CCA; now, CCA regularly gives thousands to Lamar Alexander’s campaigns.

The link goes further. Vanderbilt professors have produced research, funded by CCA, that shows private prisons lower costs in states. And Vanderbilt University even invested in CCA in its early years before the company’s IPO. Currently, four leaders of CCA are Vanderbilt graduates: two executive Vice Presidents as well as the Vice Presidents of Health and Human Services Technology.

Along with their Nashville headquarters, CCA operates six correctional facilities in Tennessee, including the Metro-Davidson County Detention Facility. According to the state of Tennessee’s Online Campaign Finance Database, CCA contributed thousands of dollars to Nashville’s elected sheriff Daron Hall along with tens of thousands of dollars to officials around the state and to both the Republican and Democratic parties. The Tennessee legislature honored CCA-architect Tom Beasley in a joint resolution extolling his “astute business skills” and “entrepreneurial spirit.” Unfortunately, this entrepreneurial spirit helped spawn a dangerous and exploitative industry.

If crime-rates decline, private prisons lose money. If crime-rates go up, private prisons make more money. These incentives are problematic to those of us who think that the point of the justice system is to stop crime, not make money. Instead, the profit motive pushes private prison corporations to lobby for ever-stricter laws to put more people in prison and keep them there. A company whose bottom line hinges on keeping people behind bars has no incentive to stop recidivism, rehabilitate offenders, or even provide basic care to prisoners. But it has every incentive to grow the prison population to boost its profit margins.

And this isn’t just theoretical. CCA and other private prisons benefit from massive lobbying operations at the local, state, and national level to push policies that increase the number of incarcerated people. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, CCA has spent more than $2.3 million on federal campaign contributions and more than $20 million on federal lobbying, largely on legislation related to the Department of Homeland Security, which contracts with CCA for housing detained illegal immigrants. From 2000 to 2011, CCA won $3.84 billion in federal contracts. Laura Lichter, an immigration attorney and former head of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, told The Daily Beast “The only reason I can see that [detained migrants] are still in family detention is because there must be incredible pressures to keep it going on the basis of its profitability.”

At the state and local level, there is also evidence of cozy-dealings by public servants influenced by CCA. Dina Rasor, an investigative journalist and whistleblower, gives the following example: In 2011, “the state of Ohio agreed to sell their Lake Erie Correctional Facility to CCA for around $72 million and even promised to pay CCA for a 90 percent inmate rate even if the inmate population drops below 90 percent. Perhaps CCA’s sales pitch had a more favorable audience in Ohio because the current head of Ohio’s Department of Corrections, Gary C. Mohr, was formerly a managing director at CCA.

The article has 15 paragraphs, most full of links to more information. I quoted through the reference to Gary Mohr at Department of Corrections in Ohio, which came up in prior blogging on Ohio.

A 2016 article explains how CoreCivic (CCA re-branded) rebounds after Trump won and Hillary Clinton lost the US Presidency:

CoreCivic, formerly CCA, rebounds on Clinton defeat, Nov. 9, 2016, by Jamie McGee and Dave Boucher in “The Tennessean.”

Donald Trump’s presidential win yielded a strong rally for embattled prison operator CoreCivic, the Nashville-based company formerly known as Corrections Corporation of America.

Shares of CoreCivic rallied 43 percent Wednesday to $20.31, halting several weeks of steep declines spurred by the U.S. Justice Department’s rejection of private prison operators. Since Aug. 18, when the department said it planned to end contracts with private prisons, the stock had tumbled 47 percent. Wednesday’s gains pared those declines by nearly half.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had said that she would end federal contracts with private prisons and immigration detention centers. In the first presidential debate, she commended the Justice Department for phasing them out and said states should end their use as well.

“You shouldn’t have a profit motivation to fill prison cells with young Americans,” she said during the debate.

In its rebuke of private prison operators, the Justice Department said these companies do not offer significant cost savings and fail to provide the same level of resources and safety as federally run facilities. A report from the Office of the Inspector General found that privately run prisons had more safety and security incidents per capita than those run by the Bureau of Prisons. CoreCivic prisons had the highest rates of fights and inmate-on-inmate assaults.

I found and posted several links (and quotes) regarding his present activities as U.S. Senator, and regarding helping ram through the confirmation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.  But I think this Senator’s and his wife’s early investment in CCA is telling; and found these articles after posting the other ones.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION — and there’s plenty — on the Lamar Alexander Exploits (whether CCA or otherwise), I’ve exported these to a separate page,* as I did the Bank Street College of Education information, above… to shorten this post.  Some of the more powerful punching-articles are on the other pages; at least two others refer directly to Education issues involving the Senator, as well as his government page. Don’t forget to click and read *Further Exploits of Republican Senator (formerly Governor) Lamar Alexander of Tennessee re: Public Schools and Private Prisons (no short-link available currently).

These are the backdrop to who David Kearns, “Voice #3” of education advisors for the (overall) Annenberg Challenge as referenced above.  It reflects who Kearns was working under at the time.


More on this shows just how much he relied on the CES (Ted Sizer) and Brown/U of P connections — plus some others — on deciding how to make his big Public Education Challenge grants:

Annenberg sought recommendations on making a large gift to American public schools from his pro bono education advisors:[4]

[1.  Vartan Gregorian; 2.  Ted Sizer; and 3…. David Kearns, chairman of the Alexandria-based New American Schools Development Corporation (NASDC)—a 1991 school reform initiative of President George H. W. Bushformer Deputy Secretary of Education (1991–1993) under Secretary of Education Lamar Alexander in the George H. W. Bush administration; former president, CEO and chairman of Xerox

But after my day of poring through the CAC tax returns (oddly constructed) — those that were available anyhow — I ended a day’s research looking up NASD, found two different entities (by organization name), and next to nil activity accompanied by million-dollar payouts to the married-couple directors (two out of only three on board at the time).  Although these turned out to be the payout for “multi-year, vested” benefits, another kicker is that the “related” company of one of the entities was AIR” (American Investigative Research) for Behavioral Health (or similar name), with one entity domestic (USA) and the other in London, which was paying the married couple.  I went looking for an earlier tax return, and found it going by a completely different name, in a different state (Virginia), with both Schedule-R tax-exempt and of course Schedule-R for-profit entities (in the field of education), yet still sporting the “new american schools” website — and listing David Kearns as Chairman Emeritus. (Some references at the bottom of this post).

Whatever meetings were held in seeking this Annenberg Foundation prized “challenge” money, it seems those involved throughout planned this out well to lose track of funding while advertising all the public good that was being done meanwhile. Too bad some of their talent, smarts, and devious design capacity for systems change couldn’t have been applied to a better cause — like OPENING the public school books, instead of “DIVERTING them” into strangely named recipients, and accounted for strangely between the various 990PFs and 990s involved throughout.

I realize my reaction may be hard to understand without having first come face to face with the various tax returns.  That’s understandable, but….

….but I hope that the effort I’ve put into publishing as much as I have over time (on this blog and related one Cold, Hard Facts focused more on the finances may persuade others to, on their own “time and dime” start putting their faces in front of these filings and simply reading them for comprehension, understanding, and comparison.  There are few substitutes for in-person viewing of the formal filings.  My “cliff-notes” and diagrams are not meant to be conclusive (except on specific points in which they can claim to be, based on the evidence shown), but to show how this information can be looked up, looked at, considered, and eventually, comprehended — and why it should be — at least as much as the public relations on the organizations (or public institutions, such as schools) in question.

This blog and “Cold, Hard.Fact$” are not my only blogs when it comes to the family court matters and court-connected (in that respect) nonprofit, professional trade association scenarios (for example, regarding the “Family Justice Centers,” detailed in part on a more personal blog, “MisogynyMustGo.wordpress.com”  (look for the “down the rabbit hole” posts on the Alameda County Family Justice Center and its avoidance of registering as a nonprofit until tracked down and required to, although its leadership had involvement with high-level state official Bill Lockyer in the form of his wife who was the first appointed executive director of the same).  The Family Justice Center entity itself is small in size, but its bylaws (last I checked) require involvement of a nonprofit (sealing the “public/private” character of the organization working out of county property), and the one involved there happens to be a large domestic-violence-prevention entity.  Public/Private blending also occurs in the Annenberg Challenge Grants here, and, again, complicates fiscal accountability.

A while back I also started “FamilyCourtFranchise” as a google blog, but the platform was not satisfactory (loaded too slow consistently).  Last I looked, it had about 70 posts.  I also have from time to time done a short blog geographically focused (one for Lackawanna County, PA, and another one, although I believe it may still be private, on Tarrant County, TX).  I considered for a while doing one for Minnesota.  However, people at some point have to get over their “I just want to talk about my LOCAL court systems” and realize how these things are put together anything but locally.  They are regional, national, and after that, international.

NOTE:  The above writings were BEFORE looking up David Kearns’ wiki above, or the wiki on AIR.  Having now looked, especially seeing who the AIR was and what it was doing, I stand by my assertions, as respected as David Kearns (who died at age 80, in 2011, of cancer) and others related with the AIR were.  Suggest click around and read more:

Private life[edit]

Kearns left the US Department of Education on January 20, 1993. He later joined the faculty of Harvard University‘s Graduate School of Education where he taught for two years. Kearns has served on the board of trustees for the Ford FoundationTime WarnerDayton Hudson, and Ryder. He is also a former Chairman of the National Urban League.[1]

Kearns was Chairman of New American Schools, an organization dedicated to excellence in American schools. New American Schools has since merged with the American Institutes for Research. (<===click to read more)

The University of Rochester established the David T. Kearns Center for Leadership and Diversity in Science and Engineering to expand the pool of individuals who pursue undergraduate and graduate careers in the sciences and engineering.[3]

Kearns has published three books including: Winning the Brain Race (1991), A Legacy of Learning (1999) and Crossing the Bridge: Family, Business, Education, Cancer, and the Lessons Learned (2005).

Kearns and his wife, Shirley, have four daughters and two sons. They have 18 grandchildren.

Wiki (link above) on AIR:

American Institutes for Research (AIR) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan behavioral and social science research, evaluation, assessment and technical assistance organization based in Washington, D.C.[1][2]One of the world’s largest social science research organizations,[1] AIR has more than 1,800 staff in locations across the United States and abroad.[3]

In 2010[4] and 2011,[5]The Washington Post selected AIR as one of the top ten nonprofit firms in the Washington metropolitan area.


I’m going to put this next quote in REAL small font because I sense another post coming on, but on seeing the “behavioral research” aspect, and now seeing the involvement in the educational RELs (and more), I am reminded of the similarities between the US Education systems and the U.S. Army, in terms of massive size, potential for “sort, select, label, and place on separate life tracks” tendencies, not to mention the psyops factor, and constant search for the best ways to indoctrinate young people with whatever the cause-of-the-day might be; maintaining ethical flexibility in the same just in case there’s a need for sudden “alternate reality” switching:

AIR’s founder, John C. Flanagan, a pioneer in aviation psychology,[6] is known for developing the Critical Incident Technique, an innovative method for screening and selecting personnel. While working for the U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II, Flanagan developed CIT as an aptitude test to identify potential combat pilots.[7] Later, the technique was adapted for other industries, and CIT is still a model for numerous organizations and researchers.[8][9][10][11]

Flanagan established American Institutes for Research in 1946.[12] He focused on workforce education research and launched Project Talent, a longitudinal study following 400,000 high school students across the U.S.,[13] which has continued for the past 50 years and provided data for hundreds of researchers and publications.[14][15]

AIR ran a Defense Department-funded counter-insurgency program in Thailand during the Vietnam War years, which involved designing programs that supported “assassinating key spokesmen [and] strengthening retaliatory mechanisms and similar preventative measures.”[16]Charles Murray, the controversial political scientist, worked on this AIR program[17] and claimed the experience was formative in his later advocacy.[18]

Yes, about Charles Murray, a libertarian, sometimes accused of being racist, and influence (so it says) on welfare reform…. (click to read more).

Mission statement[edit]

“AIR’s mission is to conduct and apply the best behavioral and social science research and evaluation towards improving peoples’ lives, with a special emphasis on the disadvantaged.”[19]

Areas of Work[edit]

AIR Assessment
develops student tests, score reports, and online reporting tools for students, teachers, parents, and administrators in states across the U.S. Psychometricians and statisticians provide data and analysis for policy and curriculum decisions.
Research and Evaluation, Technical Assistance and Policy, Practice & Systems Change – Domestic and International
AIR practice areas include early childhood; P-12 education including teacher, school and district leadership; social development; health and well-being; higher education and career readiness; adult learning and workforce issues; and survey development and tech solutions.

Some of the work Flanagan and AIR are known for includes: Project Talent, the largest and most comprehensive study of high school students ever conducted in the United States; core evaluations for U.S. Department of Education programs; technical expertise on the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); Project A, the largest personnel survey in the history of the U.S. Army; [20] partnering with states to design and administer student assessment testing in schools across the U.S.;[21][22] and projects including Regional Education Labs (RELs) and Comprehensive Centers,

Again, WestEd (formed 1996) combined two former RELs and administered contracts for them also, they didn’t pass the only two audits I found (so far) and (so far) are apt at hiding their own comprehensive annual financial reports (CAFRs), which you can count on me to bring up regularly until I either find WestEd’s, stop writing about school-reform networks and nonprofits, or for some or any other reason, simply stop writing.  Public institutions should be able to produce reliable financial reports, which reflect their actual activities.  If and when they cannot or will not do this, then that remains a problem — until they do.

National Center for Family Homelessness, Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research (CALDER), College and Career Readiness and Success Center, Center for English Language Learners, among others. [23]


Education researcher David Myers is AIR’s president and CEO and serves on its board of directors. Previously, Myers was senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Mathematica Policy Research.[24][25]

Mathematica Policy Research (in Princeton, NJ) is a for-profit often involved in evaluating or assessing welfare reform studies, including responsible fatherhood/healthy marriage (etc.) as I recall (it’s been a while since I focused on that)….

Charles Murray, who had worked on the AIR defense-department counter-insurgency program in Thailand (a few quotations above, fine-print), was called a eugenicist by Southern Poverty Law Center, and with a particular focus on intelligence as a major determinant of socio-economic sectors and life success (and whose scoring on the SAT had helped him escape small-town Iaw to Harvard — at a time, looks like, they didn’t admit women yet — had this to say about gender and race (from that wiki):


Murray has been critical of the No Child Left Behind law, arguing that it “set a goal that was devoid of any contact with reality…. The United States Congress, acting with large bipartisan majorities, at the urging of the President, enacted as the law of the land that all children are to be above average.”[35] He sees the law as an example of “Educational romanticism [which] asks too much from students at the bottom of the intellectual pile, asks the wrong things from those in the middle, and asks too little from those at the top.”[35]

Challenging “educational romanticism,” he wrote Real Education: Four Simple Truths for Bringing America’s Schools Back to Reality. His “four simple truths” are as follows:

  1. Ability varies.
  2. Half of all children are below average.
  3. Too many people are going to college.
  4. America’s future depends on how we educate the academically gifted.[36]

Human group differences[edit]

Murray has attracted controversy for his views on differences between gender and racial groups. In a paper published in 2005 titled “Where Are the Female Einsteins?”, Murray stated, among other things, that “no woman has been a significant original thinker in any of the world’s great philosophical traditions. In the sciences, the most abstract field is mathematics, where the number of great female mathematicians is approximately two (Emmy Noether definitely, Sonya Kovalevskaya maybe). In the other hard sciences, the contributions of great women have usually been empirical rather than theoretical, with leading cases in point being Henrietta LeavittDorothy HodgkinLise MeitnerIrene Joliot-Curie and Marie Curie herself.”[37]Asked about this in 2014, he stated he could only recall one important female philosopher, “and she was not a significant thinker in the estimation of historians of philosophy,” adding “So, yeah, I still stick with that. Until somebody gives me evidence to the contrary, I’ll stick with that statement.”[38]


“MOVING ON” (from “David Kearns/NASDC/AIR” topic) 

**Re:  “CES 1984-1997,” [Coalition of Essential Schools, Inc.] let’s remember that this represents SEVEN years (at least) of functioning without incorporating in the state of Rhode Island, at Brown (also in R.I.)

On December 17, 1993, the 85-year-old Annenberg announced his five-year $500 million “Challenge to the Nation” at a ceremony in the Roosevelt Room of the White House with President Bill Clinton, Secretary of Education Richard Riley, Gregorian, Sizer, Kearns, and Frank Newman, Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and Colorado Governor Roy Romer (the president, outgoing and incoming chairman, respectively, of the Denver-based bipartisan Education Commission of the States (ECS).[1][5]

Post-publication update on the ECS here, designated by light-yellow background.

See this recently-updated page (not post) on my blog for additional information on the ECS, which through this reference had caught my attention (particularly if it’s who’s been administering the “NASDC” model or was slated to do so (see next part of this quote also).  IT turns out the “NGA” (National Governors’ Association) played a critical role in formation of the ECS.  It’s an interesting history and relevant to the business of government, and education, today.  The NGA is just one of many similar nonprofits around which, taken as a whole, do comprise an alternate form of government innately DESIGNED to get around limitations in the Constitution, subject matter by subject matter.  In the case of what I first was reporting (NGA involvement in the familycourt-connected federal incentives), itnow turns out they also played a role in the ECS, which (see above and see BOTTOM of this post) continued to facilitate the rapid spread across state lines of both good and bad (depending on one’s perspective) ideas (although of course in promoting it, reference to “success” and “what works” was emphasized…)

Do you Know Your NGA?  Post-PRWORA, 1998 Stealth, Coordinated Expansion/ Diversion of Welfare Funds based on Sociological, Quasi-Religious Ideology on the Ideal Family Structure (the offspring of The 1965 Moynihan Report), Facilitated by (A) At least 39 of the Nation’s Governors and (B) as Coached by Wade Horn ℅ The National Fatherhood Initiative (Page Added Sep. 2016, Published Apr. 27, 2017) [<==with a case-sensitive shortlink ending “-4qs” ]

The Education Commission of the States is a nonprofit formed as the result of the basic idea put forward by James B. Conant (President of Harvard 1933-1955, and “Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary” (or vice versa) to Germany 1955-1957.  In 1957, he’d published a book about “The American High School” (cf. Ted Sizer, “Horace’s Compromise”), but in 1964 he had a sudden awakening to the crisis of school segregation, and put out another book “Shaping Education Policy.”  Conant’s idea was further helped by the National Governor’s Association, with the aid of ex-North Carolina Governor Terry Sanford, called for an “Interstate Commission” to consider establishing a national education policy, which (after their July 1965 meeting, with of course special planners and other associations representing civil servants in leadership positions within the public schools (i.e., education) establishment) resulted in a 1965 “Compact.” Someone of course had to implement its great ideas, for which the Colorado-based ECS (as a nonprofit to be chaired by Governors) was set up in 1967.

My brief summary of recently-acquired understanding is detailed better, with links and annotated images (including a Harvard Crimson 1964 book review on the James B. Conant call to action for regionalizing, then nationalizing, our school systems due to the “entrenched” power cliques — of which he (??) was not a part).

Annenberg announced that he was giving $113 million over five years to three national school reform organizations:[4][6]

  1. $50 million to a new Annenberg Institute for School Reform (AISR) at Brown University that would incorporate the CES and be chaired by Sizer
  2. $57 million to the NASDC, chaired by Kearns
  3. $6 million to the ECS (chaired by Edgar and then Romer, with president Newman) to disseminate NASDC models for restructuring schools

The remaining $387 million was for: school reform in the largest urban school systems, attended by a third of the 47 million public school students in the U.S.; for school reform in rural schools which make up a quarter of all public schools, attended by 1 in 8 public school students in the U.S.; and for arts education.[1][4]

Annenberg delegated how to spend the $387 million to his closest professional friend, Vartan Gregorian, whom he had known for twenty years—since Gregorian’s tenure at the University of Pennsylvania where Annenberg was a trustee and its largest donor. … (etc.)

Interesting the largest amount went to NASDC, and next-largest to a private university where (it turns out) Annenberg’s friend Vartan Gregorian had had (at that time recently) a significant capital-raising influence (as its Dean!!), and to “AISR” which exists as a corporation, but not apparently, at least under that name, as a Form 990-filer, like other 501©3s whose reason for existing is supporting some other organizations which qualify as tax-exempt, such as school, churches, or other charities.

Wouldn’t you like to actually see evidence of $57M going (in a single year, or more likely, over time) to the NASDC — or to the AISR?  If so, good luck!

Vartan Gregorian, highly decorated from start to finish was (in 1997 and still there) the only naturalized American to chair the Carnegie Corporation.  He is from Armenia.  The Wiki says, biography of a living person needs additional citations, but (from the link above in the text) this also explains his success in raising capital for Brown University while there:

Vartan Gregorian from Wikipedia (sidebar)

“…Gregorian was born in an Armenian-Christian community in Tabriz, Iran, to Samuel Gregorian and Shooshanik Mirzaian. When Gregorian was 6 years old, his mother, then 26, died of pneumonia. His father, who worked for the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company in Abadan, was away from home much of the time, and hence Gregorian and his younger sister Ojik were raised by Voski Mirzaian, his maternal grandmother.[2]

Elementary and secondary education[edit]

Gregorian attended elementary school in Iran. In his autobiography, in discussing the events that led to his attending high school in Lebanon, Gregorian refers to several “generous strangers” who helped to make this transformative change in his life possible along with his subsequent move to the United States. First, in 1948, Edgar Maloyan, the French Armenian vice-consul in Tabriz at the time, suggested to Gregorian that he ought to go to Beirut, Lebanon to continue his education and provided him with three letters of introduction:[3] one to the head of the Lebanese Internal Security Agency, one to the Collège Arménien, the lycée that admitted him as a student, and one to a hotel where he could stay.[4] Gregorian also did chores for another individual in Tabriz, an optometrist named Hrayr Stepanian, who eventually helped Gregorian obtain his passport to get to Lebanon:

What also enabled me to do that was that a second stranger, an optometrist in Tabriz, gave me his property deed. That allowed me to obtain a passport because my father had told me if I could get a passport on my own, he would let me go, assuming that no fourteen-year-old kid could get a passport. This optometrist had taken me under his wing. [3]

Next, “Coming to America” …..

…With his circumstances eased somewhat, Gregorian learned French and completed his secondary education at the Collège Arménien in Beirut, where, while a student, he became the assistant to. Simon Vratzian, the last prime minister of the pre-Soviet Republic of Armenia and then director of the Collège. Vratzian served as Gregorian’s mentor and protector, providing him with the advice and assistance that helped Gregorian make arrangements to attend a university in the United States. In 1955, Gregorian, with the assistance of his English teacher, applied to only two universities (the University of California, Berkeley, and Stanford University) and was admitted by both. Stanford’s acceptance arrived by airmail months before Berkeley’s did by surface mail, at which point Gregorian had already enrolled at Stanford.[5]


Gregorian was twenty-two when he began his undergraduate education at Stanford in 1956. There, Wayne S. Vucinich, who taught the history of the Balkans, Eastern Europe, Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire, became his mentor and advised Gregorian to study history. He completed his B.A. with honors in two years and finished the Humanities Honors program with distinction. His senior thesis for the Humanities Honors Program was on “Toynbee and Islam.”

In 1958 he was accepted as a Ph.D. candidate in history as well as in the graduate Humanities Program and became a research and teaching assistant to Professor Vucinich. The department awarded him its Wilbur Fellowship. While a student at Stanford, he again received hospitality from members of the Armenian community who were strangers to him. He explains how this consistent benevolence reaffirmed his faith in the Armenian diaspora community and diaspora communities in general

Wayne S. Vucinich Wiki is also flagged, but he lived 1913-2005, and positive memories from his many students and his significance in Eastern European and Slavic Studies are seen in two obituaries, one from “SFGate.com” ,another from Stanford News Release. From the latter:

Vucinich was born into an immigrant Serbian family in Butte, Mont., in 1913. When his parents and his infant brother died in the influenza epidemic of 1918, an uncle took Vucinich and his two younger siblings back to a remote mountain village in Bileca Rudine in Herzegovina, where they were raised by extended family. As a boy, Vucinich slept on a dirt floor in a primitive home and helped drive livestock to mountain pastures during the summer.

As the eldest son in the family, when Vucinich turned 15 he was given the choice of joining the priesthood, joining the Serbian army, attending agricultural college or moving to Los Angeles to live with his godfather. Vucinich returned to the United States. He spoke almost no English and struggled in school but was good at sports, earning letters in baseball, football and track. When fellow students started talking about college, Vucinich used his middle school transcript from Bileca— complete with good grades— to enter the University of California-Berkeley. He learned English and subsequently earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in Slavic languages and history between 1936 and 1941. He also studied at Charles University in Prague.

After graduating, Vucinich joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, to analyze the situation in the Balkans for U.S. interests in the region. He served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Naval Reserve from 1943 to 1946 and earned a Bronze Star for “meritorious” work. In 1946, after working in the State Department for a year, Vucinich accepted an offer to teach in Stanford’s History Department.

Sounds like an amazing and inspiring professor.  His father, after emigrating to the US, sent for a mail order bride (they had four children).  When tragedy in the form of the influenza struck, Wayne and siblings went back.  Returning to Los Angeles eventually, look how many languages he spoke as a young man….. Look also at the inspiration to others to enter history, some later becoming professors:

…Then (after learning English and successful in sports in California,) he applied to UC Berkeley.  His application was successful largely because he had the wit to send for his transcripts from middle school in Herzegovina. At UC Berkeley, having quickly learned English, not to mention the other languages he already knew (German, Bulgarian, Czech, Slovak, Romanian, Serbian/Croatian) he was an A student and by 1941, with a year out for a stint at Charles University in Prague, he had his Ph.D. from Berkeley.

Professor Vucinich, a mentor to thousands of students, some of whom later became professors themselves because of his enormous influence on their lives, died at a Menlo Park nursing home on April 21. He was 91.

He taught at Stanford from 1946 to 1988 and was known affectionately as “Uncle Wayne.” In 1977, he became the first Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of Eastern European Studies at Stanford.

“He’s the person, more than any other single individual, who encouraged me to become an historian,” said Stanford’s Pulitzer Prize winning history Professor David M. Kennedy. “He was a charismatic and wonderful teacher, and he trained some of the most accomplished eastern European scholars in the United States.”

Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corp. in New York and former president of Brown University, said in a statement earlier this week that it was because of Professor Vucinich that he decided to major in history as well as in the humanities.

A bit more on Vartan Gregorian, from his “wiki” shows that within two years of becoming professor (in three different areas of history) at Univ of Pennsylvania, he became Dean of Faculty of one of its schools (and first in the position), “Arts and Sciences.” (See my other post for image showing the 12 schools there, or go visit the site.  Annenberg School of Communications is one.  So is Wharton School of Business..), and by 1980/81 was in the running for its President, but not appointed.  There was some talk (it says) of him being too “foreign” and not “Ivy League” enough, but then three years later, some endowed professorships and honors in his name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vartan_Gregorian (cont’d.)

[After resigning from U of Texas over a protest involving its President, over whether to expand it]

Rather, in 1972, Gregorian accepted the position of Tarzian Professor of Armenian and Caucasian History and Professor of South Asian history at the University of Pennsylvania, an endowed professorship which allowed him to teach Armenian, South Asian, and European intellectual history.[3]

In 1974, Gregorian was named Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, the first person to hold this position.[5]The Faculty of Arts and Sciences brought together 28 departments, 33 graduate groups, eight special programs and offices, 528 faculty members, some 5,500 undergraduates and 2,500 graduate students, making it the largest single component of the university, In 1978, Gregorian became Provost, chief academic officer of the university.

In 1980, then-president of the University of Pennsylvania Martin Meyerson announced his retirement, and there was speculation that Gregorian would succeed him. In fact, Gregorian had been offered the chancellorship at UC Berkeley, but had declined because he had been Provost at Penn for only two years and did not feel it was an appropriate time to leave his post [[etc. detailing that situation, and how he was not chosen President]]… Three years later, the Penn Board of Trustees endowed a professorship and several fellowships in Gregorian’s name, and also awarded him an honorary degree in recognition of his roles as the university’s founding Dean of Arts and Sciences and Provost.

This next screenprint (please read– you have the link!) describes his impact on Brown University in raising significant capital, and his eventual (1997) move to the Carnegie Corporation, which we are reminded, is a grantmaking (philanthropic) organization.  Gregorian has 70 honorary degrees and was appointed to the Fulbright Commission. (Fulbright Scholars being modeled, as I understand it, on Rhodes).

Keep reading (on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge Wikipedia) and you’ll see Chicago Board of Education, the name “Ayers” and a Barack Obama (pre-Presidential) connection in this whole routine. I’ll probably quote that later in the post. If you read carefully, you’ll also see plenty of “Coalition of Essential Schools” connections TO getting the grant for Chicago in the first place:


The three co-authors of Chicago’s winning Annenberg Challenge $49.2 million grant proposal were:[17][18]

  1. William Ayers, associate professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago; co-director of the Small Schools Workshop; co-director of the Chicago Forum for School Change—an affiliate of the Coalition of Essential Schools;[19] chairman of the Alliance for Better Chicago Schools (ABCs) coalition;[20][21]former Chicago assistant deputy mayor for education (1989–1990);[21] brother of John Ayers, executive director (1994–2004) of Leadership for Quality Education (an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago) and former associate director (1987–1994) of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago; son of Thomas Ayers, former president (1964–1980), chairman and CEO (1973–1980) of Commonwealth Edison and former vice president (1980) of the Chicago School Board
  2. Anne Hallett, executive director and founder of the Cross-City Campaign for Urban School Reform; former executive director of the Wieboldt Foundation (1986–1993); former executive director of the Citizens Education Center in Seattle (1983–1986); former executive director and founder of the Chicago Panel on School Policy (1982–1983); former chair, founder, and chief lobbyist for Citizens for Fair School Funding in Seattle (1976–1982)[20][22][23][24][25][26]
  3. Warren Chapman, senior program officer for education at the Joyce Foundation; former state coordinator at the Illinois State Board of Educationfor the Illinois Alliance of Essential Schools—a regional center of the Coalition of Essential Schools (1986–1992)[27][28]

Obviously, two out of those three already had connections to “CES.” In addition Ayers had at least one year as “assistant deputy for education” which looks like public office, not to mention, relationship to a major corporation by birth, Commonwealth Edison.  The others are citing positions at foundations and nonprofits, whether 501©3 or 501©4, looks like.  They are operating in the nonprofit sector, in other words and looks like the wealthy nonprofit sector.

On December 17, 1993, Ayers, Hallet and Chapman met to discuss how to win an Annenberg Challenge grant for Chicago. Hallett and Chapman were already informal pro bono advisors to the national Annenberg Challenge, and over the course of the following year they met repeatedly at Brown University with other Annenberg advisors and worked to ensure that Chicago would be one of the first cities selected to receive a grant.[18]

In Chicago, Ayers, Hallett and Chapman gathered a 73-member Chicago School Reform Collaborative Working Group from organizations involved in school reform to help them draft a proposal, with Hallett’s Cross-City Campaign for Urban School Reform donating its headquarters and providing staff support to the Working Group.[18]In June 1994, Ayers and Hallett submitted a draft proposal to Gregorian on behalf of the Working Group.[29]

Even from this summary, the competition is starting to look rigged, competition or no competition.

Referring to who would be on the board of Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc., we can see (pre-run for Deomcrat Senator in Illinois) how Barack Obama was invited, and that from 1995-1999 (until he resigned to run for Senator in 2000) he was chairman, also:

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Annenberg_Challenge, cont’d.) An 8-member Board of Directors made up of representatives of organizations that had no vested interest in Annenberg money was recruited to approve grants, hire an executive director and project staff, and determine which funds could count towards the required $98.4 million match.[18][34]The Board of Directors was handpicked by Adele Smith Simmons, president of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, who was asked by Gregorian to “work with foundation leadership to create a board that would be diverse, including people from the community, business interests and civic leaders, and include no more than nine people.”[18][34]

At a meeting with Simmons and Patricia Albjerg Graham, Deborah Leff suggested that Barack Obama would make a good board chairman.[36] After meeting and being impressed by Obama, Graham told Obama that she wanted him to be chairman of the Board of Directors.[36] Obama said that he would agree to serve as chairman if Graham would be vice chairman, to which Graham agreed.[36]

A 23-member group of Chicago parents, teachers, activists, funders, administrators, local school council members and academics who were involved in school reform, called the Chicago School Reform Collaborative, was chosen to design the initial Request for Proposals (RFPs), help publicize the Challenge and hold informational sessions for potential grantees, screen and rate the initial letters of intent, aid the Board of Directors in selecting an executive director, and work with the project’s staff.[18][34] Twenty of the 23 members of the Collaborative were elected by all Working Group members who had attended two or more of the drafting sessions during the first ten months of 1994 for the winning $49.2 million grant proposal; the other three members of the Collaborative were appointed representatives of the Office of the Mayor, the Chicago Public Schools administration, and the Chicago Teachers Union.[18][34]

OK, Gregorian went to Adele Smith Simmons, President of MacArthur Foundation 1989-1999.  (MacArthur’s home base is Chicago).  Worth looking up, you think?  Her “NNDB” [“tracking the entire world”]  profile: (NNDB doesn’t cover the whole world, but does provide an out-lined format for those it does cover, from which I learned that Ms. Simmons is the daughter of a Marsh & McLennan President; she’s white, and was born in Lake Forest, Illinois, most notable for NOT being Chicago.  And has Democrat/progressive and globalist (see upper right corner “Commission on Global Governance”) leanings, not to mention a B.A. from Radcliffe and a PhD from Oxford University (i.e., UK), plus connections to Princeton, Tufts, and Harvard (Board of Overseers) among other universities.

Marsh & McLennan Companies, its website (history) is a “global professional services consulting firm”

By 1904, starting with Marsh (insurance) and McLennan (researching for insurance clients), both involving U.S. Steel (Marsh also went after and apparently got, AT&T), at over $3billion assets, they were the largest insurance company in the world.  Add analytics for predicting losses on cotton crops in the south (i.e., another personality); currently they are reporting four major companies and types of services. (See main website).

Marsh & McLennan, per Wiki, also got interesting at least in the early 21st century, around investigation by the FBI for bid-rigging, and in 2004 paid an $850M settlement.  Also, on 9/11/2001, when an American Airlines jet hit the World Trade Towers, Marsh & McLennan was on floors 93-99, right where it hit.  They lost (it says) 295 employees and 63 contractors.

Watch the “fast-forward” (gaps in years) in Wiki accounting; first from 1923-1975, then 1997.  After 9/11 (in fact, the next month, Oct. 2011) I see it established a crisis consulting (Terrorism) practice with an Ambassador Bremer.

Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. is a global professional services firm, headquartered in New York City with businesses in insurance brokeragerisk managementreinsurance services, talent managementinvestment advisory, and management consulting.[3]

Marsh & McLennan Companies was ranked 29th on the 2012 Bloomberg Businessweek 50, the magazine’s annual ranking of the S&P 500’s top 50 performing companies.[4]

The firm was established in 1905 and is considered the largest insurance broker in the world (2015) by revenue.[5]  Burroughs, Marsh & McLennan was formed by Henry W. Marsh and Donald R. McLennan in Chicago in 1905. It was renamed as Marsh & McLennan in 1906. || The reinsurance firm Guy Carpenter & Company was acquired in 1923 a year after its founding by Guy Carpenter. In 1975, it acquired the human resources consulting firm Mercer. In 1997, it bought Johnson & Higgins, shortly after, it bought Sedgwick.[6]

On October 11, 2001, Marsh established a crisis consulting practice specializing in terrorism, with Ambassador L. Paul Bremer as Chairman. Marsh also announced a partnership with Control Risks Group to provide political risk assessment.

**from that wiki: L Paul Bremer family background: Christian Dior perfume (father).  Private prep-school (Andover) educated in Connecticut, Yale (like President Bush), Harvard and more training in Paris, and he’s working for the State Department.  Around this time (after 2003) he became known for heading the CPA (Coalition for Provisional Authority) in Iraq, which came under criticism for attempting to subvert some clauses in the constitution to ensure a US presence in the country.  His work connections around this time were reporting directly to the Department of Defense and the U.S. President — and Marsh & McLennan has him chairing its terrorism-based consulting practice.

In 2003, it purchased the consultancy business Oliver, Wyman & Company and merged these with some of the consultancy businesses from previous acquisitions, particularly the Mercer business under the brand name of Oliver Wyman. || On July 8, 2004, Marsh completed the acquisition of Kroll Inc.[7] Jeffrey W. Greenberg called it an important strategic step. The company had employed terrorism expert John O’Neill, formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On October 14, 2004, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer announced the initiation of a civil action against Marsh, alleging impropriety in the steering of clients to insurers with whom the company maintained payoff agreements, and for soliciting rigged bids for insurance contracts from the insurers. The Attorney General announced that two AIG executives pleaded guilty to criminal charges in connection with this illegal course of conduct and stated, “There is simply no responsible argument for a system that rigs bids, stifles competition and cheats customers.” CEO Jeffrey W. Greenberg resigned several weeks later. The suit was ultimately settled out of court.

On January 31, 2005, Marsh & Mclennan agreed on an $850-million settlement for its bid-rigging practices.[8]

Rule by Executive Order in Iraq (see image); check it out:

Wiki on Ambassador L. Paul Bremer (context, his involvement with Marsh & McLennan; that context, Marsh & McLennan president’s daughter Adele Smith Simmons’ involvement with the Chicago Annenberg Challenge..

Wikipedia section on Bremer’s role in the CPA concludes:

“Bremer’s role as the head of the CPA is notable for being the subject of much criticism. Large sums of money have been reported to have gone missing under Bremer’s leadership.[16] Bremer’s attempts at privatizing much of Iraq’s infrastructure and mineral wealth were also highly criticized[17] and the decision, apparently formulated in the office of the Secretary of Defense, to disband the Iraqi Army is widely credited for fueling the Iraqi insurgency against the American occupation.[18][19]

I realize that a daughter is not necessarily her father, but I am looking at the general background of someone who ended up running (?) the MacArthur Foundation near the end of the 20th century; with this foundation’s wealth also stemming in large part from Insurance.

The foundation is huge.  It was established in 1970 (John MacArthur died only in 1978), and let’s not forget, is dedicated to forming a more just, peaceful and verdant world:

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarcerationglobal climate changenuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. In addition to the MacArthur Fellows Program, the Foundation continues its historic commitments to the role of journalism in a responsible and responsive democracy, as well as the strength and vitality of our headquarters city, Chicago.

MacArthur is one of the nation’s largest independent foundations. Organizations supported by the Foundation work in about 50 countries. In addition to Chicago, MacArthur has offices in IndiaMexico, and Nigeria.

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur were quiet philanthropists in their lifetime, giving primarily to organizations in cities where they lived: Chicago and Palm Beach. Their business interests, including the immensely successful Bankers Life and Casualty insurance company and real estate holdings concentrated in Florida, New York City, and Chicago, consumed most of their time and energy.

On October 18, 1970 – after John’s longtime friend and attorney William T. Kirby convinced him that a foundation would allow his money to go to good use long after he was gone – the documents for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation were completed.

John intentionally left the business of what to fund to the Foundation’s first board of directors, which included Catherine; Kirby; his son, Roderick; radio commentator Paul Harvey, a friend from Chicago whose popular program carried ads for Bankers Life; and Louis Feil, a business associate from New York. “I made the money; you guys will have to figure out what to do with it,…

Interesting, this “history” doesn’t even reference how long his wife Catherine MacArthur lived (!).

The second decade [1980s] saw rapid expansion and experimentation, fueled by growing assets as Mr. MacArthur’s real estate holdings were liquidated. New ventures included a leadership role in Chicago school reform and support for vigorous neighborhood development efforts in Chicago.

….[skipping a paragraph about international expansion programs] Under Adele Simmons‘ creative leadership, the Foundation was reorganized to emphasize cross-cutting themes that illuminated the interconnectedness of problems it confronted and the complexity of their solutions.

That decade would be the 1990s.  Here’s the description the Adele Simmons link leads to:

Adele Simmons bio on MacArthur Foundation summarizes her work as its President 1989-1999.  Sounds rather international, plus concentrating/ simplifying its programming under just 4 headings (hey — just like Marsh & McLennan Companies also shows…)

Back to the list of “Chicago Annenberg Challenge” people, cont’d.

Patricia Aljberg Graham, PhD from Columbia University 1964, HGSE website photo.

For what it’s worth, Patricia Aljberg Graham is now Harvard Graduate School of Education, married to Loren R. Graham, (Professor Emeritus in History of Science MIT) and from 1991-2000 was at the Spencer Foundation in Chicago (click around on that site for more understanding; it had begun as “Science Research Associates” in 1938 by a 27-yr-old Univ. of Chicago graduate sociology student, Lyle M. Spencer.  Eventually, they went commercial, and IBM bought it out; he continued on the board.).

The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer. The Foundation received its major endowment upon Spencer’s death in 1968 and began formal grant making in 1971. Since that time, [viewed in 2017, 46 yrs later] the Foundation has made grants totaling nearly $500 million.

The Foundation is intended, by Spencer’s direction, to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. From the first, the Foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement in education. The Foundation is thus committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.

Spencer Foundation — ½ billion assets, plus some, in recent years.  Here are its returns. I looked at where the assets are invested (so could you, easily) and noted that the middle row — several pages of “See Statements” are not attached, and for the top (most current) while most of the return is quite legible, a clear effort was made to ensure that the $28M of grants distributed weren’t really (miniature font, fuzzy images).  The most subcontractor money was spent, predictably, on investment managers, and a single one for “Program Consulting” which was (for the two years I looked) another foundation…. “Public Agenda Foundation” in NY:

The Spencer Foundation ($500B+ assets) subcontractors. The address is N. Michigan Ave in Chicago. Pt IXA Direct Char. Activities was $416.3K. Subcontractors=4 investmt mgrs + 1 Program consultant (a foundation) + 1 more not shown.

The Spencer Foundation ($500B+ assets) subcontractors. N. Michigan Ave in Chicago, a different year: Pt IXA Direct Char. Activities was $559.7K.  Subcontractors=4 investmt mgrs + 1 Program consultant (a foundation) + 2 more not shown






Total results: 3Search Again. (SPENCER Foundation)

The Spencer Foundation IL 2016 990PF 38 $501,283,177.00 36-6078558
The Spencer Foundation IL 2015 990PF 17 $537,487,478.00 36-6078558
The Spencer Foundation IL 2014 990PF 38 $530,519,280.00 36-6078558

Professor Loren Graham (Island Press)  “Loren Graham is a historian of science who holds a joint appointment in the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University and the Science, Technology, and Society Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” and (his wiki) is considered the leading authority on Russian science outside that country.

He was a participant in one of the first academic exchange programs between the United States and the Soviet Union, studying at Moscow University in 1960-1961, and he has lived and worked in Russia dozens of times.

In addition to history of science, he has also written a popular book on Native American history (A Face in the Rock) and a memoir (Moscow Stories) which describes his youth in the United States and his adventures in Russia. He has also been a strong supporter of human rights and scholarship. He was a member of the board of trustees of George Soros’s International Science Foundation which gave financial support to scientists in Russia immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union. For many years he has been a member of the Governing Council of the Program on Basic Research and Higher Education [[housed where?]], which supports the combining of research and teaching in Russian universities and is financially supported by the MacArthur Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Russian Ministry of Science and Education, and local groups in Russia. He is a member of the advisory council of the U.S. Civilian Research & Development Foundation, which supports international scientific collaboration. For many years he was a member of the board of trustees of the European University at St. Petersburg and still serves on the board of a body raising money for that university. He gave several thousand books from his library to the European University which has established a special collection in his name.


I also see a series of articles, conservatives challenging the entire CAC enterprise as a William Ayers creation, with particular venom towards Obama’s involvement.  I can’t disagree even from the Wikipedia that Ayers involvement, and as we can see, Obama’s pre-2000, existed, and that the “small schools” movement it represents as well as “CES” (Ted Sizer’s concept, apparently) et. al, echo the “Summerhill” idea.  Or, that there are operational resemblances to how ACORN was later found to be operating.

But I still think it might be most interesting to look at the tax returns.

The Chicago Public Schools at the time (apparently) were a highly centralized, monopolistic model, probably like many urban public school systems.  Here’s a screenprint from “discoverthenewtorks” on this topic, and another from publication (?) “Hot Air” dated 2008, which we will note, was an election year involving now former President Obama, after his two terms as U.S. President!

Discover the Networks (excerpt) on CAC

Obama-Ayers connection: Chicago Annenberg Challenge from “Hot Air”


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!

So overall, this may be an exercise in idiocracy, but as a follow-up, it may help assuage some of my curiosity on this whole situation.

I’d said, perhaps looking from the Annenberg Foundation downward, one might find the AISR at Brown University registration (though at this point I doubt it).  I did learn more about the larger picture, which is in general good basic information to know.

There is a phrase, “Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.”  It appears that for many, the “prize” is collective control of the most assets, at least profitable assets, over time, while paying the least taxation on income from them. The more nonprofits one can distribute to, the less tax will likely be paid (collectively) on the whole, with enough and left over to spare for adequately lavish lifestyles, and left over to keep cementing relationships with those already in power, particularly political power.

So I say, “keep your eyes on the assets.

This next information might properly go better under “Bessemer” reference in yesterday’s (Apr 21, 2017’s) “Challenging the Annenberg Challenge” post — except for information overload.In reviewing yesterday’s post (today), I added a reference to how Bessemer Trust was in the earlier years of the ASC Trust at University of Pennsylvania (which is a related entity OF the University of Pennsylvania, and vice versa, and which was kick-started with a cool $100,000,000 in 2002 for the purpose of producing income for the U of P (while under the control of Annenbergs and their historic legal (Dilworth Paxson) and I gather, investment (Bessemer would seem to fit the bill) managers, plus initially a man who had succeeded Walter Annenberg as the head of Triangle Publications from 1984 until (if afterwards also, I didn’t check) its sale in 1989, Wm. J. Henrich.   We are still in topic “Annenberg” generally speaking, and I’m simply putting that info in here, after which it’s back to the post topic:

Here’s the link to the Fiscal Year 2005 ASC Trust at UofP, EIN# 81-0550464  I’d mentioned its assets had doubled in a few short years — they did, to $197M at this point (FY began July 1, 2005).  Take a look at some of the images particularly page 1 summary which shows that over over $13M earned (Excess revenues over expenses), only $3.75M was donated to the U of P.

Showing Professional Service fees FY2005 went to Bessemer Trust Company ($92K) and Dilworth Paxson LLP in Phillie ($70K)

Showing (top) Gain from sale of public traded securities — in Bessmer funds of 3 types. Top row $$ figures have no commas, however that is the largest amount at $117M. You can see the profits from first, obviously, investing in, second, selling, these securities. Bottom, although $13M gain was made that year, only $3.75M of it goes back to the Uof P as shown on bottom half, in 3 installments.

At the end of the year, these three statements show — NOTHING in Common Stocks, NOTHING in Bonds; all is in the UPenn AIF, that is, $115M in there. TO this day (I recall the FY2014 return) the assets remain there. That said, the UofP AIF fund is managed by “third parties” (says its financials) so they could be invested, literally, just about anywhere. As of FY2001, that AIF fund was (if I remember it right from viewing the UofP website; I also uploaded a screenshot to yesterday’s post) held collectively $2.8Billion. Now, probably much larger…













Yes, so Wikipedia on, specifically, the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (link, above) references Bill Ayers, who I believe many should know by now, is married to Bernardine Dohrn, had a background with SDS and the Weatherman, but is still respected in educational circles, and in origins, came from disaffected corporate wealth (a child of the 1960s), and with connections between the two of them also to Northwestern University (Chicago area, some of it in Chicago proper. Dohrn) and (until 2010 when he retired) UIC (Univ of Illinois at Chicago).

And connections, in fact close ones? or, at least through board-ship of this Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc., to former Senator and now former U.S. President, Barack Obama and presumably also Michelle.

I notice that in his 20s, he was working in a small school which imitated the Summerhill model (bottom of the second image, here):

Wiki on Bill Ayers, #1 of 2

Wiki on Bill Ayers, #2 of 2, notice reference to a Summerhill-modeled preschool at bottom.







Further information from the Bill Ayers quote, first on the dropping of FBI charges against Ayers and Dohrn, second on his academic background, whether one agrees or not on how to assess his political activities, makes clear his intense interest in urban educational reform, especially involvement with the Bank Street School.  I am posting this because it ties into the leadership of the Annenberg Public Challenge of the mid-to-late 1990s.  It shows what company they were keeping, not to mention the track record of “Coalition for Essential Schools” (which connections in the same leadership are clear from the Wiki article on the Chicago …Challenge above) as a non-filing for a dozen year in Rhode Island (after fleeing? the state to California….), in general, a we’re “above-the-law” mentality, and can get away with it, too (as subsequent return to Rhode Island and getting legislatively forgiven for its illegal behavior — which I have referenced several times on recent posts — seems to exemplify):

After the bombing, Ayers became a fugitive. During this time, Ayers and fellow member Bernardine Dohrn married and remained fugitives together, changing identities, jobs and locations.

In 1973, new information came to light about FBI operations targeted against Weather Underground and the New Left, all part of a series of covert and often illegal FBI projects called COINTEL.[20] Due to the illegal tactics of FBI agents involved with the program, including conducting wiretaps and property searches without warrants, government attorneys requested all weapons-related and bomb-related charges be dropped against the Weather Underground, including charges against Ayers.[21][22]

However, state charges against Dohrn remained. Dohrn was still reluctant to turn herself in to authorities. “He was sweet and patient, as he always is, to let me come to my senses on my own,” she later said of Ayers.[7] She turned herself in to authorities in 1980. She was fined $1,500 and given three years probation.[23]

and regarding his academic orientation and positions, this part as an image.  Right below that in the quote (on the Wiki) is a paragraph congratulating him as one of three authors which helped win in the Annenberg School Challenge grant for Chicago:

Bill Ayers Academic career from “Wiki,” including controversy on his 2010 retirement for having (allegedly) dedicated a book to, among about 200 others, the assassin of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. RFK’s son Christopher G was involved in the university and protested making him professor emeritus.

…Writer Sol Stern, a conservative opponent of liberal education policies, has criticized Ayers as having a virulent “hatred of America”, and said, “Calling Bill Ayers a school reformer is a bit like calling Joseph Stalin an agricultural reformer.”[46][47] William H. Schubert, a fellow professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, wrote that his election was “a testimony of [Ayers’] stature and [the] high esteem he holds in the field of education locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally.”[48]

Ayers worked with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley in shaping the city’s school reform program,[55] and was one of three co-authors of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge grant proposal that in 1995 won $49.2 million over five years for public school reform.[56] In 1997, Chicago awarded him its Citizen of the Year award for his work on the project.[57] Since 1999, he has served on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty, philanthropic foundation established as the Woods Charitable Fund in 1941.[58]Wall Street Journal columnist Thomas Frank praised Ayers as a “model citizen” and a scholar whose “work is esteemed by colleagues of different political viewpoints.”[59]


From the more colorful screenprint (thanks to my annotations) I wanted to see the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Inc. from the above list, which received about $6M in Year 2001. I see from the Wikipedia that it had a “successor organization” and that another one to be looked at would of course be the NASDC (New American Schools Development Corporation” under Kearns.

I just took a QUICK look at this D.C. 501©3 run by a married couple (Sol and Diane Pelavin) and its Related Schedule-R Nonprofits (as to the more recent filing), which are American Institute for Research in the Behavioral Sciences (AIR) in DC — and another similar in London — and a third in, as I recall, Naperville, IL.  Not to mention the C-Corp related entities. One of them had a Pennsylvania legal domicile despite the DC address…

Total results: 6Search Again.
(Click on the column headers to sort.)

New American Schools DC 2012 990EZ 13 $0.00 52-1730425
New American Schools DC 2011 990 33 $676,059.00 52-1730425
New American Schools DC 2010 990 33 $676,059.00 52-1730425
New American Schools Investment Fund DC 2008 990EZ 15 $0.00 54-1966125
New American Schools Investment Fund DC 2007 990 22 $194,407.00 54-1966125
New American Schools Investment Fund DC 2006 990 22 $1,556,836.00 54-1966125

I couldn’t find earlier tax returns to see when it actually had some money by changing the year only on the url.  On a hunch, I tried a fiscal year ending June 30, 2001, (changing the month indicator on the url also) and discovered an entity with the same EIN# but a different name, in a different state, and further clarifying how it operates!  David Kearns was “Chairman Emeritus” on this one. …

Check it out!   FY2001 (YE 6.30.2002) Education Entrepreneur Fund in Alexandria Virginia, EIN# 541966125 (showing website on p.1 “New American Schools”-referencing NASCHOOLS.org) Above, this becomes New American Schools Investment Fund which as you can see is phased out ca. 2008, with its related “New American Schools” not shown past 2012 (and other sources say it merged into the larger AIR).


IN THIS BOTTOM SECTION, I AM SIMPLY LOADING SEVERAL ANNOTATED (my annotations) IMAGES (AND RELATED PDFs for full-sized viewing)from this single tax return FY2001 above.

They may not be in exact order (which I may straighten out post-publication).  I think an overview of this will help illuminate what’s being done with the “New American Schools” model, which at this point was called a “related” entity of the “Entrepreneur Education Fund” (Same EIN#).

Notice that David Kearns is listed as Chairman Emeritus in one image, and that among the others, several related companies (TeachFirst [in Seattle WA], Education Capital Markets, [Aexandria VA diff’t address], Educational Impact [in PA], and Co-Nect, Inc.) are mentioned as either subcontractors, or as where this entity is holding small amounts of investments.

Brief summary from viewing this tax return only (I did look through some in the table above).  The seven (7) images will show these, or other parts of the same return.

From its Schedule A of Support, I see that it apparently was funded (with about $3M!) the first time in 1999, only a few years earlier.  From its Balance Sheet (partial image) we see it is claiming $6M+ is due TO it, but its also holding a $10,000,000 “mortgage or notes payable” as a liability, and it doesn’t say which.  In fact no explanation that I could see for what the $10M might represent is given.  11 images in all.  I put some time into captions, but am not sorting the related pdfs.  My order of “images” doesn’t exactly match the page order within the Form 990.

Feedback can be submitted by comments at any time (keep it relevant, pls!)

#1 of 11.Page 1 top Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing $1.1M contribs and slighty larger gross receipts plus a website name that doesn’t match the business entity name, & 675 N. Washington St #220, Alexandria, VA address.

#2of_. Statemt2 (re Exempt Purpose for Form 990 Pt III) Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing nationwide scope targeting [introducing learning alternatives for] children in public school systems

#3 of 11 Pt VI Other Info, Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing NAS is a related entity (blue oval)

#4 of 11  Pt V List of Officers, Direx, Trustees & Key Emp’ees (all volunteer), Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing “David Kearns, Chairman Emeritus. Image also captures last line of Pt. IV showing (Balance sheet? or Income/Outgo) for the year

#5 of 11 Balance Sheet (most of it) Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, raising several questions on activities & categories of assets v. liabilities; refers to other statemts. (#3,4 & 5)

#6 Sched A of Support, top Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing first funded 1999 ($3M), 2000 ($3M); this is 2001 return.  If it’s mosty investments, an 18% ROI over two yrs.

#7 of 11 Indep Subcontractors Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing 3 interesting ones (incl TeachFirst Seattle) all for “Technical Assistance” and moderately compensat’n.

#8 of 11 “Statemt 3″ (Detailing Other Investmts” from Balance Sheet) Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, showing $100K in Teachfirst, and $200K in “Co-Nect Inc.”

#9 of 11 “Statemt 4” (Detailing “Other Assets” from Balance Sheet), Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125, $120K in “Intangible Assets.” I see another statemt (“Other Expenses”) shows $120K+ put into NewAmericanSchools (related entity).

#10 of 11 “Statemt 5” detailing Other Liabilities from Balance Sheet (Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125), showing $272K interest due (on their $10M loan or mortgage? See Balance Sheet) AND $110K due New American Schools.

#11 of 11 “Statemt 1” for “Other Expenses” (Educ Entrepreneur Fund FY2001 EIN#541966125), showing $120,217 “Indirect NAS Operational Support” $141K “Loan Loss Reserve” and $5,000 “Dues and Subscriptions” — wonder which ones! Oh yes, ans $87K consulting fees.

Related pdfs to view the above 11 annotated images full-size (to see without annotations, simply look at the tax return link).

Image #1 EIN# 541966125 (became NAS) here FY2001 Form 990 Pg1 Top EducEntrepreneursFund (cf David Kearns + NASchools’org) Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 6.50PM


Image #2 EducEntreprFund FY2001 (EIN#541966125) Statemt[2] PRIMARY PURPOSE is to Expand and Manage the Design Team Investmt Progrm for Kids in Public Schools across US~ Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at…



Image #3 EIN# 541966125 (became NAS) here FY2001 Form 990 (showing PtVI p5 Ln80 — NAS is Related org) Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.43PM



Image #4 EIN# 541966125 (became NAS) here FY2001 Form 990 PtV Directors shows David Kearns Emeritus ~~ EducEntrepreneurs Fund (cfNASchools’org) (Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 6.52PM









Image #5 EducEntpreprFund EIN# 541966125 (became NAS) FY2001 Form 990 PtX (Partial) SHOWING 6M notes Receivable + 10M (even) Mtge or Notes payable (Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 6.51PM




Image #6 EducEntrepr Fund EIN# 541966125 (later NAS) here FY2001 Form 990 SCHED A showing 1999+2000 Gifts totaling 6’4M Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.45PM






Image #7 EducEntrepr Fund HighestPaid subContractors EIN# 541966125 (later NAS) here FY2001 Form 990 Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.45PM



Image #8 EducEntrePrenFund (cf NAS David Kearns etc) EIN#541966125 STATEMENT 3 Investmt in Non-GovtSecurities Names 2 more companies Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.48PM





Image #9 EducEntrePrenFund (cf NAS David Kearns etc) EIN#541966125 STATEMENT 4 (120K Intangible Assets) Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.49PM





Image #10 EducEntrePrenFund (cf NAS David Kearns etc) EIN#541966125 FY2001 OTHER LIABILITIES STATEMT 5=272K interest (on their 10M loan?) and 110K due NAS (Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.50PM




Image #11 EducEntrePrenFund (cf NAS David Kearns etc) EIN#541966125 OTHER EXPs STATEMENT 1 Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 7.49PM




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

April 26, 2017 at 8:13 pm

One Response

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  1. daveyone1

    April 26, 2017 at 11:09 pm

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