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Posts Tagged ‘AISR – Annenberg Institute for School Reform (RI Bus ID# 000087858-EIN#NF at time of publication]

Six Posts (at least) in the Pipeline Pre-Thanksgiving 2017, Yet I See I’d Outlined the Same Basics One Year Ago (Nov. 2016) [Published 11/21/2017].

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Title:Six Posts (at least) in the Pipeline, Pre-Thanksgiving 2017 (looking back, looking forward…), Yet I See I’d Outlined Nearly the Same Basics One Year Ago (Nov. 2016) [Published 11/21/2017]. (case-sensitive short-link ends “-7ZH”).  Published initially with tags; about 9,500 words including the “navigation” section with its outline of subtitles near the top, which I felt would help process the many images and references found in the middle. And an extended section on previously-blogged JPA (multi-state, i.e., “regional” government entity) WestEd, which now has a revamped website (which still neglects to post its financials and mis-states its date of origin by 30 years…).

On the bottom of this post I’ve been updating the status of the referenced posts while publishing them, one by one over the past ten days (Nov. 22 – Dec. 1: see post archives for November 2017 for dates).  Once published each post is then re-viewed, clarified, sometimes extending it, sometimes just correcting layout.  I’m posting more frequently now, but it’s still an intense process which ALWAYS uncovers more information to blog, OFTEN further illuminates my own understanding of some situations (typically, organizations placed in the intersection between public and private — and the board members’ ownership of, or investment in, subcontracting organizations) I may have been aware of for years, which I look forward to explaining as I can. Maintaining the anchor (mental commitment) to those already in draft, shown below, sometimes provides conflicting currents as a writer.  I write best typically while most focused on the present research in the overarching context of my own learning curve and desire to communicate clearly what I am seeing and hearing, and watching continue to evolve over the years.  //LGH, Dec. 1, 2017.

Just in case, Title Terminology:  “In the Pipeline” is a common phrase (school-to-prison pipeline, cradle-to-career-pipeline), but here’s how I use it referring instead just to posts.

Posts in the pipeline or “spin-off posts” are portions of some writing in process* with a blog “street address” but still in draft status, felt to be significant enough for more attention under their own titles. *Typically they come up as I am writing some post, and are related but I feel they may seem extraneous to a reader covering the subject matter for the first time. Other times, less often, I start them from scratch on their own post when I realize the topic should be handled before it almost writes itself on some other project I want published sooner.

Sometimes these off-ramped finds, like my  more consistently noticing the presence of independent subcontractors as  major part of some charities, are a key which puts the larger picture together, i.e., opens double-wide doors to understanding.  Examples:  Bridgespan as a subcontractor (and its relationship to “Bain”); or, further back in its  corporate existence (and in my blog’s history), NCCD (National Council on Crime & Delinquency) as an Oakland, California-based subcontractor taking government grants from around the world, or I should say, around the “Commonwealth Nations” and around the USA, on a “Children’s Rights, Inc.” charity based in New York.

There is a recent example also on these blogs, too, although it’s not as a subcontractor of some charity, but a listed partner among others in on certain website offering multi-state filings for charities.  One of the listed partners was bought out within six years of its creation, leading to my better understanding of a (different) company historically significant to the practice of corporate law in the United States (!), and as we have (already) turned the century into the digital age and the professionalization of services to and “software AS a service” companies to the philanthropic / nonprofit sector.

Typically also posts in the pipeline were nearly complete before I moved them under their own titles, with “nearly” still meaning “not yet..” in blog administrator terms.  Parallels to baking bread, or, (to borrow from my more familiar, experiential points of reference), preparing and rehearsing a musical ensemble for a concert, may help explain a sense when 90% “done” isn’t good enough. It’s not about complete perfection, it’s about having enough vital components to complete the course and “deliver the goods” for better understanding of the evolving”playing field” in which this blog became necessary.

About This Post:

This post is shorter than most.  It serves a review and blog administrative function for my use, but  I’m publishing it in the belief it will also help readers see the FamilyCourtMatters blog continuity and understand that while it may seem like widely disparate groups I’m investigating and reporting on, in fact the investigations and reports together circle around some core, basic themes.  [This thought continued below the next “Navigation” section]

Navigation:  Blog sections, by Subtitle.  It seems there are six main sections.  Any section may contain text in a variety of formats, and/or images.  I only posted one table of Forms 990 (for a change!). The longer Sections 2 and 5, especially, set up the Posts in the Pipeline as being along the same concepts but just applied to different organizations.  There is overlap of type, and (future posts will show) also overlap of entities and personnel involved — hardly surprising because I’m looking at some of the more powerful foundations around, and major causes with public policy in transition…There is also some overlap of material below between some of the sections.

I don’t want us to lose sight of what some of these influential groups have themselves lost sight of — the requirement of holding to some real ethics, reason, and at least an attempt to keep their collaborating colleagues honest, instead of just “going for the jugular” on some groups which might be in competition for the same audiences.  Which I say happened in the recent prosecution of a sham (fake) cancer charities.  Not that they weren’t sham (I read — seems like they certainly were) — but they ALSO were in competition with the tobacco mega-fund money coursing triumphantly through government and the philanthropic sectors both, and often in partnership.

That last comment will make more sense in the context of reading up on “NAAG” and “NASCO” (see Outline here):

  1. About This Post (you’re in it…)
  2. Concentric Circles of Investigation, Common Themes – To Review 
    1. WestEd (MIA financials on both old and new websites; see prior posts on this).
    2. AISR at Brown and Annenberg Foundation-Related
    3. NGA
    4. NAAG, NASCO (current project and research themes)
    5. Multi-million-dollar MIA grants (overlaps with some of the above and below groups)
    6. Multi-million-dollar Grants not MIA, but it sure seems the projects are, and don’t look remotely that classy when parts of them show up, either…
    7. NCALP at Capital University (Columbus, Ohio) (transformed into) Family & Youth Law Center / and its IPV Collaborative personally assisting David Mandel’s career path through curricula marketing.
      1. Basic conclusion to the “Concentric Circles / Review” section:  “The more you look, the more of such situations surface.  How much is acceptable? It is really something which is subject to being controlled and monitored — or not?”
  3. “The Same Basics One Year Ago, ” (brief, only one image)
  4. More Recent Discoveries (contents include BizFilings, Guidestar, short section — but Guidestar info cont’d in another section)
  5. Brief Recap of the recent Nov. 18 post and Nov. 11 page significance, and more images from “Guidestar, Inc.” (formerly “Philanthropic Research, Inc.”) and a bit on (Paul) Newman’s Own Foundation, Inc. (versions 1 & 2, based in Connecticut), also referenced as involved, or to be involved, in the MRFP and Single Portal Initiative… 
    1. Contains narrative and many images, plus a Form 990 table for GuideStar USA, Inc.
    2. Summarizes the most recent post and page, obviously.
  6. IN GENERAL (barely a section, but it is a heading)
  7. Six Posts (at least) in the Pipeline, Pre-Thanksgiving 2017 (looking back, looking forward…)
    1. In image format (not interactive)
    2. In texts (bulleted, with titles, links and some surrounding descriptions from the context where they were first referenced).

As you can see above, the actual list of posts is on the bottom in two formats:  Images (from my WordPress Admin site showing titles of post started in November and still in draft) and, for later convenience, text & titles with active links.  And some surrounding abstracts or reminders of the context.  And it’s at the bottom of the post.  FYI there were nine ten (10) in all, not six (6).  One more showed up which hadn’t been imaged (on the historic basis of “Sovereignty” concept, from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).*

*That is, after all, a big question (despite it having become a “dirty word” and negative- or positive-only values-laden descriptor for certain people with certain beliefs in the USA — the question in any form of government is “Who’s the boss?” (legally, and effectively/administratively which will often show up economically).  So, national “sovereignty” as a concept has origins in contrast to, it seems the Holy Roman Empire.  Worth thinking about in the historic sense. This post just provides some resources (links) for further reading.

An image looks like this (the example only has one title showing, though).

#3 of 3 (My Blog Posts Started Nov. 2017 in Draft, by when last modified (not originated). This one more of a study project from recent headlines on Puerto Rico debt and hurricane recovery 2017, transferable info.

A title with link looks just like what you see at the top, or will see if you scroll to the bottom of this post, below the images, to see those in the pipeline listed in bullet format, with some nearby fine-print summaries for most of them.  Why?  Because with enough memory pegs for the months or even possibly years of writing ahead (further down the FamilyCourtMatters road), I expect my head may be buried either deeper into this theme, or into a related one. I sometimes even dream about material I am currently working; it gets under one’s skin…Once it’s published, a previous multi-post project is buried less deeply in my psyche (so to speak), but is better available for mental recall when there’s enough surrounding context.  As with advertising, to a degree also with teaching (and learning): repetition helps comprehension, but better that the repetition is also tied to context.

…These concentric or overlapping circles are just getting wider and further back in time, and the drill-downs on the available financials (or searches when they are not available) deeper.  I am also considering more parts of a typical Form 990 when I do look, and more internal comparisons and looking more consistently at change over time (i.e., looking for earlier filings). So while some may wonder what “Education” or “Big Tobacco” have to do, really, with “Family Courts” or “Domestic Violence Prevention,” as a whole, they are dealing with and justified on the basis of financial matters, and involve similar vehicles and organizing tactics (networking) over time in pursuit if any national or international cause.

Developing overwhelming weight and influence (to stack the odds towards success) in pursuit of a privately chosen cause (public policy, message, results or outcomes) also regularly shows ongoing symptoms, often showing up after the fact or after the infrastructure is already entrenched with matters of control, secrecy, of sequestering of total government entity (collective) AND total corporate (collective, when it comes to the networks) size of assets and investments (income producing, whether through dividends and interest as held, or when sold) from public awareness, and on this basis, demanding more and more compliance, conformity, and personal concessions from the population as a whole.

Many aspects of this resemble tactics of batterers and coercive control when at the individual level which we might now simply call “abuse” or “domestic violence.” It’s the behavior of terrorist mentality, not of a personal subjection to law, and deep respect for others of differing economic, social, racial/ethnic, citizenship OR status.  Or of a different gender. Talk to women or, I’ll bet also men, who have been held captive to this kind of intimate or family control, coercion, and long-term intimidation, not to commonly-accepted laws, standards, or with regard to rights — but to simply what the abusers want.   The difference is just of scale and primary venue, and the bystander audiences addressed.  What I’m talking about here is when the bystander audiences are the entire country not “in on it,” and international participants, too.

Concentric Circles of Investigation, Common Themes – To Review

… … …To review, remember the “where’s your tax return?” status of certain major-cause-collaborating, well-financed (and public, private, or public-private in concert) groups I’ve blogged on? such as (just a few examples…):

  • WestEd  (I notice the website has been, it seems, completely reformatted since I reported on this.  A horizontal timeline slideshow now exists.  While this probably relates to a 50th Anniversary (since 1966), I note there are STILL no Financials (CAFRs — it being a JPA, a government, not private, entity which crosses state borders, though domiciled in California), despite posting an impressive list by type of “Our Clients and Funders” (no amounts or years, and not distinguishing “clients” from “funders.”  It’s just a single page which links to nothing else).  So are the pages within the timeline, that I saw so far.
  • AISR (The Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown) + CES (Coalition of Essential Schools) network, the Ted & Nancy Sizer et al.  Plenty posted before, enough said for now!
    • Except I recall some MIA grants involving a Chicago Entity, and later CPS Schools Chief being ousted for fraud in grants administration.  (See posts in below images)
    • Nearby “Broad Institute | Academy | Center | Foundation (versions 1 versions 2) possibly related.  Had to do with training for urban school system supervisors.
    • And, one post title with active link, and all those posts (in image form with dates published dates):

My Annenberg-related posts published so far; The names speak loudly. Click image to enlarge and see. Only one has tabs (and not all shown on this image)

An Annenberg-related FamilyCourtMatters post + publication date (but no tags), title also shown with link nearby (Nov. 21, 2017 new post)

Challenging the Annenbergs’ Public Education Challenge Grants, Still Searching for AISR@Brown as a Form 990 filer, Still Scrutinizing Why We Accept that Privately Controlled, Synched, Billion-Dollar, Tax-Exempt Foundations Care about the Public as Much as About Controlling Their Collective Assets (and the Public, Lest We Start Demanding a Better Look at the Books!) with case-sensitive short-link ending “-6yC”

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

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

  • The NGA (National Governors’ Association) which controls its foundation (501©3) thereby allowing direct corporate “Fellows” concentration, with privileged access, to its conferences that normal citizens cannot attend (i.e., Pay-Us-To-Play in the “major leagues,” but for which no financials are shown, that I can see (view tax returns of the supporting “NGA Center for Best Practices” for more details).  The ‘NGA” is one of the “Big Seven” associations coordinating efforts before the Congress on their own behalf.  [no reminder text or images provided here; it’s more distant blog history…]
  • …and now, more recently, I see the NAAG (National Association of Attorneys General) and NASCO (National Association of State Charity Officials), the NAAG’s “Mission Foundation” (formed in 2002? with funds from MSA Tobacco Settlement), and I haven’t yet explored in depth, but there are plenty of visuals showing a “NAGTRI” (Training and Research Institute) said to have been created in 2007 (logo below, accessible through main NAAG.org website).  Then again, it’s hard to explore what one can’t even access yet.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


This organization has co-published titles with …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From that post, referencing this one:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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














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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Total results: 3Search Again.

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

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

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

“iWalkthrough” applications

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

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


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

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

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

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

see “powerfuled.org” “About” page.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for patience and reading tenacity this time

// Let’s Get Honest 4/9/2017

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