The founder and the family are concerned about the future of our country, its economy, and the need to graduate more students with four-year college degrees in an environment of rapidly increasing costs in higher education. Concern also exists for the “forgotten half” of students who either cannot or choose not to pursue a four-year degree.
Some post-secondary education and credentials seem essential to family-supporting careers in today’s workforce. Declining levels of achievement among U.S. students (K-12) compared to their worldwide peers needs to be reversed and is a family priority. Although funding certain programs in public district schools remains a possibility, the majority of school funding will be directed at K-12 charter, Catholic, or private schools, particularly those that serve the working- and middle-class and are high-performing.
Recent research on the developing brain underscores the vital importance of quality early childhood education, which the Foundation considers a priority. The Foundation, its founder, and its founding family also have a strong appreciation for the role entrepreneurship can play in job creation and in strengthening the economy.
The Foundation, in its areas of geographic emphasis, will issue grants to:
- Build the capacity of high-performing schools, by invitation only, to provide more children with quality education and a better start in life and promote the sharing of best practices with schools having that potential;
- Support best-in-class early childhood education providers through capacity building and quality enhancements;
- Positively affect the excellence and enrollments of Minnesota’s 152 Catholic elementary schools;
- Support high-quality, out-of-school-time activities to increase exposure to instruction and allow for greater progress in learning and the development of resiliency;
- Attempt to improve the success rates of the next generation of entrepreneurs through degree-granting higher education programs and schools for students of entrepreneurship;
- Lessen the negative impact of rising costs in higher and professional education on middle- and working-class students by offering college scholarships primarily in the foundation’s areas of geographic focus;
- Support the development of alternative career pathways through schools demonstrating excellence in career and technical education and a willingness to partner with employers and high schools; and
- Attempt to incentivize high-achieving students into careers in education through scholarship programs designed to reduce the debt burden assumed by education school graduates.