What We Do

The Stuart Foundation engages with people, programs, systems, and ideas.

Isadora Kosofsky/CatchLight for Stuart Foundation

We leverage our financial resources and relationships to advance a vibrant and just public education system in California that supports all adolescents to thrive. 

Funder Networks and Partnerships

We participate in a variety of collaborations to learn from and with funding partners and advance shared priorities. These efforts include funder learning collaboratives, public/private partnerships, pooled funds to maximize and align investments, and funder-field networks that seek to build relationships and advance shared priorities across the broad education ecosystem. 

Guiding Principles and Commitments

We are guided by the same principles that our partners exhibit in supporting young people:

  • Center relationships
  • Build trust
  • Value and elevate the diverse perspectives, talents, and voices that are essential to school transformation
  • Advance equity
  • Embrace complexity
  • Reflect, adapt, and refine as needed

Our Strategy

The Stuart Foundation has worked for nearly four decades in California and Washington state to cultivate the conditions for adolescents to thrive.

Our resources and our strategy are focused on Thriving Adolescents and Transforming Systems for Equity.  These two key areas of work are symbiotic: Equitable and high-functioning systems are prerequisites for adolescent thriving.  At the same time, progress on improving opportunities and outcomes for young people shows that the public education system can be responsive to changing needs. Redesigned schools can cultivate the rich talents of today’s students.

To maximize impact, we put a high premium on collaborative efforts and relationship building and strive for tight integration across all areas of our work.  While we act with a sense of urgency for today’s adolescents, we know it takes time and perseverance to transform a public education system as large and complex as California’s.  While keeping our eyes on the long view, we remain curious, agile, and responsive to new approaches, needs, and opportunities.

Our current strategic priorities include:

  • Transforming Systems for Equity – focuses on coherence and continuous improvement, equitable and adequate resourcing, and on measuring what matters.
  • Foster Youth and Other Priority Populations remain integral to our strategy. More recently, we have focused on youth experiencing homelessness, justice-involved youth, newcomer students, and multilingual students. Paying attention to young people most marginalized by public systems helps us understand what can support thriving for them, and for all students.
  • Two new collaborative funds that capitalize on positive conditions in California to catalyze efforts in two critical areas:
    • reaffirming the multiple purposes of education for youth and communities, including the role that public education plays in supporting a vibrant democracy; and
    • reimagining learning for adolescent thriving across high school, college, and career.


Grantmaking Approach and Grantee Partners

In our approach to grantmaking:

  • We work to cultivate relationships of trust, respect, and partnership with our grantees.
  • We prioritize listening and learning, sharing what we learn, and adapting our strategy to reflect changing conditions and new knowledge.

We provide financial resources, relationship and networking support, and thought partnership to our grantee partners, whose efforts and leadership are changing the experiences and trajectory of youth in California.

We are fortunate to support and partner with a wide range of organizations, institutions, and leaders. Our grantees include researchers, community organizers, educators, advocates, technical assistance providers, systems thinkers and designers, nonprofit media outlets, and other types of organizations that engage with public education.

The Foundation proactively identifies grantee partners, and does not accept unsolicited proposals to respect grantseekers’ time and to reduce unproductive efforts where a sufficient fit is not present.


Learning and Impact

We place a high premium on learning and reflection, and we engage in periodic, time-bound reviews of our progress to inform strategy refinements and to share our knowledge. We work collaboratively with grantees and partners to gain insights by reflecting on progress, assessing the political contexts and predominant narratives, and tracking changes in the education system’s capacities and outcomes. This emergent approach enables us to adapt to evolving shifts in practice, research, policy, and narrative; to monitor progress toward equity and achievement; and to promote continuous learning within and beyond our organization.


Photo: valbar STUDIO

Photo: Allison Shelley/The Verbatim Agency for EDUimages

Foundation Updates

We elevate the work of grantees and reflect on changes inside the Foundation, in the public education system, and in the opportunities and experiences of young people. We are unabashed champions of adolescents and leverage our Updates to share and celebrate their work, ideas, and accomplishments.



The Foundation has an asset base of approximately $554 million and annual charitable expenditures of approximately $27 million.


Resource Library

We provide open access to a library of curated resources across a range of topics that have been produced by grantees with Foundation support. The library includes a broad cross-section of products, including research reports and case studies, toolkits, and videos. By providing these resources we hope to support learning across issues and organizations, and better understand the arc of change and improvement in the public education system in California.