Learning and Impact

Meaningful and sustainable change takes time and a willingness to learn together.

Isadora Kosofsky/CatchLight for Stuart Foundation

The Foundation learns from and alongside partners to inform our strategy and adapt to changing conditions. 

The Foundation adopts a learning stance in all we do. To ensure that we capture learning from the field and from our work, we monitor statewide data and policy developments; stay in close relationship with partners to understand their efforts, impact, and the changing context for their work; and conduct periodic reviews of important themes or issues within and across our grantmaking. This emergent approach enables us to adapt to shifts in research, policy, and practices and to capitalize on opportunities. 

We are committed to: 

  • Building Knowledge – creating and sharing research, practices, models, structures, and processes; 
  • Strengthening Relationships – providing time and space for people throughout the education ecosystem to come together, establish trust, and share and create knowledge; and  
  • Shifting Narratives – analyzing shifts in how problems are defined and understood and how solutions are identified and spread. 

Key learnings that guide our work include: 

“Paper Collage” by Isabel Kim

Strong and trusting relationships are essential for transformation. We have learned from our partners and other stakeholders – educators and their students, families and advocates, researchers and policy makers – that relationships of trust and respect are foundational to creating just and equitable schools and school systems.


The knowledge and perspectives of students, families, and communities furthest from opportunity need to shape and guide the public education system. Their leadership and expertise informs our work and our understanding of the changes needed to ensure that school systems are connected to and reflective of the communities they serve.


Transforming systems for equity requires a strong education ecosystem. Our grantmaking over the years has supported all elements of the ecosystem, with particular attention to cohesion at the state level, system supports for district and school leadership, and innovative models and practice at the community level.  We are grateful to have such committed partners in the field who are instrumental in transforming California’s public education systems for equity.

Convenings create an opportunity to build shared understanding and advance collaborative efforts. While we don’t believe in meeting for meeting’s sake, we do value the opportunity to gather with partners across a broad spectrum of experience, perspectives, and expertise to build relationships, exchange knowledge, share different viewpoints, and identify ways to maximize impact.

“Pathway Quilt” by Isabel Kim

“Golden Age” by Laura Salazar

Emergent knowledge is only useful when broadly shared and understood. Over the years, we have consistently invested in research to inform policy and practice. We have also seen that maximizing impact requires a thoughtful and inclusive dissemination strategy that includes a variety of ways for stakeholders at every level to interrogate and integrate the learning.

Innovation can catalyze systems change.  Large-scale systems change is often informed and catalyzed by innovative practices at all levels of the public education system. We work to support and build the conditions for change – often through innovations, sometimes over many years – until windows of opportunity open for major breakthroughs.


Policy wins are milestones, not destinations. Equity-focused policies are an essential step toward advancing opportunities and outcomes, particularly for marginalized students.  They only improve students’ experiences and learning, however, when they are translated into changes in culture, systems, and practices.

To learn more about the fabulous art on this page and our creative partnership with students at the Otis College of Art and Design, please see our story, “Perspectives on Thriving."

“Cacti in Bloom” by Salan Hamamah