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Bellwether Education Partners Inc.

 517 Boston Post Road, Unit 171
 Sudbury, MA 01776
[P] (877) 636-0909
[F] --
www.bellwethereducation.org
[email protected]
Moire Carmody
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INCORPORATED: 2010
 Printable Profile (Summary / Full)
EIN 26-1914515

LAST UPDATED: 07/02/2018
Organization DBA --
Former Names Connect the Dots Inc. (2007)
Organization received a competitive grant from the Boston Foundation in the past five years Yes

Summary

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Mission StatementMORE »

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

Mission Statement

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

FinancialsMORE »

Fiscal Year Sept 01, 2017 to Aug 31, 2018
Projected Income $12,756,262.00
Projected Expense $12,218,325.00

ProgramsMORE »

  • Policy and Thought Leadership
  • Strategic Advising

Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

For more details regarding the organization's financial information, select the financial tab and review available comments.


Overview

Mission Statement

Bellwether Education Partners is a national nonprofit focused on dramatically changing education and life outcomes for underserved children. We do this by helping education organizations accelerate their impact and by working to improve policy and practice.

Background Statement

Bellwether Education Partners was founded in 2010 with the vision of a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict life outcomes for students. Our four founding partners — Monisha Lozier, Andrew Rotherham, Mary Wells, and Kim Smith — brought deep expertise in strategy, policy, and talent honed through years of experience in senior leadership positions in government, philanthropy, strategic consulting, and school and nonprofit management. They wanted to use these skills and perspectives to help education organizations in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors accelerate results for underserved students and to cultivate a policy context that enables those organizations and their students to thrive.


Impact Statement

Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities for students, and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.

Our work focuses on five service areas:

  • Policy analysis and research
  • Strategy and growth planning
  • Organizational effectiveness and efficiency
  • Implementation support
  • Educational program evaluation

Through our integrated offerings, we provide comprehensive, coherent, and lasting solutions to education’s most long-standing and complicated problems.

Since 2010, Bellwether has worked with over 335 clients, which allows us to gain a deep understanding of the field’s needs and opportunities. It allows us to see emerging trends and connect the dots within an often fragmented educator sector. Our team includes veteran teachers, policymakers, activists, and organizational management professionals who thrive in tackling the thorniest policy and strategy challenges — and who are poised to make an even deeper impact.


Needs Statement

Bellwether works with a diverse cross-section of education organizations, from charter schools and CMOs to school districts, boards of education, media outlets, foundations, and more. This work is primarily supported through project-based grants or fee-for-service agreements, which are typically limited in scope. However, some of the most high-impact work we do involves responding to fast-moving events in real time through education sector writing and analysis that goes beyond an individual client, providing value to the field at large. Long-term flexible funding will help Bellwether unlock more resources to share our broader insights and recommendations with the field based on our deep knowledge of the sector through ten years of diverse client and policy work.


CEO Statement

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Board Chair Statement

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Geographic Area Served

NATIONAL
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Organization Categories

  1. Education - Management & Technical Assistance
  2. -
  3. -

Independent research has been conducted on this organization's theory of change or on the effectiveness of this organization's program(s)

No

Programs

Policy and Thought Leadership

Our Policy and Thought Leadership practice conducts research in order to develop ideas, publish reports, and make recommendations that have an impact on education policy and the broader conversation about America’s schools. Through high-quality analysis, advising, and support services, we help organizations and leaders understand how policies affect their work so they can improve outcomes for underserved students.

Our team members have backgrounds that include work at the federal, state, and local levels and span a wide variety of policy and advocacy issues. Members of our team have taught in classrooms, worked with school districts, and served in roles at the White House, the Department of Education, and state education agencies. We offer unparalleled, independent analysis of education issues informed by our deep expertise and broad networks in the education sector. As a result, we are consistently sought out for advice about trends and opportunities in education and to offer guidance on positioning in the current debate.

Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

The writing on our website and blogs is read by journalists, congressional staff, education leaders, and advocates, and Bellwether team members have published prominent commentaries in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Detroit News, The Denver Post, Vox, EducationNext, Time, and elsewhere.

Bellwether’s work has often led to direct policy change or shifts in public understanding of important education issues. Our individual staff members have an established track record of shaping and influencing debate and policymaker understanding on teacher evaluation, teacher pensions, school choice, pre-k education, and accountability systems. 

Our ideologically diverse team, deep expertise, and editorial freedom are unique in the education sector and are one reason our work has such impact.
Program Long-Term Success  Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities for students, and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 

In January 2017, Bellwether published a comprehensive slide deck titled “Michigan Education Landscape: A Fact Base for the DeVos Debate,” which provided an in-depth look at the education policy landscape in Michigan. The positive reception of this deck — and its utilization by major national journalists — demonstrated that Bellwether could help clarify conflicting information in the context of a heated education debate.

Bellwether did similar work on The Learning Landscape, a comprehensive, web-based research fact base that summarizes key aspects of K-12 education in the United States. This widely praised and widely used resource is a unique overview of the education landscape of the United States that helps ground debates in real facts.

Our work on pensions, led by Principal Chad Aldeman, has been featured in many national publications, most recently The New York Times. Aldeman is frequently sought out as an expert by journalists, foundations, and state policymakers, and runs biweekly calls for influential thinkers on pension-related issues.

Bellwether analysis, research, and recommendations from Sara Mead and Ashley LiBetti Mitchel informed the revision of the Head Start Performance Standards finalized in 2016, especially on issues related to data use and the education of dual language learners.

For two weeks during the 2016 Democratic and Republican National Conventions, Bellwether partnered with The 74 to live blog the speeches and presidential and vice presidential debates, and our team covered the candidates’ records on hot-button federal and state education policy issues.

Our “State of the Charter Movement” slide deck, which summarizes the overall status of the charter movement, has been consistently referenced by the press and field leaders since its release in 2015 and is credited as being the most even-handed publicly available account of charter schooling.

In 2015, a report about Ohio’s charter school sector by Juliet Squire, Kelly Robson, and former Bellwether Partner Andy Smarick had significant influence on Ohio policymakers. Following the advice of editorials about our research in the Columbus Dispatch and Cleveland Plain Dealer, the state significantly reformed its charter school law. Almost all of Bellwether’s recommendations were included in the final Ohio law.

The 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) included several rural provisions developed by Bellwether analysts, including ways that rural school districts could collaborate more effectively under federal policy.

During the No Child Left Behind era, policy analysis and writing by Andrew Rotherham drew public attention to inequitable proficiency targets for minority and low-income students in Virginia’s accountability system. This work, including an op-ed in The Washington Post, helped spur a change in Virginia’s accountability policies and accountability targets.

Strategic Advising

Our Strategic Advising practice advises leaders and organizations on their most pressing strategic and operational issues. Our work ranges from supporting entrepreneurs through business plan development, to partnering with established organizations on growth and performance improvement, to assessing new opportunities for impact as the field evolves.

Members of our team come from top-tier management consulting firms such as Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, and Deloitte. The tools and training developed in those firms inform our work, as do the experience and perspective gained in the field as teachers, funders, nonprofit leaders, and board members. Having worked with consultants as clients ourselves, we recognize the challenges associated with hiring outside professionals to meet the unique needs of organizations in this field. For that reason, we have developed a highly collaborative process that ensures relevant work and gives clients real ownership of the results. Our experience as executives in the world of education minimizes our learning curve and maximizes our understanding of the issues our clients must confront.
Budget  --
Category  Education, General/Other
Population Served K-12 (5-19 years)
Program Short-Term Success 

We complete many strategic plans each year, in partnership with clients that span all segments of the education ecosystem. We also work with organizations experiencing different strategic challenges, and we help them answer questions about how to grow high-impact services and offerings, improve less successful work, build a new organization out of a great idea, or pivot in an entirely new direction.

Finally, we help organizations design and execute a breadth of initiatives, providing project management expertise and extra implementation capacity to ensure that critical initiatives are positioned for long-term success.

Our immediate success is reflected in a high-quality end product — tailored to the unique operating environment of each client — and authentic stakeholder support for core organization decisions.
Program Long-Term Success  Bellwether envisions a world in which race, ethnicity, and income no longer predict opportunities for students, and the American education system affords all individuals the ability to determine their own path and lead a productive and fulfilling life.
Program Success Monitored By  --
Examples of Program Success 
Bellwether recently worked with Achievement Network to craft a strategy for growth in the context of complex market dynamics. We built an understanding of how districts and charters are preparing for Common Core implementation, how they support data-driven instruction, and how they purchase and deliver interim assessments and professional development. Based on an understanding of where the market was going and the competitive landscape, Bellwether supported the Achievement Network leadership team to identify priorities for investment.
 
In 2016, Bellwether worked with Richmond Public Schools, the City of Richmond, and community stakeholders to develop a shared understanding of the $350 million school district budget and identify opportunities to optimize the budget for student success. At the conclusion of Bellwether’s work, the mayor of Richmond launched a city-wide task force to develop a Multi-Year School Capital Investment Funding Plan, which released its recommendations in summer 2016.
 
In 2017, Bellwether supported the board of Match Education to set a clear, ambitious direction for the next five years of operation for its K-12 school. Through an intensive data analysis, series of site visits, and interviews with parents, staff, and the board, Bellwether conducted a current state review of the school to identify strengths and growth opportunities as well as aspirations for the school. Bellwether used this information to facilitate a process with the board to review and refine the school’s mission and goals and to identify areas where guidance on school policy and design needed to be clarified. Bellwether then conducted detailed benchmarking of other high-performing charter schools, gathered input from school staff and stakeholders on design options, and helped the Board develop updated guidance to strengthen and clarify policy related to the school’s design and operations.

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Management


CEO/Executive Director Ms. Mary K Wells
CEO Term Start Nov 2012
CEO Email [email protected]
CEO Experience

Mary K. Wells is a co-founder and managing partner at Bellwether Education Partners. Mary leads the Strategic Advising practice within Bellwether, which focuses on supporting education organizations with growth strategy, market assessment, business planning, organizational development, and implementation planning. Recent clients include Urban Teachers, The Achievement Network, Teach Plus, Choose to Succeed, City on a Hill, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Prior to launching Bellwether, Mary led STEM and new school investments for the Texas High School Project, where she was a founding team member. She oversaw a portfolio of over $80 million in grants focused on expanding access to high-quality college preparatory schools, improving the quality of math and science education in Texas, and expanding the pipeline of highly skilled employees qualified for careers in the economy of the 21st century. Before joining the Texas High School Project, Mary was a manager and consultant with Bain & Company, where she advised Fortune 500 companies on growth strategy, new business development, and post-merger integration issues. Mary holds a bachelor’s from Harvard University and a master’s from the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, son, and daughter.

Co-CEO --
Co-CEO Term Start --
Co-CEO Email --
Co-CEO Experience --

Former CEOs and Terms

Name Start End
Kim Smith Sept 2010 Oct 2012

Senior Staff

Name Title Experience/Biography
Lina Bankert Partner --
Allison Crean Davis Partner --
Rebecca Goldberg Partner --
Sara Mead Partner --
Andrew J Rotherham Co-Founder & Partner --

Awards

Award Awarding Organization Year
-- -- --

Affiliations

Affiliation Year
-- --
Member of state association of nonprofits? No
Name of state association Massachusetts

External Assessments and Accreditations

External Assessment or Accreditation Year
-- --

Collaborations

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Staff Information

Number of Full Time Staff 50
Number of Part Time Staff 0
Number of Volunteers 0
Number of Contract Staff 103
Staff Retention Rate % 90%

Staff Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 8
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 4
Caucasian: 38
Hispanic/Latino: 0
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 37
Male: 13
Not Specified 0

Plans & Policies

Organization has Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has Strategic Plan? Under Development
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Management Succession Plan --
Business Continuity of Operations Plan --
Organization Policies And Procedures No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy --
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy --
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes
State Registration --

Risk Management Provisions

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Reporting and Evaluations

Management Reports to Board? Yes
CEO Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Annually
Non Management Formal Evaluation and Frequency Yes Semi-Annually

Governance


Board Chair Ms. Grace Heintz
Board Chair Company Affiliation Wayfair
Board Chair Term Sept 2012 -
Board Co-Chair --
Board Co-Chair Company Affiliation --
Board Co-Chair Term -

Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
Kendrick Ashton St. James Group, LLC Voting
Tina Fernandez Achieve Atlanta Voting
Grace Heintz Wayfair Voting
Paul Reville Harvard University Graduate School of Education Voting
Mary K Wells Bellwether Education Partners Voting

Constituent Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
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Youth Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
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Advisory Board Members

Name Company Affiliations Status
-- -- --

Board Demographics

Ethnicity African American/Black: 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander: 0
Caucasian: 3
Hispanic/Latino: 1
Native American/American Indian: 0
Other: 0
Other (if specified): --
Gender Female: 3
Male: 2
Not Specified 0

Board Information

Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits --
Board Meeting Attendance % --
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Written Conflict Of Interest Policy Yes
Percentage of Monetary Contributions 20%
Percentage of In-Kind Contributions --
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes

Standing Committees

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CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

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Financials


Revenue vs. Expense ($000s)

Expense Breakdown 2017 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2016 (%)

Expense Breakdown 2015 (%)

Fiscal Year Sept 01, 2017 to Aug 31, 2018
Projected Income $12,756,262.00
Projected Expense $12,218,325.00
Form 990s

2017 Form 990

2016 Form 990

2015 Form 990

Audit Documents

2017 Audited Financial Statements

2016 Audited Financial Statements

2015 Audited Financial Statements

IRS Letter of Exemption

IRS Letter of Determination

Prior Three Years Total Revenue and Expense Totals

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Revenue $12,203,471 $9,708,216 $10,836,109
Total Expenses $11,395,314 $10,676,185 $10,344,981

Prior Three Years Revenue Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
-- -- --
Government Contributions $0 $0 $0
    Federal -- -- --
    State -- -- --
    Local -- -- --
    Unspecified -- $0 $0
Individual Contributions $2,742,031 $2,521,562 $5,072,471
Indirect Public Support -- $0 $0
Earned Revenue $9,454,897 $7,183,596 $5,762,244
Investment Income, Net of Losses $6,543 $3,058 $1,394
Membership Dues -- $0 $0
Special Events -- $0 $0
Revenue In-Kind -- -- --
Other -- $0 $0

Prior Three Years Expense Allocations

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Program Expense $9,774,616 $9,143,915 $9,116,181
Administration Expense $1,408,426 $1,355,251 $968,557
Fundraising Expense $212,272 $177,019 $260,243
Payments to Affiliates -- -- --
Total Revenue/Total Expenses 1.07 0.91 1.05
Program Expense/Total Expenses 86% 86% 88%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue 8% 7% 5%

Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Total Assets $6,958,858 $6,000,568 $6,800,138
Current Assets $6,881,125 $5,899,940 $6,709,909
Long-Term Liabilities $0 $0 $0
Current Liabilities $1,804,738 $1,654,605 $1,486,206
Total Net Assets $5,154,120 $4,345,963 $5,313,932

Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
1st (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
2nd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --
3rd (Source and Amount) -- --
-- --
-- --

Financial Planning

Endowment Value --
Spending Policy --
Percentage(If selected) --
Credit Line Yes
Reserve Fund Yes
How many months does reserve cover? --

Capital Campaign

Are you currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Purpose --
Campaign Goal --
Capital Campaign Dates -
Capital Campaign Raised-to-Date Amount --
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? --

Short Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities 3.81 3.57 4.51

Long Term Solvency

Fiscal Year 2017 2016 2015
Long-term Liabilities/Total Assets 0% 0% 0%

CEO/Executive Director/Board Comments

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Foundation Comments

Financial summary data in the charts and graphs above are per the organization's IRS Form 990s. Contributions from foundations and corporations are listed under individuals when the breakout was not available.

Documents


Other Documents

No Other Documents currently available.

Impact

The Impact tab is a section on the Giving Common added in October 2013; as such the majority of nonprofits have not yet had the chance to complete this voluntary section. The purpose of the Impact section is to ask five deceptively simple questions that require reflection and promote communication about what really matters – results. The goal is to encourage strategic thinking about how a nonprofit will achieve its goals. The following Impact questions are being completed by nonprofits slowly, thoughtfully and at the right time for their respective organizations to ensure the most accurate information possible.


1. What is your organization aiming to accomplish?

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2. What are your strategies for making this happen?

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3. What are your organization’s capabilities for doing this?

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4. How will your organization know if you are making progress?

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5. What have and haven’t you accomplished so far?

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