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Major foundations rally behind GreatSchools' mission: To empower and inspire parents to participate in their children's development and educational success

SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA – November 10, 2008 – A bold new media initiative, designed to help low- and middle-income families guide their children to graduate from high school ready for college, has rallied the support of the nation's leading education foundations.

GreatSchools, an independent nonprofit initiative that empowers parents to support their children's educational success, has been awarded $20 million to use Internet and social media technologies to empower parents with the insights they need to prepare their kids for college and beyond.

Founder and President of GreatSchools, Bill Jackson, thanked the three foundations that have provided generous support to make the launch of this initiative possible: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robertson Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation

"We're launching a movement to improve education in America – and parent involvement is the number one priority," said former teacher and GreatSchools' Founder and President Bill Jackson. "GreatSchools will leverage the technology of our times to reach the parents most in need, building the skill and knowledge they need to ensure that their kids graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college."

GreatSchools will use the Internet, social media and other connected technologies to deliver free, easy and actionable content, coupled with an unrivaled peer-to-peer to network, to empower parents like never before to set their children on a path to academic success.

According to a recent report in Inside Higher Education, the latest generation of adults in the US may be the first ever not to attain higher levels of education than previous generations, with Latino and African American males at particular risk.

Three Foundations Show $20 Million Support
Three foundations recognized the potential of GreatSchools to help turn this trend around and have provided lead funding for this new initiative.

"The quality of K-12 education depends on parental demand and support for high-quality schools," said Ed Kirby, Senior Program Officer at the Walton Family Foundation. "We are pleased to provide funding to this new initiative that promises to draw more low- and moderate-income parents into higher levels of involvement in their children's education."

"Our nation must graduate more students ready for college, career and life," said Tom Dawson, Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "With a demonstrated ability to communicate with parents of school-age children, GreatSchools is an important partner to enlist parents in this cause."

"To achieve excellence in education, parents must be able to make school choices based on reliable information," said Phoebe Boyer, Executive Director of the Robertson Foundation. "GreatSchools has the technology and resources to inspire and support parents as they make these critical decisions and to build market pressure for high-quality schools."

One Million Members by 2012
The GreatSchools program is aimed at families with children who are at particular risk of graduating from high school without the academic preparation required to succeed in college. The preschool through 12th grade program plans to sign up more than 1 million parents to this cause by 2012.

More than 35 million people visited GreatSchools in 2007, and it has been a source of inspiration and information for parents for 10 years. This initiative is the latest in a line of efforts to support GreatSchools' overall mission to inspire and empower parents to participate in their children's development and educational success.

GreatSchools is the leading resource for parents to find the right school for their children preschool through 12th grade nationally, helping parents be fully involved in their child's education and support their educational success. GreatSchools' online community helps parents choose the best school for their child, track the school's progress, and access the best collection of parent reviews and expert advice. GreatSchools helps parents remain effectively engaged in their children's education so they can best help their children succeed.


About GreatSchools
GreatSchools is an independent, nonprofit organization that improves education by inspiring parents to get involved. It empowers parents with information and tools so they can choose the best school for their children, support their children's education and improve schools in their communities. Parents choose GreatSchools to connect with each other – to find the right schools, to share stories and advice, and to get their parenting questions answered. In the past year alone, more than 35 million people visited GreatSchools ( With hundreds of thousands of ratings and parent reviews about schools across the country, GreatSchools is the paramount parent-to-parent education community. A Webby award-winning site, GreatSchools is supported by foundations and corporations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robertson Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation. GreatSchools – Involved parents. Successful kids.

About The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett.

About the Robertson Foundation
The Robertson Foundation is a private foundation established in 1996 by Tiger Management founder Julian H. Robertson, Jr., his wife Josie, and their family. With assets in excess of $1 billion and designated future gifts considerably higher, the foundation takes a targeted, businesslike, results-oriented approach to philanthropy. The foundation makes large, transformative grants. Its objective is to leverage these grants by partnering with proven grantees and aligned funders. It seeks measurable outcomes in either the intermediate or longer term.

About The Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation's work in K12 education reform focuses on ensuring that low-income families have the power to exercise choice of high-quality schools for their children, whether of traditional public schools, public charter schools, or private schools via publicly-funded scholarships. In addition to addressing K-12 education reform, the Foundation addresses conservation of sensitive marine and freshwater environments, and economic development in the Delta Region of Arkansas and Mississippi.


Ariana Sexton – 415.720.0833 –
Dave Steer – 415.977.0700, ext. 119 –