The Joyce Foundation, Chicago, IL

The Joyce Foundation supports the development of policies that both improve the quality of life for people in the Great Lakes region and serve as models for the rest of the country. The Joyce Foundation's grant making supports research into Great Lakes protection and restoration, energy efficiency, teacher quality and early reading, workforce development, gun violence prevention, diverse art for diverse audiences, and a strong, thriving democracy. The Foundation encourages innovative and collaborative approaches with a regional focus and the potential for a national reach.

With respect to education, we believe that students in the Great Lakes region and throughout the country need to graduate high school prepared for their futures. But, more than half either fail to graduate on time or graduate unprepared for college-level work. Through innovative policies and programs that aim to close achievement gaps between student groups, the Joyce Foundation aims to turn this trend around. Our grantmaking is in three areas: 

Teacher Quality

Every child deserves an outstanding teacher, and decades of research shows that excellent teachers are the key to student success, especially for those falling behind. The Joyce Foundation supports policy research and development that is focused on making teacher evaluations more meaningful, giving all teachers the tools they need to become great, and rewarding them for excellence. We must all commit to helping teachers become great and attracting more talented adults into the profession.  

Early Reading

Experts agree that students who cannot read well by the end of third grade struggle to graduate from high school. The Joyce Foundation supports policy-focused research and initiatives to help provide pre-K through third grade teachers with more training on how to better teach reading paired with the support and development of better tools to measure student progress to improve a teacher’s ability to teach this critical skill.  


Charter schools remain one of the nation’s most promising efforts to produce more excellent public schools, especially for low-income students and communities of color. Yet 20 years after the first charter school law was passed, too many states focus largely on expansion at the expense of quality. The Joyce Foundation supports efforts to increase demand for high-quality charter schools, and the Foundation works with grantees to improve the public’s and policy makers’ understanding of which policies improve charter schools.


Grantees and Partners

  • Chicago Public Education Fund
  • Education Pioneers
  • Education Reform Now
  • Educators 4 Excellence
  • Great Schools
  • Illinois Network of Charter Schools
  • Mass Insight
  • MinnCAN
  • Minneapolis Foundation
  • New Leaders
  • New Teacher Center
  • Public Impact
  • Stand for Children
  • Teach Plus
  • The Mind Trust
  • The VIVA Project
  • TNTP



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