Guidelines for Investment Strategies in Jewish Education Technology for Foundations

Guidelines for Investment Strategies in Jewish Education Technology for Foundations

In a globalized world increasingly dependent on what has become known as the “knowledge economy,” education plays an ever more critical role for individuals, companies, and ultimately, countries. As rapid advances in artificial intelligence and robotics accelerate the pace of automation across industries, the education imperative has only grown more acute. Researchers from the University of Oxford have projected that 47% of American jobs are at “high risk” of being automated in the next 20 years; McKinsey estimates that 12 million U.S. “middle skill” jobs will be eliminated by 2025. To participate in the future with any success, we will need continuously to refill our “knowledge tanks.”

Yet there is a flip-side of technology disruption: ubiquitous internet connectivity, smartphones, and powerful big data applications enable education platforms to attract millions of students in a short period of time — what we call “Weapons of Mass Instruction.”

Not grant making as usual… Implications for funders

Traditional grantmaking has evolved over time into a kind of homeostasis: funders and grantees understand the terrain and align their mutual interests as best as possible.

The speed and rate of change in EdTech, however, is starkly different from traditional philanthropy, and often outpaces the skills of traditional foundation staff. This is by no means an indictment of foundation staff; just as foundations depend on experts with regards to legal and accounting needs, so too investing in technology is a bespoke competence area. Anyone who has embarked on completing a traditional grantee proposal with a tech startup will be familiar with the mismatch between information required and information available.

A common sense but important acknowledgment might be in place here: to succeed in this dynamic sector, foundations will have to adjust their approval and monitoring processes. To engage in the fast pace, technology heavy, innovative environment of Jewish EdTech, foundations should approach the initiative like any other functional specialty—in this case a specialty which requires expertise in both education and technology.

To maximize the impact of your investments in Education Technology, make sure you have access to the specific skills and expertise required.

Make a Difference and Contribute to the World of Jewish EdTech

As a potential funder looking to make an investment that contributes to the rapid growth of educational technologies within Jewish education initiatives, it is important to understand the various details involved in making successful investments with maximum impact.

Explore the following pages to learn more about integral elements to becoming an investor in educational innovation.

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