By no means does the Mebane Foundation claim to have all the answers about how to create a top-tier, transformative, career-building and life-enriching learning environment. But beginning in 1998, the Mebane Foundation began searching for at least some of those answers.
From the start, we have focused on a simple proposition to help address a complex, deeply-rooted problem: the Foundation will do everything in its power to ensure that all children, regardless of their background, will be reading at or above grade level by the end of the 3rd grade. Research consistently shows that these children are vastly more likely to succeed in school. And we all know that a child who succeeds in school is more confident and more likely to succeed in work and in life.
With these strong convictions and corresponding guiding principles that promote equal access to excellent education for all children, the Foundation established a partnership with the Davie County Schools. Together we put into action a carefully conceived, focused and aggressive plan. The intention was not only to offer the children of Davie County a better education, but also to ensure that a broad base of community partners countywide took ownership in the plan, so that it could thrive and ultimately sustain itself.
Since then, the Foundation has served as a catalyst by granting more than $25 million to educational program partners across the state while simultaneously leveraging that amount – dollar for dollar in public-private partnerships. The result? More than $30 million has been injected into innovative educational initiatives. Mebane Foundation refuses to simply pour capital into a system and hope that it works. Instead, we require commitment and buy-in from the broad community to ensure sustainability and scalability for initiatives that demonstrate educational innovation that empowers more and more children to succeed.
A handful of programs the Foundation has funded have not been successful. But we learned a lot in the process. Most of the time, the lack of success stems from the lack of strategic business planning and the kind of support that creates long-term sustainability, not from the effectiveness of the educational initiative we funded. That is why we now insist on having overwhelming community-wide support – school administration, teachers, parents, elected officials, and taxpayers – before committing to a partnership.
For more than 20 years, the Foundation has forged numerous strong relationships with corporate and philanthropic partners and all levels of education, as well as participated in educational-policy issues at the local and state levels.
Today, the Foundation feels very good about the lessons we have learned and the progress we have made. And we know we are just getting started. If you are interested in becoming a partner, please understand that programs listed on this website are not definitive. If you want to review the findings and data found in the hundreds of pages of information we have on file about our programs, we will be glad to share them with you. We intend to become more focused on recording stronger documentation and paying even closer attention to the metrics and results of our efforts. It is our hope that in the future, school systems across North Carolina and the nation will incorporate many of our successes into their educational systems.