OCF Initiatives


Education Initiatives

OCF's Education Program spans the birth to post-secondary spectrum. Mutually reinforcing grant programs operate within early childhood, the K-12 system and access to higher education and training.

  • Overview

    OCF's Education Program focuses on investments in early childhood, the K-12 system and access to post-secondary education and training -- the places where we can have the most leverage.

    We focus on equity and closing the opportunity gap across Oregon, using all the tools available to a foundation, including grants, research, collaboration and public policy advocacy.  Our programs emphasize best practices, professional development and parent education.


    OCF's Community Grants Program, accepting applications in January and July annually, also supports programs in education. To see if your program or project is a good fit, please visit the Community Grants Program page



  • Early Childhood

    A child's first five years are critical to success in school and in life. The Oregon Community Foundation has made these crucial early years a major focus of its work for more than two decades, with the goal of making sure that all Oregon children arrive at school ready to learn.

    Parenting Education

    The Oregon Parenting Education Collaborative supports parents in their critical role as children's first and most important teachers by helping communities expand access to proven programs and build stronger, more coordinated parenting education services. More than 10,000 parents have participated in best practice parenting education programs since 2010. With foundation partners, OCF supports 15 regional parenting "Hubs" across Oregon. 

    Reach Out and Read: This national evidence-based program promotes child and family literacy during well-child checkups. The program trains medical providers to "prescribe" reading, singing and talking with young children, and every family receives an age-appropriate book during each well-child checkup. OCF supports Oregon's efforts to expand the model across the state.

    P-3 Alignment 

    To foster school readiness and ensure greater consistency in early childhood learning environments, OCF awarded grants to ten Oregon school districts that are implementing projects to build new connections with early childhood programs and families of young children. The goal is to improve outcomes for children by creating opportunities for the adults in their lives to work more closely together and to share knowledge of a child's strengths and challenges. [P-3 Alignment]

    Betty Gray Scholarships

    OCF believes every young child should have access to high quality child care and early learning programs, provided by a well-trained, valued workforce. Since 2003, with the launch of two scholarship programs named after Betty Gray, professional development of the early care and learning workforce has been one of the Early Childhood Program's main priorities. OCF assisted over 4,000 child care workers from 2003 to 2014 with the costs of education and training through scholarships at the Oregon Center for Career Development in Childhood Care and Education. In addition, during the same time period, nearly 400 scholarship students achieved community college degrees or certificates in early childhood education through awards at nearly all community colleges in Oregon.


  • K-12

    Out-of-School Time Initiative

    The K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School Time initiative is focused on bolstering student attendance and academic success among Oregon’s middle school students of color, rural and low-income students. It provides funding to community-based programs that offer best practice after-school and summer academic support, positive adult role models and parent engagement programming. Best practice programs increase student attendance and academic achievement, and decrease risky behaviors, particularly for our target population. [K-12 Student Success: Out-of-School]

    Chalkboard Project

    OCF is a partner of Foundations for a Better Oregon (FBO), which was formed to better engage Oregon's philanthropic community in discussions about the challenges facing the state. Since FBO was formed in 2003, efforts have been devoted solely to improving Oregon's K-12 public education system through an initiative it created called the Chalkboard Project. Chalkboard aims to move Oregon's schools into the top ten of national rankings, focusing on improving teacher and leader effectiveness. Strategies from these efforts include: the CLASS Project, TeachOregon and the Distinguished Educators and Leaders Councils. [Chalkboard Project]


  • Access to Higher Ed & Training

    Creating a Culture of Education

    OCF is supporting two collective impact projects strive to connect entire communities and school systems, that builds a culture of education to increase the number of students who attend and succeed in post-secondary education. Douglas County Partners for Student Success and Better Together in Central Oregon are leading efforts in those regions. Both efforts have become Regional Achievement Collaboratives, a statewide effort to build cross-sector connections that improve educational outcomes.


    With more than 480 funds that make higher education and training more accessible through scholarships, OCF has one of the largest scholarship programs of its kind in the country. Every year, we award more than $9 million through 3,200 scholarships. Most of these scholarships are administered through our partner agency, the Office of Student Access and Completion. [Scholarships]

  • Contact


    If you have any questions, please contact a member of the Education Team at 503.227.6846 or email us: