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Private Philanthropy In Public Schools: Can Ray Dalio Make His Gift Work In Connecticut?

Clark School in Hartford. Photo by Ryan Caron King for Connecticut Public Radio

Clark School in Hartford. Photo by Ryan Caron King for Connecticut Public Radio

When it comes to philanthropic giving to public schools, the hype is always big. Like when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced on Oprah Winfrey’s show that he was giving $100 million to Newark, New Jersey, schools.

But the results don’t always live up to the hype.

Five years after Zuckerberg’s donation, it was deemed a failure.

Now, hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio and his wife Barbara have announced their foundation will give $100 million to Connecticut schools, and the state has pledged to raise $200 million more over the next few years, specifically to help students at risk of dropping out of high school.

Education spending is already the largest expense for towns, cities and the state, but even with that investment, Connecticut still has the largest achievement gap in the nation. Supporters of the Dalio gift say there should be new ways to look at the complex problem.

Governor Ned Lamont recently announced the donationt at East Hartford High School.

“The Dalio Foundation has stepped up in a significant, significant way,” Lamont said. “You know, it’s a partnership we have together. The Dalio Foundation is gonna contribute $100 million to make sure your education is the best that it could be.”

Visit Connecticut Public Radio for the full story.