Ballmer Group is committed to improving economic mobility and opportunity for children and families in the United States.
Ballmer Group was founded in 2015. Since then, our focus and impact areas have continued to expand, informed by our grantees' work and by data that shows where the deepest inequities lie. We employ levers of change that hold promise for long-term system improvements. Ballmer Group is both a national and regional funder – we have a presence and invest deeply in southeast Michigan, Los Angeles County, and Washington state - and our organization is set up to work collaboratively to meet our mission.
Our impact areas include:
Early Childhood & Families
Early Childhood & Families grants build systems of support and care for our littlest kids in the most critical point of their brain development by promoting equity in prenatal and maternal health, ensuring that families and kids engaged with the child welfare system can quickly get critical support, and helping all families access high quality childcare and early education.
Ballmer Group’s first grants centered on the child welfare system – a network of services whose purpose is to ensure child safety and to strengthen permanency in families. These grants continue to support affected families and kids and to transform systems in order to improve prevention and to reduce racial disparities in care.
K-12 Education grants seek to reduce and eliminate inequities that shortchange student achievement, by strengthening both the in-school academic experience as well as wrap-around and afterschool support. We believe that all neighborhoods deserve strong schools and a more representative, racially diverse workforce of teachers and school leaders.
Housing & Homelessness
Housing & Homelessness grants address the relationship between stable housing and economic mobility through a focus on policies to undo systemic racism in housing, increase housing supply, and reduce homelessness through long-term partnerships with nonprofits and government.
College & Career
College & Career grants expand pathways to good jobs and careers, a cornerstone of economic mobility, by providing support so youth can pursue post-secondary education that leads to a degree or certification. Alongside a college degree, young people and adults need access to career training and apprenticeship programs with a direct pipeline to local employers.
Criminal Justice Reform
Criminal Justice Reform grants transform U.S. adult and youth justice systems to be fairer and more effective through advocacy, strengthening community-led approaches to violence intervention, automatically expunging old and outdated criminal records, and ensuring that affected individuals and families have access to career opportunities.
This portfolio sits alongside our focus on economic mobility to address another critical challenge for families around the world - climate change. Every tenth of a degree in warming undermines the gains we have made in economic mobility. Philanthropy has the unique opportunity to accelerate the deployment of existing solutions to keep us within a safer degree of warming. Our initial investments address deforestation and lessening global dependence on fossil fuel.
Our work employs four levers of change.:
Strengthening & Developing Place-Based Partnerships
Place-Based Partnerships are led by citizens, nonprofits, and members of the public sector that are committed to working together over the long-term in one place – a neighborhood, community, or region - and share accountability for dramatically improving outcomes for children and families, while reducing racial disparities in the process.
Partnering with Government
Our public sector grants catalyze new ideas and provide flexible philanthropic resources to expand or enhance public programs and initiatives, recognizing that government is the largest funder and provider of social services nationwide.
Investing in Systems Change Through Advocacy
We know that systems will not change on their own. We invest in advocacy directed at changing the policies and programs across each of our impact areas that greatly affect the economic mobility of children and their families.
Scaling Technology & Data Across Social Services
Nonprofit organizations and government programs are often working on our country’s biggest challenges without the latest technology and data to inform their work. Our grants focus on making technological advancements that power the American business sector available to these organizations, so they can more effectively meet their missions.
Advocacy & Communication
The Advocacy & Communications team advances policies and amplifies work that increases economic mobility for children and families.
Strategy & Operations
The Strategy & Operations team oversees the day-to-day functions of Ballmer Group and helps to develop and hone the organization's approach for improving economic mobility.