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Great Schools Partnership Nationally Ranked as Top K-12 Education Foundation

National study recognizes local public charity for outstanding service in education advocacy

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. October 15, 2014 – The only study of U.S. K-12 education foundations, “Stepping Up: The Top K-12 Education Foundations in the Nation,” announced Knoxville’s Great Schools has been ranked 13th in the nation. Great Schools was the top-ranked education foundation in Tennessee.
“Stepping Up” evaluated eight key performance categories to determine the ranking – annual revenues, revenues per student, total assets, assets per student, investment income, total program expenses, expenses per student and human capital (volunteers).
“This is only one data point of course, but it is an important one,” said Buzz Thomas, president of the Great Schools Partnership. “The success of Great School can be attributed to a visionary board that is committed to building the best school system in the south and a dedicated staff that puts the interests of children ahead of their own.”
Along with ranking thirteenth overall, Great Schools Partnership also placed in the top 25 in four of the key performance categories. The purpose of the Stepping Up Study is to advocate the importance of K- 12 education foundations while recognizing those that do it best. The study reviews K-12 education foundations in the top 100 largest school districts by population in the nation and pulls information directly from the foundations’ 990 filings with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
Great Schools Partnership maintains programs such as Community Schools, Parents as Teachers, Targeted Pre-K, TAP, AVID, CODEtn and New Teacher Mentoring and Induction. With continued growth and support, Great Schools Partnership plans to initiate a series of new programs and partnerships to further assist Knox County Schools.
“Based on the ‘Stepping Up’ rankings, we can see that Tennessee education foundations are positively effecting public education, and that deserves national recognition,” said Dewey Caruthers, president of Dewey & Associates and author of the study.
To review the full Stepping Up study, visit

The mission of the Great Schools Partnership is to serve as a think-tank, catalyst, incubator, start-up funder and operational partner for making Knox County Schools globally competitive. A free-standing public charity, the Great Schools Partnership has been instrumental in leveraging, creating and/or expanding programs such as Community Schools, Parents as Teachers, early literacy initiatives, summer bridge programs for struggling students, teacher mentoring/induction programs, Thank a Teacher Week, CODEtn and more. For more information on the Great Schools Partnership, please call (865) 215-4501 or visit our website at