Mary Jane Rynd, Executive Vice President and CFO
Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust, Phoenix, Arizona
At its annual conference and in smaller venues, Philanthropy Southwest regularly delivers thought leaders who wake you up to critical issues and help you think through how to take action to address significant needs. One such presenter who clicked for us was Steve Murdock. As former director of the U.S. Census Bureau (currently a professor at Rice University), he presented incredibly compelling research on the Latino education drop-out rates in Texas. His passion and data led the Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust to commission a study of this same issue in Arizona.
Together with the Helios Education Foundation and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University, we produced “Dropped: Latino Education and Arizona’s Economic Future,” a report designed to prompt a frank discussion about the state’s commitment to education and to developing a skilled and educated workforce. Among other efforts, this report led us to support a new literacy director for the state. She is taking findings from our report to help us and others in Arizona be smart about making good investments that improve the educational possibilities for our Latino youth.