Having established themselves nationally as education philanthropists, Gay and Bill Krause are again sharing their generosity close to home with a commitment from their family foundation to give $3.5 million to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District.
The new pledge makes the Silicon Valley couple the largest donor to the Foothill-De Anza Foundation when combined with $1.8 million in gifts over the past decade.
The commitment from The Krause Foundation includes $1 million in unrestricted funds as part of a bequest. The remainder will provide continuing support for key positions and programs at the Krause Center for Innovation (KCI) at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. The gift establishes a funding stream for the KCI’s director of strategy and marketing position and creates an endowment to help support its professor/teacher-in-residence position and center programs.
“Through their philanthropy, the Krauses are investing in education for new generations of students by supporting systemic change to improve teaching and learning,” said Linda M. Thor, Foothill-De Anza chancellor. “Their support for transformational change in education is visionary.”
Board of Trustees President Betsy Bechtel expressed gratitude for the Los Altos Hills couple’s continuing support. “Their strategic commitment will make a difference in the lives of tens of thousands of Silicon Valley teachers, and by extension, hundreds of thousands of students in our communities,” she said.
The Krause Center for Innovation is devoted to helping teachers transform their teaching practice by using technology in innovative ways to deepen learning and engage and inspire students. The KCI delivers professional development for K-14 teachers and administrators, and has served more than 15,000 educators from school districts throughout the region since training began in 2000.
“Given the impact that education has on society, it was clear to us that improving education of our young people is where we wanted to invest our philanthropic dollars,’’ Gay Krause said. “K-14 education today, particularly professional development for educators, is not what it could or should be; thus, we must help lead the way for innovation in education.”
In addition to supporting the center at Foothill College, the couple has made substantial gifts to other higher education institutions, including The Pennsylvania State University, where Gay Krause earned a bachelor of science degree in K-12 education, and The Citadel, where Bill Krause earned a degree in electrical engineering.
Recruited by Foothill’s president in 1998 to work as the founding executive director, Gay Krause developed the innovation center from the ground up. She drew on connections in Silicon Valley to raise capital and on her experience as a teacher, counselor and principal in the Mountain View-Whisman School District to shape the center’s programs.
Bill Krause has been involved in start-ups and technology companies in Silicon Valley for more than 40 years. He worked at Hewlett Packard Co. from 1967–1981, ending his tenure there in the position of general manager of the personal computer division with global responsibility for HP’s personal computer business. He became president and chief executive officer of 3Com Corp. in 1981 and served as chairman from 1987 until 1993, when he retired. Under his leadership 3Com grew from a venture capital-funded start-up to a publically traded data-networking company with sales of more than $1 billion and operations worldwide. His background gave him an early appreciation for the potential of computers and the Internet as teaching tools. He has served as his wife’s closest adviser.
A successful public-private partnership, the $9.1 million innovation center at Foothill College leveraged about $7 million in district and state bond funds with private grants and donations from throughout Silicon Valley. The money transformed a vacant, dilapidated science center and museum at the college into an educational technology center serving the campus and larger community.
The name was changed to the Krause Center for Innovation upon the building’s opening in 2000 in recognition of a $1 million gift from the Krauses. Today the center’s programs are still almost exclusively funded through private donations and grants. Gay Krause still runs the center as executive director.
The KCI continues to offer short FASTtech classes covering a variety of software programs and ways to use them as well as intensive year-long teacher training programs featuring intensive, multi-week sessions in the summer with follow-up during the academic year. Its signature MERIT program – for Making Education Relevant and Interactive Though Technology – helps teachers enliven their curriculum with technology-enhanced activities that motivate and challenge students by making learning more dynamic. The program supports and engages both educators and students, which improves students’ learning outcomes. The newer FAME program, or Faculty Academy for Mathematics Excellence, helps teachers build both content knowledge and skills for teaching key pre-algebra and algebra concepts to middle-school and high-school students.
The center also offers customized teacher training to schools and school districts. In April it sent a team to the Philippines to launch a program in partnership with the Philippines government for training nearly 3,000 teachers there on how to use technology to transform student learning.
Assessing the importance of the Krause Center for Innovation to the educators it serves, teacher Rushton Hurley described it as “an oasis in a professional development desert.” Hurley was introduced to the KCI as a MERIT participant and directed the program for three years before turning it over to Diane Main, a leader in educational technology and preparing educators with 21st century teaching skills.
More information about the Krause Center for Innovation is available at http://krauseinnovationcenter.org.
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District is one of California’s top-performing community college districts and is recognized nationally for excellence and innovation. It serves approximately 65,000 students a year at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and De Anza College in Cupertino.