The Wallace Approach

​​​​​​​​​The Wallace Foundation’s mission is to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone. Our approach to accomplishing our mission emerges from the idea that foundations have a unique but often untapped capacity to develop evidence and experiences that can help advance an entire field.​

The money we have is minuscule compared to the size of the sectors we hope to move forward. By developing ideas and information to advance education, the arts and learning and enrichment for young people, we can stretch our philanthropic dollar, giving our work far greater impact than the sum of our individual grants. Our efforts, then, seek not only to help our individual grant recipients but also to develop credible knowledge useful to many others.

Specifically, Wallace identifies important knowledge gaps in our areas of interest; funds real-world tests to yield answers to fill those gaps; and then disseminates what has been learned to policymakers, influential thinkers and those who work in the fields we cover. Our approach is fleshed out in Wallace’s “theory of change,” the term used in philanthropy to describe a hypothesis about how a particular set of activities will lead to a particular result.



  • Understanding the Context
  • Generate Improvements and Insights
  • Catalyze Broad Impact