Education Affinity Group

As West Virginia’s leading voice and premier resource for philanthropy, Philanthropy West Virginia is committed to helping its members fulfill their charitable goals. Through its programs and services, Philanthropy WV helps funders become more efficient, effective grantmakers.
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Education Affinity Group

March 23, 2017 @ 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm

EAG Philanthropy WV

Philanthropy West Virginia’s Education Affinity Group


The Education Affinity Group (EAG) is a peer network and learning group of Philanthropy WV members interested in or investing in education through grants and scholarship programs.  Participants are all grantmaking foundations (private, family, community, or corporate), corporate giving programs, and/or individual philanthropists. Philanthropy West Virginia began the EAG in mid-2015 originally chaired by Dr. Jim Denova, Vice President of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.  In 2017, Stephanie Hyre, Program Officer of The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation and Adam Sanders, President of the Roy & Gwen Steeley Foundation became co-chairs of the Education Affinity Group.  The EAG meets quarterly at different locations in the state with different education expert presenters to identify areas for improving education, collaborative grantmaking, and/or policy/education development in the state of West Virginia.


Through each community, region, district; the Education Affinity Group meets quarterly to participate in presentations by education leaders and to discuss different ways on improving the short-term and long-term education issues and needs of our students our state (from the local to the state level) with the leaders from the students, to board members, to teachers, and parents of the children.  At the heart of the EAG, it is about making sure the investments made by foundations, corporate giving programs, and individual philanthropists provides our students now and throughout the future with the best education for life-long success.  Philanthropy WV’s staff provide coordination of the meetings, programs, and speaker selection as well as identify areas for philanthropic collaborations to enhance the education system in the state.


Focus of 03/2017 Meeting/Presentation Topic:

On March 23, 2017, Philanthropy WV will bring together the EAG for its first quarterly meeting of 2017 via ReadyTalk for a presentation and open discussion on how West Virginia’s state to local level education system works and the decision-making process that guides schools. For example, “If someone moved to the state and wanted to learn about the WV public schools’ system work, what would be the summary and details of the following:

  1. Governance – state level to local level, what’s changes are being proposed and what changes does he think should be made
  2. How is education policy set, governed, and updated/altered?
  3. How is funding established and dollars allocated (county and state level)?
  4. How does Education Alliance, Amelia and Gretchen,  joining the EAG meeting, think the private and philanthropic sector can best serve schools?


We welcome the Education Alliance’s, Dr. Amelia Courts and Gretchen Frankenberry to join the first meeting in Morgantown.  The EAG will then participate in an open and professionally based discussion for Question & Answer with the presenter.  The attendees are in-person and via teleconference with approximately 15 to 20 philanthropic leaders joining the meeting.  Below, you will find a little more about Amelia and Gretchen.

Dr. Amelia Courts

Dr. Amelia Courts has extensive leadership experience in the education sector and a record of success in collaborating with business and community organizations to positively impact statewide initiatives. Since 2013 she has served as the President/CEO of The Education Alliance which operates programs and advances policies to improve achievement by public school students in West Virginia.

In her role as President, Dr. Courts is leading the Alliance to implement strategies that expand the organizational footprint and effectiveness. These include hosting the organization’s first education summit, co-sponsored by the Governor, which convened business, community and education leaders from across the state.  Dr. Courts also initiated statewide EDTalks, an education-based speaker series that promotes innovative discussion and big ideas about connecting education, jobs and West Virginia’s future.  The Alliance also provided technical assistance to the Governor’s STEM Council to engage the public, education organizations, business and industry to find innovative methods of preparing our students to fill the impending workforce needs of the state.  In addition, she worked to help support an expansion of the AmeriCorps program which nearly doubled the number of AmeriCorps members impacting students across the state.

Prior to coming to the Alliance, she served for three years as Assistant State Superintendent at the West Virginia Department of Education. In that work, she developed and implemented major policy directives, worked collaboratively with the governor’s office and legislature, and coordinated programs to improve the educational outcomes of the state’s two hundred and eighty thousand students.

Dr. Courts serves on the Board of Directors of the WV Children’s Home Society, is a member of the Remake Learning Council, and serves as an appointed member of the Education Commission of the States.  She is both internationally and locally experienced, having taught English as a Second Language (ESL) for approximately six years throughout Asia (Japan, China and briefly Korea) and at Marshall University.  She completed her doctoral degree at West Virginia University with a degree in Education Administration in 2002.

Gretchen D. Frankenberry

Ms. Gretchen D. Frankenberry is the Director of Partnership and Advocacy for the Education Alliance. Gretchen joined The Education Alliance in May 2016 where she develops and implements school, business, and community partnerships and oversees the Alliance’s advocacy activities. She also administers the Born Leaning Academy, Financial Literacy Initiative, and Partners in Education Program.

Prior to joining the Education Alliance, Gretchen spent over seven years at the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts where she created and advised on education and workforce policy issues. Most recently she served as the Executive Director of the Early Childhood Advisory Council of WV and the Governor’s STEM Initiative. Gretchen received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina.

Although she grew up in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee, Gretchen has strong family roots that drew her back to West Virginia. She resides in Charleston with her husband, Ryan and their daughter, Julia.


If you have any more questions or need clarification in preparation to join Philanthropy WV at this meeting, please contact Grace McDaniel, Director of Programs & Services or Paul D. Daugherty, President & CEO at 304.517.1450.  We are grateful to have you joining us for the meeting!


Email Grace McDaniel, Director of Programs & Services to RSVP





Call In Information: 303.248.0285  Access Code: 6469979


March 23rd from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.



March 23, 2017
12:00 pm - 2:00 pm




Philanthropy WV Office
191 Scott Ave
Morgantown, WV 26505 United States
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Program Cancellation Policy

Philanthropy West Virginia reserves the right to cancel or reschedule our education programs. Programs may be canceled because of, but not limited to: speaker and or facilitator illness, inclement weather conditions, or less than 3 registered participants.

You will be notified of the cancellation within 24 hours of a virtual event and within 5 days of an in person event via email. Thank you for your understanding. See the full cancellation policy.