Private Sector and Foundations | Global Partnership for Education

Private Sector and Foundations

Private sector and foundations provide strategic, technical, and financial support to expand GPE’s effectiveness and explore innovative opportunities to achieve better results.

GPE is committed to working with the business community and philanthropy to address education challenges and build stronger education systems in partner developing countries.

The Sustainable Development Goals explicitly recognize the role of the private sector (including philanthropic foundations) in their achievement. The 2016 report from the Education Commission also highlights the importance of private sector and foundations participation in education financing.

GPE’s strategy, GPE 2020, recognizes the role that these entities can play in fulfilling its mandate, going beyond philanthropy to leverage assets, capabilities, and innovation to accelerate progress on common education goals.

The approval by the GPE Board of new approaches for strategic financing, innovation and knowledge and good practice exchange are paving the way for increased engagement with the private sector and foundations.


GPE’s engagement with the private sector and foundations is motivated by objectives that will lead to the achievement of improved equity, better learning outcomes and more efficient education systems. In working with partners from the private sector and foundations, GPE aims to:

  • Develop mutually beneficial partnerships with businesses and foundations that advance and complement GPE’s work, through leveraging the sector’s expertise and resources and developing technical and policy collaboration to support GPE engagement with developing country partners
  • Increase the understanding of, and support for, the work of GPE and basic education through advocates and advocacy initiatives at both the global and national levels
  • Deepen the private sector and foundation’s involvement in education planning and policy dialogue at national level and in global policy dialogue
  • Secure new and additional financing for GPE from companies, private organizations and foundations as defined in the Financing and Funding Framework. 


A girl looks at the camera. She attends the Guardabarranco School in Acoyapa, Nicaragua, which was recently rehabililated thanks to GPE funding. Credit: GPE/Carolina Valenzuela

At the global level, the private sector and philanthropic foundations share a seat on the GPE Board of Directors. Dialogue with private sector partners and foundations is encouraged by local education groups (LEG), which coordinate work in partner developing countries.  

GPE works closely with a number of networks and associations such as the Global Business Coalition for Education, the UN Global Compact, and the International Education Funders Group to strengthen the business community and philanthropic foundation’s involvement in the education sector.

The relationship with private sector partners is governed by:

  • the GPE Charter: highlights the unique and complementary role that the private sector can play in advocacy, policy dialogue and education planning process in partner countries.
  • Corporate engagement principles: relate to the engagement of the business community with GPE rather than business engagement in education generally. The principles suggest different roles for the business community at global and national levels and aim to ensure transparency and accountability of the private sector in their partnerships with developing countries governments.
  • the Conflict of interest policy: mitigates against engagements benefitting businesses rather than the education systems and, ultimately, the learners.

Collaboration with foundations

Foundations collaborate with GPE to strengthen developing country capacity through funding knowledge and good practice exchange, and mitigate natural and humanitarian risks faced by education systems. Since 2016, the GPE Board has opened the path for GPE to receive targeted financing for the following activities:

  • Dubai Cares contributed US$500,000 to the Better Early Learning and Development at Scale initiative (BELDS), which seeks to engage partner countries in cross-national dialogue on early childhood care and education (ECCE), and support good practices to strengthen the analysis, planning and implementation of ECCE in sector plans. A further US$1,500,000 for BELDS is expected from three other foundations.
  • The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) has supported the implementation of GPE’s Gender Policy and Action Plan with a contribution of US$1,000,000. The policy supports partner developing countries to develop gender-responsive education sector plans, encourages countries to organize a policy dialogue on gender equality, and seeks ways to address school-related gender-based violence.