Lamont, Dalio $100 Million Public-Private Partnership Focuses On Education, Economic Opportunity For Urban Areas

Governor Ned Lamont with Ray and Barbara Dalio, seated right.

Governor Ned Lamont on Friday was joined by philanthropists Ray and Barbara Dalio to announce a public-private partnership that they say will provide education and economic benefits to Connecticut’s under-resourced communities. Ray Dalio is founder of the Westport-based investment management firm Bridgewater Associates.

Statement from Mayor Joe Ganim who attended the announcement.

“This major funding donation and financial match by our state is much needed for the youth in our cities and recognizes that our students can and will thrive, and will provide valuable outcomes for the future in our community. A partnership with donors from the business community, government and educational leaders will surely result in positive opportunities and results for our youth. We look forward to seeing that positive energy in the students of Bridgeport.”

From Governor Ned Lamont:

Ray and Barbara Dalio of Dalio Philanthropies today joined Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, First Lady Annie Lamont, leaders in the General Assembly, students and other stakeholders to announce the launch of a partnership strengthening public education and promoting greater economic opportunity in Connecticut. Through Connecticut’s leadership and the support of Dalio Philanthropies, the partnership seeks to raise $300 million over five years: $100 million from the State of Connecticut that will be matched by $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies and another $100 million from other philanthropists and business leaders.

The $100 million from Dalio Philanthropies is the largest known philanthropic donation to benefit the state in Connecticut’s history. The partnership will benefit residents of Connecticut’s under-resourced communities, with a specific focus on communities where there is both a high poverty rate and a high concentration of youth (14-24) who are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection from high school.

Dalio Philanthropies and the State of Connecticut formed the partnership in response to the state’s current challenges:
· More than one out of every five high school students in Connecticut are either disengaged or disconnected from school;
· The annual fiscal impact of high school dropouts on the state budget is more than $900 million;
· Connecticut ranks among the highest states in terms of income inequality; and
· Employers across the state are looking to hire skilled workers in historic and emerging industries.

The partnership will:
· Work with local stakeholders to ensure that community voice and input shape programming design and help advance positive outcomes as quickly and sustainably as possible;
· Serve disengaged and disconnected youth or entrepreneurs working in under-resourced communities;
· Utilize practices with demonstrated positive impact in Connecticut or other states and communities;
· Monitor, measure, and report progress against specific agreed upon impact objectives; and
· Likely form an independent organization to leverage community expertise and administer resources with representation from Dalio Philanthropies, and the legislative and executive branches.

Given this unprecedented opportunity to leverage a 2-to-1 match, the governor is proposing to appropriate the first contribution from the projected surplus this year. The state match for future years of the five-year commitment will be discussed with the legislature before developing final budgets.

To promote greater economic opportunity, the partnership will support and encourage microfinance and community entrepreneurship initiatives. For example, the partnership might explore funding entrepreneurs with small loans and early stage equity capital and providing non-financial supports such as mentorship and access to networks to help individuals start their own businesses in under-resourced communities so that they can create opportunities for their families and fellow citizens.

To strengthen public education, the partnership will engage non-profit organizations, high schools, higher education, and employers to connect young people to upwardly-mobile jobs. Public education and workforce development programs will include an integrated focus on youth development and wraparound programming to give youth the holistic supports they need to succeed. This could include collaborative endeavors to support educators and schools in individualizing interventions for each student, particularly at moments of transition, as well as programming to reach disconnected youth by providing the supports they need to get back in school and/or connect to the workforce.

“The Dalios, especially Barbara, have made improving public education a priority and thousands of young people will have a better chance to succeed because of their commitment,” Governor Ned Lamont said. “There are many individuals who care deeply about Connecticut and its future generations. We’ve come together today for a historic investment to support, encourage, and mentor our young people so they can achieve their greatest potential. I’m grateful to the Dalios, to all our community leaders and educators, and to all of our young people who are working every day to make our state the best it can be.”

“Our educators and community programs provide extraordinary support to our young people in Connecticut,” Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney (D-New Haven) said. “However, our state needs more investment and initiatives in under-resourced communities. This partnership between Dalio Philanthropies, the General Assembly, Governor Lamont, and other philanthropists and business leaders is an important investment in our young people. The entire state appreciates the generosity and commitment of the Dalio family. I also want to thank Governor Lamont for his work in leading this effort that has the potential to be transformative.”

“This is not just about two people being proud of their state and wanting to give back, but also an understanding of the special challenges our youth in certain communities face and investing in their future,” Speaker of the House Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin, Southington) said. “Reaching our young people in need with mentoring and opportunity along with encouraging local entrepreneurship is exactly the formula we need, and the timing couldn’t be more perfect.”

“We appreciate Governor Lamont’s out of the box creative thinking in moving the state forward in pursuit of alternative methods of funding, such as a public-private partnership,” the legislature’s Republican leaders, Senate Minority Leader Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and House Minority Leader Themis Klarides, said in a joint statement. “We share the goal of creating more opportunity for Connecticut’s youth. This is an idea that is certainly worth exploring, but also that needs to be vetted in great detail. The well-being of Connecticut and all who live here is of the utmost importance to all of us and we look forward to many more in-depth conversations to ensure that all people in Connecticut have the best opportunity to succeed.”

“Giving students the education that leads to career and job opportunities is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as a society,” Barbara Dalio, co-founder and director of Dalio Philanthropies, said. “When students are given the career and job training opportunities and they can see a path that excites them, they will thrive. Ray and I are thrilled to partner with Governor Lamont and communities to make this vision possible.”

“Equal access to education and job opportunities are required for any system to be fair and productive,” Ray Dalio, co-founder and president of Dalio Philanthropies, said. “Unfortunately, these are now lacking in Connecticut, particularly in poor areas of the state where poverty impedes children’s ability to get a quality education and for adults to get jobs. I believe that all members of our Connecticut community should pull together to rectify these intolerable circumstances. Barbara has for many years been tirelessly working alongside our state’s educational and community leaders to help provide our public school system with the support it needs to close the educational opportunity gaps. Building on her work and Governor Lamont’s call to work together, we are excited to help initiate this partnership to improve public education and provide jobs and microfinancing opportunities to those in the most depressed areas of our state. We hope to make these changes sustainable over the long run by raising incomes, lowering social costs, and making Connecticut a more hospitable environment for those who will contribute to its well-being.”

About Dalio Philanthropies
Dalio Philanthropies furthers the Dalio family’s diverse philanthropic passions, which include strengthening public education in Connecticut, financial inclusion and social entrepreneurship. Dalio Philanthropies has invested more than $50 million in the state’s public school districts, nonprofit organizations, and communities over the past four years alone. Dalio Philanthropies’ support for financial inclusion efforts total over $72 million to date. To learn more, visit www.daliophilanthropies.org.

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18 comments

  1. Well, Bridgeport comes in first in Connecticut. The partnership will benefit residents of Connecticut’s under-resourced communities, with a specific focus on communities where there is both a high poverty rate and a high concentration of youth (14-24) who are showing signs of disengagement or disconnection from high school.

    1. The Dalio’s have long been supporters of Charter $chools. Ray Dalio operates the most profitable hedge fund in the WORLD! They have STAGGERING wealth.

      Recently, they have expressed an interest in shifting their focus from charter $chools to true public schools.

      The press release indicates the funding will be given to non-profits, high schools, higher education and workforce programs. It appears none of these funds will go towards elementary/middle schools.

      Is funding going to charter high schools, true public high schools, magnet high schools, vocational schools, etc.?

      Our high schools are in desperate need of interventionists, math & literacy coaches, social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, attendance officers, and more.

      I need more information.

      1. Upon re-reading the press release, this is a very generous donation over a 5 year period.

        It averages out at $20,000,000 per year. Every urban, impoverished school district is going to advocate for these funds. To put this in perspective, the BPS needs $16,000,000 just to KEEP every staff member and program we currently have. This will NOT add a single staff member or program in our severely under resourced schools.

    1. Ernie, there’s no “I” in team. You make it sound as if Bridgeport’s State Representatives and both State Senator don’t speak or communicate with the Lamont administration. Why does it mostly has to be “I” as in you? Can you remember your partner Eneida Martinez or the other 18 members of the Bridgeport City Council? Can you keep in mind that there’s a Bridgeport Board of Education? There has never been a truely unified effort consisting of at least the above mentioned political stakeholders/officials. I doubt if we’ll ever see one.

      1. Does the community understand that a responsibility of the Council is not to laugh and party with the Mayor and his buddies? But to challenge them with a vision and goals that come from the people of the City? When has the Council met to discuss their priorities, derived from knocking on doors?
        There is no rule or law about the Council having announced priorities for authorizing operating budget, for funding capital budgets, and for attention to other matters that might certainly include as on Page 1 of the Proposed General Fund Budget under Budget Procedure: “Transfers of certain appropriations between departments require the approval of the City Council.” Really, and these ought to be noted on Council agendas, too. What’s the story on budget transfers at the Council level? Time will tell.

  2. Did you notice Ernie wrote “I will get in touch with all Our State Rep’s and State Senator…” We have two State Senators, not just one. I wonder which one Ernie was eliminating. Hmmm…

    1. Maria i wrote both State senator sorry for not putting the s on it. You are a piece of work!
      P.S Joel i said i would get in touch if other want to reach out in support they can do just that! I can only speak for Ernie.

  3. I suspect that Maria and I are the only commentators who actually read the release. Maria is also accurate and objective in her comment.

    I’m certain the Dalio’s generosity is based on a carefully crafted tax write-off.

    1. Ernie,
      Democrats often suggest that ‘the rich’ need to pay their fair share. This is how ‘the rich’ avoid paying taxes. Is it a thoughtful gesture on their part? Yes. Does it address the shortfall in operating funds for Bridgeport Public Schools? No.

      Instead, this is what they say it is:
      “A partnership with donors from the business community, government and educational leaders will surely result in positive opportunities and results for our youth. We look forward to seeing that positive energy in the students of Bridgeport.”

      Perhaps you and your fellow council members and Bridgeport’s State Legislative Delegation will track to see if any of this money impacts Bridgeport school children in other than some nebulous conceptual statement the press release is full of.

  4. Maria you said, “Is funding going to charter high schools, true public high schools, magnet high schools, vocational schools, etc.?

    I don’t think it matters as long as the money is going to benefit the children of the Bridgeport school system. Why anyone would look a gift horse in the mouth defies credulity or logic. Nor do I have a problem with Ernie contacting our State Reps and State Senators on behalf of the children of Bridgeport because the more voices of concern about the educational pursuits of our children is warranted and never a bad thing.

    1. Donald,

      That’s the rub, if it goes to the PRIVATE Charter schools then chances are it will only benefit the management companies that service those schools. If that money got into the hands of true public schools, and maybe even parochial schools the money would be put to better use in my opinion.

    2. The Bridgeport school system is defined by state statute as the Bridgeport Public School. Any student residing in Bridgeport that attends a vocational or charter school is defined by statute as “students of the state.” Vocational and charter schools are governed solely by the state Board of Education. My job as an elected member of the Bridgeport Board of Education is to advocate on behalf of our 20,400 students. Those are the students we are responsible for.

      Inter-district Magnet High Schools already receive $3,000 extra per student. In addition, if a suburban student attends Fairchild Wheeler High School additional revenue is generated regarding tuition payments.

      We need to invest additional funding in our three comprehensive schools and the Bridgeport Military Academy. We have very real needs in those schools, but especially Bassick & Harding.

  5. Eric, I don’t see the rub that you that you speak. Are you advocating that money earmarked for Bridgeport be used to educate the children of Parochial Schools? Banks estimate the wealth of the Vatican to be between 10 and 15 billion dollars yet you are advocating that these schools be subsidized by money earmarked for public and/charter schools. That’s blasphemy man.

    1. Donald,

      My reference to the LOCAL parochial schools was there is accountability at the local level. Those students perform community service in the city.

      The charter school industry has one focus, shareowner value; at the end of the day the outcomes of the children are irrelevant to them.

  6. Mayor Ganim had the nerve to issue the following statement:

    “This major funding donation and financial match by our state is much needed for the youth in our cities and recognizes that our students can and will thrive, and will provide valuable outcomes for the future in our community. A partnership with donors from the business community, government and educational leaders will surely result in positive opportunities and results for our youth. We look forward to seeing that positive energy in the students of Bridgeport.”

    What he is really saying is ” I don’t give a shit about Bridgeport public school students. In fact, I haven’t done shit for them for my almost four years in office. I am glad that a White Billionaire with no connections to Bridgeport may donate some $$$ for our majority black & brown kids because I certainly don’t give a shit as I have clearly shown in four consecutive budgets I have proposed as the Mayor of Bridgeport.”

    “P.S. Just in case there is any confusion, and so that we’re all on the same page, I myself am a piece of shit.”

    This would be the proper interpretation/summation of “piece of shit,” Mayor Ganim’s , inauthentic press release. Any questions, feel free to let me know.

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