Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Postsecondary Success

September 26, 2019

Postsecondary Success Notes | The focus on equity


Over the past several months, I’ve spent a good bit of time with our partners, many who are higher ed leaders. Our conversations inevitably lead to one important topic: equity.

Our approach to equity focuses on answering “what,” “why,” and “how.” The answer to “what” is our north star as a strategy – eliminating disparities in student outcomes by race and income. A growing number of colleges and universities are achieving that goal already, and we are focused on developing networks and resources to help more institutions achieve that goal.

The “why” is grounded in our core belief that every person deserves the chance to live a healthy, productive life. And the reality that unless we overcome systemic barriers based on race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, our nation will be less just and will lack the talent needed for a strong economy and vibrant, healthy communities. Education is fundamental to breaking down those barriers.

“How” involves all aspects of our team’s work, starting with the background and experience of our team members, extending to how we build our knowledge, skills, and mindsets (including what research we focus on) and culminating in our strategy development, partnerships and grantmaking practices. Equity is not – and cannot be – a standalone initiative. It has to be deeply embedded into every aspect of the work.

And while we still have a lot to learn when it comes to promoting and advancing equity in education, the Postsecondary Success team is ready for the journey ahead.



Patrick Methvin