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Overview

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store_2094952949.380x260The Foundation for Critical Thinking was established in 1980 as the first center on critical thinking in the world. Our approach to teach critical thinking is used more widely than any other. For more than 15 years, we have ground mailed 150,000 - 250,000 thinkers' guides each year to educators across the country to introduce them to the idea of critical thinking. We have run conferences and workshops for 35 years, and during this time we have worked with more than 100,000 educators in designing instruction that places critical thinking at the core of teaching and learning.

Our staff is stretched too thin and we are not making effective use of our senior staff when they answer the telephone and provide direct support of our teaching materials. We need to make better use of our website and social media strategies. We also need the organization to run effectively without the constant supervision and long overtime hours of its founders, who deserve a less driven pace and will eventually consider retirement.

There is no better long-term way to advance the secular movement than the spread of critical thinking through explicit teaching in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. We seek a capacity building grant to double the efficiency of the foundation, enabling us to reach more people and further reason and secularism.


The Challenge

foundation-for-critical-thinking

The Foundation for Critical Thinking was established in 1980 as the first center on critical thinking in the world. Our approach to teach critical thinking is used more widely than any other, because:

  • It is the most integrated. Through dozens of guides we show how to apply critical thinking to specific academic fields.
  • It is the most accessible. We explain critical thinking using everyday language rather than formal logic and jargon.
  • It is the most relevant. We show how to use critical thinking in everyday reasoning, with real human problems, not just in the abstract.
  • It is the most targeted. After 35 years of producing content, we now have every conceivable type of video and printed guide, from teaching kindergartners critical thinking to teaching how to read skeptically to teaching guides translated into 50 languages.
  • It is the most useful to teachers. Our support goes far beyond textbooks. We provide a community to help teachers use our materials, and additional resources such as student tests.
  • It is inexpensive. Unlike commercial publishers who sell expensive and heavy textbooks, we are a non-profit. Our miniature guides are easily purchased or downloaded electronically.

We publish dozens of guides, run two annual conferences, and advise thousands of educators on how to explicitly teach critical thinking as part of their curricula. After 35 years of experience, we have a successful model that can be scaled up and made more effective with a grant for capacity building.


The Opportunity

INSERVICE_ADThe Foundation is seeking funds to expand its organization and make its operations more efficient:

  • Hiring a Director of Development for full-time fundraising, empowering every aspect of our organization
  • Hiring an Executive Assistant to the President, allowing Dr. Linda Elder to accomplish more with her time
  • Hiring a part-time IT Consultant to make our website and outreach more effective, and to connect us to our followers through a newsletter and social media
  • Hiring a part-time Audio-Visual Technician for lectures, presentations, conferences, and workshops.
  • Creating a Critical Thinking Support Hotline to support our training materials, so that senior staffers aren't distracted by questions that can be answered by interns.
  • Laying the groundwork for when our founders retire and the organization will run without their full-time and overtime labor


Impact

Having additional staff would greatly impact the foundation:

  • Converting our thousands of fans into followers on social media and email, drawing them closer to us emotionally, and thus harnessing them as resources for donations, worth of mouth referrals, and volunteerism.
  • Allowing senior staff to concentrate on alliances and the quality of our publications and conferences,
  • Dramatically accelerating our fundraising and donor outreach,
  • Improving the audio-visual quality of our presentations and our video recorded speeches, and
  • Giving more support to those who have purchased our materials to teach critical thinking in the classroom.
  • It will also allow the foundation to properly make use of its senior staff and founders in high-level strategic roles, without their needing to work unsustainable hours on administrative details that could be handled by someone more junior. This will result in better decision-making and more thought given to revenue generating opportunities and synergies.


Project Plan

Salaries will be negotiable, but because we are a non-profit organization with a cause that many feel strongly about, we can expect to pay less than the average salary for staff in the corporate world. A budget with salary ranges is available upon request.

Staff responsibilities would include:

  • Director of Development:
    • Develop and write up specific project proposals for funding
    • Create a list of potential donors, with their interests and contact information
    • Engage with donors to learn about their goals and aspirations
    • Write grants
    • Maintain relationships with existing donors, keeping them updated on the impact of their contributions
  • Executive Assistant:
    • Take dictation for emails and letters
    • Research and contact organizations and VIP individuals for the foundation
    • Organize office supplies, bookkeeping, utilities, and travel
    • Assist with everything the foundation does: publishing, conferences, lectures, etc.
    • Assist with the sales pipeline, including marketing and fulfillment
    • Provide on the ground support, preparing for and running conferences and workshops
  • IT Consultant:
    • Maintain, expand, and improve the effectiveness of our website
    • Establish an email list and help generate a newsletter
    • Create and grow social media channels
    • Maintain staff computers and peripherals
    • Provide strong security
  • Audio-Visual Technician:
    • Set up video recording of lectures and conferences
    • Assist with presentations and lectures
    • Maintain the foundation's YouTube page
    • Convert and post hundreds of hours of old video recorded lectures to YouTube
  • Customer Support:
    • Respond to questions by phone and email relating to the use of the foundation's books and courses
    • Focus on the theory and contextualization of critical thinking
    • Provide on the ground support, preparing for and running conferences and workshops
    • Collect feedback on the quality and content of materials
    • Collect feedback and case studies on how materials are actually being used or misused
    • Upsell new materials where appropriate


Needs

We seek funding for capacity building and help reaching out to discover qualified candidates with a passion for education, secularism, and critical thinking.


Contact

Organization: Foundation for Critical Thinking
Contact Name: Linda Elder
Contact Email: elder@criticalthinking.org