The Schott Foundation's chief operating officer, Heidi Brooks, was recently profiled in Harvard Business School's alumni magazine, chronicling her work not just at Schott but across her entire globe-spanning career:
A born adventurer with a passion for social justice, Heidi Brooks (MBA 2003) uses her business savvy to effect social change.
Since 2014 Brooks has served as chief operating officer of the Schott Foundation for Public Education, a nonprofit organization focused on strengthening public education through grants and advocacy. The organization seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline through disciplinary reform and ensure that schools with high needs receive the necessary resources and funding to achieve their goals.
“There is nothing more important than building the foundations for social change,” says Brooks. “Rosa Parks’ civil disobedience didn’t just happen because she wanted to sit down one day; and gay marriage didn’t become legal in one day. These kinds of changes have decades of investment behind them.”
The Schott Foundation’s current campaigns include the Schools Our Girls Deserve Gender Equity campaign in New York City, an effort to shift the harsh disciplinary policies that have disproportionately led to girls and gender-nonconforming students of color being pushed out of schools. In Massachusetts, the organization works with the Fair Share Campaign in its efforts to add a tax of 4 percent to annual income above $1 million in order to raise approximately $1.9 billion in new revenue for public education funding.
The foundation’s efforts do not stop with providing grant funding to support organizations and campaigns, however. It also provides support services, such as communication, networking, and policy advocacy.
As COO, Brooks is the steadying force who keeps the ship on course, by overseeing strategic planning, operations, and finances, as well as evaluating programs to determine what is working well and ways in which operations can be more efficient and have the greatest impact.