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September 28, 2009

In Appreciation of Don Fisher

Don FisherGreatSchools lost a generous friend and supporter yesterday. Don Fisher, co-founder of the Gap and philanthropist extraordinaire died at his home in San Francisco at the age of 81.

Don and his wife Doris provided the funds that allowed GreatSchools to expand from its California roots and become a national resource beginning nine years ago. We would not be able to provide our services to millions of American parents each year if it were not for Don and Doris Fisher’s generosity.

In addition to providing major funding, Don made us better by asking tough questions. He had a general sense that providing school performance information to parents was a good idea, but he always wanted to know what we were learning and what evidence we had that GreatSchools was making a difference. He asked question after question to find the weaknesses in our case; preparing to answer his questions forced us to clarify our thinking.

He was also an incredibly generous supporter of charter schools. In city after city, KIPP schools are among those that have the highest GreatSchools ratings. He gave tens of millions to the KIPP Foundation to make these schools possible.

We are deeply thankful for his generosity for education causes and will miss him greatly.

Photo credit: Marcus Hanschen

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