Meet Beverly: Lawyer, Philanthropist, Board Member
“I realized early on that education was my ticket to success and independence.”
Beverly Fanger Chase is a Classroom, Inc. board member and donor, and a senior counsel at Davis Polk & Wardell LLP. Her passion for expanding educational access evolved from an early acute awareness of the importance of learning: “My father put a huge priority on education. He was first generation and cared deeply about education. When there were other competing responsibilities, school trumped it all.”
Progressing from tutoring in college, to being a member of a local school board, to becoming an esteemed professional within the business community, Beverly focused on the issues of diversity and education as gateways to opportunities for upward mobility. Early in her career, she saw diversity issues take center stage as she became involved in personnel decisions. It became quite evident that these issues did not exist in a vacuum at the professional level; young adults were either being prepared for successful futures, or they were not. Her commitment to diversity challenges in the workplace naturally merged with her interest in education. “Education and diversity are so intertwined.” Beverly decided to go to the source: expanding educational access.
“You must work on the things that are going to make a difference. Educational opportunity was the key to addressing the things that bothered me.”
For years now, Beverly has immersed herself in learning about, addressing, and discussing educational issues—from being a trustee at a New York City foundation that funds educational programs to having dinner table conversations with a family member who is a public school teacher. “All of the challenges K-12 education are regular topics of discussion in our family and that’s a huge source of information and inquiry for me.” This connection to the classroom continues to shape Beverly’s perspective and hone her philanthropic endeavors.
Reflecting on where we stand as a country, she knows that quality educational opportunities still elude many families and communities. It calls for, what Beverly deems, a full frontal assault.
“We get so caught up in political issues. What we need is a war on educational challenges—we need to try everything.”
And teachers cannot be forgotten in this fight. The profession needs to be lifted up: “There’s a need to create a really attractive, supported, and compensated career path for teachers.”
Supporting a mission-driven organization like Classroom, Inc. gives Beverly—someone who thinks about both the big-picture policy dilemmas as well as classroom-level choices—a significant amount of hope. “We’re concrete. We make education relevant to students and we support teachers.”
“My hope is that society will marshal its resources and commit itself to a multi-pronged agenda aimed at educational excellence, and that Classroom, Inc. will be an important contributor to that effort.” Classroom, Inc. is fortunate to have Beverly in its corner as it works to address the growing literacy gap among middle school-age children.