$30 million investment from Kern Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to Help Create 100,000 New Seats for Students
DENVER, CO – The Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) today announced a $30 million investment from the Kern Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Michael & Susan Dell Foundation to support the expansion of high quality charter school operators. The investment, including a $15 million grant from the Kern Family Foundation, a $10 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and $5 million grant from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, is part of a larger $100 million fundraising effort designed to build a portfolio of high-quality charter school organizations that will, collectively, create 100,000 new permanent seats for underserved students by 2015. With these new investments, CSGF has secured nearly $90 million thus far.
The new investment will deepen CSGF’s ongoing work to increase the number of high quality charter management organizations (CMOs), and strengthen their ability to develop and execute strategic plans that will ultimately allow them to help all students achieve at high levels. These CMOs, which operate and support charter schools, provide high-quality public school options designed to improve student learning and assure quality and accountability. Through this fundraising effort, CSGF projects that in the next five years it will be able to fund a growing number of promising charter school operators that will ultimately serve 100,000 students each year in low-income urban communities across the country.
“We are proud to say that many more students in underserved communities will receive a high quality education because of the generosity of these key national funders,” said John Lock, CEO and President of the Charter School Growth Fund. “These investments are vital to CSGF’s long term plan to continue expanding and strengthening strong charter networks across the country to serve more children. We are grateful to our expanding base of national philanthropic partners for their commitment to the expansion and growth of high quality educational options for more low income and minority students.”
Despite the fact that today’s global economy increasingly requires highly skilled workers, 3,000 young people – many from urban areas – are dropping out every day. Further, fewer than 20 percent of African American and Latino students graduate ready for college-level academics. Families, particularly low-income families in urban centers, are facing persistently low high school graduation and college-going rates, with few educational options that change these circumstances. This is not only a crisis for them, but for the entire community.
Charter School Growth Fund, a Colorado-based philanthropic venture fund, was founded to provide financial and strategic support for the development and expansion of charter school management and support organizations to increase the achievement of a greater number of low income and minority students nationwide. CSGF accomplishes this mission by providing proven entrepreneurs with the guidance and resources necessary to create self-sufficient networks of high-performing schools.
“If students are given the right tools and environment for learning, we know they can succeed,” said Jim Rahn, President of the Kern Family Foundation. “In a short period of time, CSGF has established a track record of success in working with exceptional entrepreneurs to create growing networks of charter schools that are leading the way with impressive academic improvements for low income students. Our investment underscores the belief that the charter school movement holds the promise of improving radically the quality of public schooling in America.”
CSGF seeks out the best and most successful charter management organizations nationally who are building programs that keep young people engaged. These CMOs must also achieve impressive results preparing students who would otherwise not have access to a quality education to succeed in college and work. These models, which take many forms and serve various focus areas, all have high quality learning environments and academically rigorous curricula that have demonstrated academic success.
CSGF’s existing portfolio of 15 CMOs manages 82 schools in California, Colorado, Illinois, Arizona, Texas, North Carolina, New Jersey, Oregon, New York, and Washington D.C, and serves nearly 27,000 students. Parent demand for these schools is high, with an average of 2.3 student applications for every available seat, because students served by these organizations are dramatically outperforming students in their “home” districts. According to CSGF data, virtually all (96 percent) of CSGF student cohorts made gains of more than one grade level per year based on national assessments.
Other contributors to the $90 million collected thus far include the Walton Family Foundation, the Don & Doris Fisher Foundation, and the Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation. CSGF has committed $42.7 million thus far to the 15 portfolio members.
The Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) is a philanthropic venture fund founded to significantly increase the capacity of proven education entrepreneurs. Currently, CSGF is operating several funds with the support of more than $140 million from several major education philanthropies and financial institutions. By providing financial resources and strategic expertise, CSGF is enabling some of the nation’s most innovative entrepreneurs to build scalable, self-sufficient schooling organizations that provide quality educational options to thousands of underserved families in diverse communities. More information may be found at www.chartergrowthfund.org