Our Model

We’re looking for the people with the ideas that are going to change education and open doors for all children. The call has never been more urgent to innovate — to bring new approaches and new organizations that will give every child a great chance in life. Each and every child has a fundamental right to a real education — one that leaves her ready to create a fulfilling life, make positive change, and help build an equitable future for everyone. Yet, too many children — especially in Black, Latino and low-income neighborhoods — don’t have access to the learning opportunities they need.

We believe the genius to create an equitable education system already exists in our nation, in our communities, and that new ideas must have the support they need to grow. That’s why NewSchools offers not just funding, but partnership and support, to innovators who seek to build strong schools and organizations dedicated to a more just future in education. To get there, we support entrepreneurs in four investment areas: Innovative Public Schools, Learning Solutions, Diverse Leaders and Racial Equity. And we’re enthusiastic about helping Black and Latino innovators bring their ideas and organizations to fruition.

As a nonprofit venture philanthropy, we use charitable donations to support teams of educators, innovators and parent leaders who are reimagining public education to give all students — particularly those from underserved communities — a better opportunity to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. We seek out promising innovators from around the country, and invest in those with the greatest potential to improve student learning and make a positive impact. We support them with management assistance and customized resources to help them achieve their missions more quickly and with higher quality. Since we are a nonprofit organization, the returns we seek are educational and social, not financial.

diligence management knowledge

NewSchools is known for identifying and supporting some of the highest impact education entrepreneurs in the field.

Diligence & Investment

We invest in innovators working to reimagine PreK-12 public education, with a focus on students from underserved communities.

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Management Assistance and Support

We engage our ventures as partners, providing funding and customized management assistance to help each organization grow and thrive

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Knowlege Sharing

We connect entrepreneurs to each other and share their lessons broadly to ensure that the best ideas and tools spread nationwide to benefit all students.

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We invest in innovators with missions grounded in reimagining PreK-12 public education, with a special focus on students from underserved communities, including:

  • Black students
  • Latino students
  • Students from low-income communities
  • Students with individualized education plans
  • English language learners

Ventures must align with one of our active investment strategies: Innovative Public Schools, Learning Solutions, Diverse Leaders and Racial Equity.

The overarching criteria that guide our investments are:

  • Idea: We partner with innovators in the early stages of developing ambitious new ideas with the potential to dramatically improve student learning and advance equitable opportunity. We focus on ventures that seek to expand their impact significantly over time by growing their organizations and/or influencing the work of others.
  • Team: We seek mission-driven, diverse innovators who demonstrate passion, personal integrity and the ability to execute and achieve results. We expect our entrepreneurs to build high-functioning teams to ensure they are surrounded by individuals with the skills and backgrounds necessary to deliver on their vision. Ventures should be open to working closely with us and being an active member of our community of practice with fellow portfolio members.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: We believe — and research demonstrates — that teams that are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) are better equipped to meet the needs of the students and communities they serve. We seek teams that embrace this commitment by developing comprehensive strategies with measurable goals to prioritize DEI in their organizations and programmatic models. In addition, teams confront issues of race, class and privilege, and recruit racially and ethnically diverse board members, leadership teams and staff to reflect the students they serve.
  • Financial Sustainability: We are ultimately interested in changing outcomes in a lasting way for large numbers of children — that is, achieving impact at scale. While scale might come in many forms, it is hard to grow models that rely on philanthropy alone. To that end, we look for ventures with a plan for achieving financial sustainability through a mix of revenue sources.

After deciding to make an investment, we engage our ventures as partners, providing customized management assistance to help each organization reach its full potential for impact. We take an active role with each venture in our portfolio, seeing their success as a joint goal. Delivered by our team and network of experts, we provide tailored support on topics such as strategic planning, instructional and product design, business model development, DEI, fundraising, and growth strategies. As just one part of that effort, we bring our ventures together in communities of practice so they can learn from each other, sharing challenges as well as successes.

NewSchools plays an important role in connecting our innovators’ work to the broader landscape of public education. By sharing what we’re learning as soon as we learn it, we help focus and mobilize practitioner, researcher, influencer and funder attention on important and emerging topics. NewSchools regularly convenes our ventures in person and virtually, helping them build relationships and share knowledge, best practices and tools. We also host an invitation-only gathering of education thought leaders called Summit. Our substantive publications, blogs, and conference appearances are key vehicles for capturing and sharing the lessons we learn through our work with ventures. See our Resources and News + Blogs.