Investment Criteria

Before NewSchools invests, we rigorously evaluate all potential ventures in the following areas:


We invest in innovators with missions grounded in reimagining PreK-12 public education, with a special focus on students from underserved communities, including Black and Latino students, students from low-income communities, students with disabilities and English language learners. Teams must align with one of our active investment strategies: Innovative Public Schools, Diverse Leaders, Learning Solutions, and Racial Equity.


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. Our long-term goal is to have a catalytic impact on student success nationally, so we focus on ventures that seek to expand their impact significantly over time by growing their organizations and/or influencing the work of others.


We expect teams to engage students, families and community members early and often to inform all aspects of design and planning. By seeking to understand the needs, interests and aspirations of the people they aim to serve, teams can not only design a better solution, but also create the necessary relationships to grow their impact over time.


We seek mission-driven, diverse innovators who demonstrate passion, personal integrity and the ability to execute and deliver impact. 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. Leaders should be open to working closely with us and being an active member of our community of practice.

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 interested in supporting organizations that grow their impact and it is impossible to do that with philanthropy alone. To that end, we look for organizations with plans for achieving financial sustainability through a mix of revenue sources (e.g., philanthropy, earned revenue, government grants, partnership fees).