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Frequently Asked Questions


Please take a look at What We Fund to find out about our primary investment areas. 

Within our EDge fund, we invest in solutions that extend beyond any single investment area, with a focus on innovations that empower students with learning differences, specifically those who are also facing the impacts of poverty and racism, as well as innovations emerging in response to the pandemic. We are interested in hearing your best ideas for how schools can recover and rebuild from the pandemic and chart new paths for students to realize their full potential.

If you are planning to launch a new school: We provide a one-year grant of $215,000 to support a team’s planning year (12-14 months prior to opening a new school). Each team is also eligible to receive additional funding to support the school’s first three years of operation.

If you are considering our other investment areas: Ventures receive a one-year, unrestricted grant ranging from $150,000 to $250,000, depending on the stage of the idea. If you are still developing your strategy or are in the process of piloting your idea, you are likely to receive a grant on the lower end of our range. If you already have a clear strategy and a successful pilot under your belt, you will probably land toward the top of our range. 

Yes! In addition to financial support, venture leaders participate in an active community of practice to build relationships with and learn from peer organizations, and we convene our cohorts approximately two times per year to facilitate this exchange.

In addition, ventures receive relevant, timely and differentiated support, including one-on-one support with a member of our staff, as well as access to experts and resources to meet their needs in areas such as school model or program design, staffing, DEI, fundraising, financial sustainability, and operations. We also provide support focused on data collection, impact measurement, and continuous improvement.

You can learn more about what it is like to be a part of our portfolio in this video featuring some of our Diverse Leaders innovators. 

No, you do not have to be legally incorporated to apply for NewSchools funding. We can grant funds through fiscal sponsors or, at times, to individuals directly, but we expect that you are working towards securing your non-profit or for-profit status.  We do not fund private or for-profit schools or 501c4s.

For schools: We fund new district or charter public schools. When it comes to charter schools, we fund the first or second school of an emerging public charter school network, or a new school with an innovative model in an existing network. 

For our other investment areas: While we prioritize investing in new, early-stage organizations (which are typically 0 to 2 years old), we also invest in new initiatives at existing organizations. If you fall in the latter category, know that we are interested in truly new and untried efforts, not incremental improvements to your current work. The early-stage organizations and new initiatives within existing organizations that we fund have a vision for impact by growing their organizations and/or influencing the work of others. 

NewSchools does not fund 501c4s or policy-focused efforts.

To stay up to date on NewSchools funding opportunities and updates across our organization, we encourage you to join our email list.

As you consider applying for a future funding opportunity, you may find it helpful to review information from our past funding opportunities.

Please check our website for updates or join our email list so you will be notified when applications open.

The overarching criteria that guide our investments are:

Alignment: 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 investment strategies: Diverse Leaders, Innovative Public Schools, Learning Solutions, Racial Equity or our EDge fund.

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. 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.

Community: 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.

Team: 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).