Celebrating Black History Month by Investing $1M to Diversify Education Leadership

February 6, 2017

I always enjoy Black History Month.  It’s a time to recognize and honor the many contributions of Black Americans to our country. But this year, I’m especially happy because I’ll also get a chance to help make some new history — by supporting the next generation of diverse leaders in education.

It is no coincidence that we have chosen Black History Month to announce our latest round of diverse leaders investments. Education has always been at the core of Black history – from the earliest scholars and educators like Booker T. Washington, Frederick Douglass and Mary McCloud Bethune to the student activists who changed the world during the Civil Rights Movement and the countless other Black educators who gained national prominence for their commitment to creating opportunities for all students to reach their greatest aspirations.

The leaders and  organizations in our latest cohort build on that proud history and have taken up the charge for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in education with the same verve.

Five of our ventures are first-time investments, selected from a national pool of 70 submissions. The other four are reinvestments. We provide reinvestment capital because we know there is a lack of dedicated funding for DEI efforts in education, particularly early efforts, and we want to ensure our most promising ventures are properly supported to do their best work and ultimately realize the impact they seek.

We are proud to be investing a total of $1 million across the following ventures:

 First-Time Investments

  • Cambiar, The School Systems Leadership Fellowship: A spin-out program from TFA incubated through Cambiar, the School Systems Leaders Fellowship will prepare high-potential, diverse education leaders to take on take on instructionally focused cabinet-level roles within two to three years of completing the program.
  • Chiefs for Change, Future Chiefs: Chiefs for Change is a nonprofit network of diverse state and district education Chiefs dedicated to preparing all students for today’s world and tomorrow’s. NewSchools is funding Chief for Change’s Future Chiefs initiative, helping to expand the program beyond its initial pilot of diverse fellows.
  • Community Equity Partners: Community Equity Partners’ (CEP) goal is to retain and develop senior leaders of color within education by disrupting the dominant and exclusive organizational culture through cross-racial relationships and coaching. CEP’s theory of change supports organizations in creating inclusive environments that support the advancement of Black and Latino senior leaders.
  • Education Reform Now, Leaders of Color Initiative: The mission of Education Reform Now (ERN) is to build networks of progressive champions, allies, and supporters across the political and policymaking arenas to expand what works and change what is broken in the public education system. ERN is creating a Leaders of Color Initiative to alleviate the barriers to entry for elected leaders of color. ERN will support participants from candidate identification to training to support when in office.
  • Tennessee Charter School Center, Charter Board Leaders of Color Collaborative: As the primary charter support organization in Tennessee, Tennessee Charter School Center plans to launch the Charter Board Leaders of Color Collaborative (CBLCC). The goal of the CBLCC is to convene and connect existing charter board members of color in Tennessee and increase the number of Black and Latino leaders who serve on charter boards.


  • Education Leaders of Color: Education Leaders of Color (EdLoC) is a membership organization dedicated to elevating the leadership, voices, and influence of people of color in education and leading more inclusive efforts to improve education. EdLoC seeks to dramatically increase the number of Black and Latino leaders in high-level positions in education and adjacent fields. EdLoC recruits, develops, connects and advances a cadre of values-aligned leaders who, individually and collectively, are transforming the educational and life trajectories of low-income and underserved children.
  • Latinos for EducationLatinos for Education’s (LFE) mission is to develop, place and connect essential Latino leaders in the education sector in order to ensure that all Latino children get access to an excellent education. LFE believes that Latino leaders should be at the forefront of ensuring Latino students receive an equitable education.
  • National Charter Collaborative: National Charter Collaborative’s mission is to create a flourishing ecosystem of high-performing, diverse-led, single-site charter schools by providing their leaders access to essential resources and support. NCC pursues its mission through a three-part program strategy: an online network, a consultancy program, and a cohort-based fellowship program. 
  • Ops360: Ops360 provides leadership development and training to finance and operations leaders to support the creation, growth, and management of high quality school operations. The result: Ops360’s charter school partners get more things done and spend less money while achieving excellent operational support for their academic teams.

If you or someone you know might be a good candidate for investment under the Diverse Leaders strategy at NewSchools, we’d love to know more. NewSchools will offer its next Diverse Leaders funding opportunity in Fall 2017. In the meantime, please share your contact information to receive updates relevant to our Diverse Leaders work.