On July 7, 2021 NewSchools CEO, Stacey Childress, was included in the Forbes 50 Over 50: Impact list. Forbes launched the first iteration of the list in June to highlight women over the age of 50 who are leaving a positive and lasting impact on the world. Below is an excerpt from Stacey on her achievements since turning 50 and what the future holds for NewSchools.
It is an honor to be recognized in the inaugural Forbes 50 Over 50: Impact list among an impressive group of women who are leading change in the social sector. It is more than coincidence that I turned 50 the year I became CEO of NewSchools. To increase our impact on students at the heart of our mission, I knew we’d need to become a different kind of funder. Our team, board, and grantees were mostly white, while 92% of the students we served were Black or Latino. This mismatch meant we were missing out on a wealth of ideas for serving students better. We diversified our staff and board and simultaneously refreshed our priorities to match community needs: schools that support academic and social emotional learning; ed tech designed for equity; and more diverse leaders and teachers. We retooled how we develop funding pipelines and how we select and support grantees. In 2014, fewer than 10% of our active grantees were people of color; today, more than 50% identify as Black or Latino. We’ve now provided tens of millions of unrestricted dollars to leaders of color and partnered with them to strengthen their organizations, raise additional funds, and learn together.
Now we’re ceding power through participatory grantmaking in our new Racial Equity Fund. I’m working on ceding power in my own leadership, including being explicit about succession planning. I’m confident our impact will continue to grow in our next chapter.