Education Fuels Progress: Our 2024-26 Strategy

February 20, 2024

By Frances Messano, CEO

In America, it remains all too predictable who gets a fair shot at life. Our education system should be a gateway to opportunity, yet it often acts as a barrier. While there’s no shortage of committed leaders and bright spots in communities across the country, we have yet to move the baseline for everyone. 

An education system that makes it possible for all kids to succeed is the greatest investment in our shared future. It’s the key to unlocking the well of talent and ingenuity essential for preserving our inclusive democracy, combating climate change, and fostering a more just society. While we cannot know what challenges and opportunities tomorrow will bring, one thing is clear: creating a better future starts in our classrooms. Education fuels progress.

Our Investment Strategy

Our new three-year investment strategy is focused on creating a student-centered education system. We will build on proven approaches and fund solutions that empower young people to become the leaders and problem solvers our society needs. In this next phase, we will drive change by investing in promising ideas and leaders, amplifying effective solutions and success stories, and forming stronger, broader coalitions for change. 

From 2024 to 2026, our team will raise $100 million to invest across three areas —  Innovative Schools, Learning Solutions, and Teaching Reimagined — and our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion will be at the core of everything we do. We will fund groundbreaking ideas to close gaps and significantly improve outcomes for all students, particularly those furthest from opportunity — including students of color, those experiencing poverty, and those with learning differences. This involves expanding access to capital for leaders of color with the expertise and cultural wisdom to support these students.

Innovative Schools

Schools are the heart of public education. We believe in the transformative power of excellent, innovative schools to change the lives of students, their families, and entire communities. Our investments will support the creation of new charter and district schools that provide students with a solid academic foundation and the mindsets, habits, and skills needed for lifelong success (we call this an expanded definition of student success). These schools will emphasize student choice and personalized learning, prioritize relationships and community collaboration, and engage students with the broader world as they explore their passions and develop their future plans.

Learning Solutions

Existing schools need help developing student-centered classrooms that offer learners personalized support. We plan to invest in learning solutions — including tools, content, and models — that accelerate literacy and math outcomes for students while fostering experiences that positively impact students’ social-emotional learning, motivation, and self-awareness. We know that generative artificial intelligence will play a significant role in this effort as we ensure that every student gets the support they need, when they need it. 

Teaching Reimagined

It’s time to reimagine the role of teachers and right-size the job. We will invest in innovative ideas that evolve how teachers work and strategies that involve caregivers and community experts in supporting student success. Our goal is to build on current efforts, catalyze new approaches and leverage generative AI to accelerate progress and make teaching a more sustainable, effective, and joyful profession that attracts a diverse group of educators.

In doing this work, we will adapt to market shifts and invest in areas where entrepreneurial activity is growing and the potential for positive impact on students is greatest. Across our portfolios, we seek solutions that leverage generative artificial intelligence to improve teaching and learning, embrace learning that happens outside of school, and support students in achieving college and career success. We see a significant opportunity to drive innovation in special education, given that one in five students has a diagnosed or undiagnosed learning difference like dyslexia or dyscalculia. That’s why we’re making investments to enhance teaching and learning for students with learning differences within and beyond our three main focus areas.

Engaging Communities in Investment Decisions

Community input will inform our grantmaking. We have seen time and again that we can solve hard problems when we follow the lead of students, parents, and educators who are closest to the problems we aim to solve. Our past experience with participatory grantmaking has demonstrated that communities are well-equipped to identify solutions that meet their unique needs. That’s why all first-year investments will be made with input from an advisory group that includes students, parents, educators, and researchers.

Moving the Field Forward

We are committed to moving forward with the optimism, creativity, and ambition necessary to meet the needs of this generation of students. Along the way, we will elevate key insights and best practices to generate a ripple effect, where the successes in our portfolio inspire and guide others, contributing to systemic change across the sector. We are excited to partner with you to create an education system that delivers on its promise to every student.

Share Your Bold Idea

If you have a groundbreaking idea that reimagines the role of educators, empowers students with learning differences, or supports students to build foundational literacy and math skills, we want to hear from you. Our 2024 funding opportunity launches today, offering you the chance to realize your vision and join a national community of innovators leading the way. Visit our Apply for Funding page to check your eligibility.