Los Angeles, CA — August 16, 2007 — The Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) announced today that it has received three grants totaling close to $4.2 million, which will enable it to open four much-needed charter schools in South Los Angeles this fall. The contributions include up to $1.8 million from NewSchools Venture Fund, $1.45 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and $920,000 from the Walton Family Foundation.
“These generous grants speak to the track record that we’ve established of preparing under-served kids to succeed at four-year universities, and it will provide vital new opportunities for thousands in our community,” said ICEF founder and Chief Executive Officer Michael D. Piscal. “There is a tremendous demand for ICEF schools in our community, and now we can go a long way towards meeting that demand.”
ICEF was founded in 1994 to create new educational opportunities in traditionally under-served communities in Los Angeles. ICEF’s mission is to prepare its students, predominantly African-American, to attend and compete academically at the top colleges and universities in the nation. ICEF schools are in high demand, as its five existing charter schools have waiting lists that exceed 5,000 students.
The grants will be used to open four new charter schools in Los Angeles this fall: the Thurgood Marshall Middle and High Schools, and the Lou Dantzler Middle and High Schools. The addition of these four new schools will mean that ICEF will have nine charter schools operating within the Los Angeles Unified district boundaries by this fall; at scale, these schools will serve nearly 4,000 students in grades K-12.
“I am excited to be carrying on ICEF’s mission as principal of the new Thurgood Marshall Middle School,” said Peter Watts, previously the Dean of Curriculum and Instruction at ICEF’s View Park Preparatory Charter Elementary School. “These generous grants will allow us to create unique opportunities to thousands of students in our community while preparing them to succeed academically at the highest levels.”
ICEF’s flagship school, View Park Preparatory Charter High School, graduated its first class in June. Of its 71 graduates, all are UC or CSU eligible, and 65 of them are headed to four-year universities this fall, with six students headed to junior colleges. This compares to a less than 40 percent graduation rate for nearby public high schools. Every one of the ICEF schools has scored in the top 10 percent of all public schools in the state as compared with public schools serving similar students.
NewSchools Venture Fund is a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm founded in 1998 by social entrepreneur Kim Smith and venture capitalists John Doerr and Brook Byers. Under the leadership of CEO Ted Mitchell â€“ a longtime civic leader in Los Angeles â€“ NewSchools works to transform K-12 public education by supporting visionary entrepreneurial organizations like ICEF and connecting their work with broader systems change. NewSchools has been a supporter of ICEF since 2004.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation was established in 1999 by the Dell family to improve outcomes for under-served children in a measurable way. Based in Austin, Texas, the Foundation funds programs that foster and improve education, health and safety for children around the world.
The Walton Family Foundation, founded by Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen, makes charitable contributions intended to â€œteach the value of personal engagement and involvement, the power of education in society and make an appreciable difference in communities.â€
About the Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF)
The Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) was founded in 1994 to transform the Los Angeles community by creating educational opportunities for its youth. ICEF currently operates five public charter schools with the goal of preparing its students to attend and compete academically at the top colleges and universities in the nation. ICEF’s first high school, View Park Preparatory Charter High School, graduated its first class this year, with 100 percent of its graduates prepared for and eligible to attend a four-year university. For more information about ICEF or its individual schools, please visit: http://www.icefla.org
Gary Larson, Larson Communications
Corri Tate Ravare, Senior Vice President, Inner City Education Foundation