Leading at the Edge: A Story 25 Years in the Making 

May 9, 2023

By Danielle Kristine Toussaint, Chief External Affairs Officer

NewSchools is in good company this year among peers in philanthropy and education who are celebrating milestone anniversaries or signaling deeper shifts in their strategy by announcing brand refreshes. Anniversaries are unremarkable, sentimental events, except in their unique power to spark a special kind of reflection and collective remembering. Such an exercise can re-energize the people who have made history together and give them renewed hope and direction for the future. 

Leading up to our 25th anniversary year, we embarked on a brand refresh to clarify our vision for impact and capture the essence of our story. In the process, we were reminded of NewSchools’ founding premise that venture philanthropy could catalyze a better education system. And that by doing so, we could keep the promise of public education to unlock opportunity for all students. 

A new brand story

NewSchools has always been at the leading edge. We are the first venture philanthropy focused on K-12 education. We believe that philanthropy can power a better future for all students, not just a chosen few. As an intermediary, we bridge the gap between those with capital and those with the courage to put that capital to work on the frontlines of education. We have been unwavering in our focus, despite increasing skepticism and fatigue, talent exodus, and the redirection of dollars toward other pressing social issues. We play the long game because the future we’re investing in is one where all students can grow into the leaders and problem solvers that our world truly needs. 

We are rewriting the rules of education and philanthropy — who gets to lead, who’s invited to collaborate, and whose dreams have a shot at coming true. In service of this big vision, we have made a lot of big bets in the past 25 years. We have led the way toward an expanded definition of student success and a more equitable approach to funding that drives exceptional outcomes for students. And, we continue to stand up for the vast, untapped genius in innovators of color because we need the best ideas from everyone. 

Reimagining education is a generational endeavor. This is bigger than any one organization, and we have proven there is more for everyone when we don’t give in to zero-sum thinking, when we refuse to get into petty fights that force us to choose ideology over the best interests of our kids. Our story is 25 years in the making, and it’s not nearly done. We’ll keep writing it together as we build broader and better coalitions in the years ahead.  

A new visual identity

Change is less about what we know and more about what we feel. We need people to feel motivated to do what’s right for all students, even when it’s hard. Design has a unique power to reach the heart and spur action. 

That’s why we partnered with the team at Hyperakt to translate our brand story into a powerful and emotive visual identity. This week, we are previewing our new brand in New Orleans at a special 25th Anniversary Community of Practice gathering with over 400 venture leaders and partners. It felt fitting to share it with them first, as the new brand puts the emphasis on the leaders, educators, and students who are at the center of our work. 

From the fresh, vibrant color palette and the new dimensional pathway to our new logo and photography style, every creative decision was purposeful. We look forward to sharing more with you in the coming weeks, including our new website, which we hope will inspire you to innovate at the intersections, explore, and lead at the edge.