NewSchools Announces Funding to Diversify the PreK-12 Teaching Profession

June 18, 2019

Initial $3.5 million investment launches with support from the Walton Family Foundation

OAKLAND, CA – June 18, 2019 –NewSchools Venture Fund, with financial support from the Walton Family Foundation, today announced the launch of a new $3.5 million competitive funding opportunity to diversify the PreK-12 teaching profession.

Up to 14 concepts or early-stage organizations with bold ideas to enhance the recruitment, development and retention of underrepresented teachers (including Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American/Alaskan Native teachers) will be eligible for $200,000 on average in funding. This funding opportunity will complement existing and ongoing work at both NewSchools Venture Fund and the Walton Family Foundation aimed at supporting diverse schoolteachers and leaders.

A significant research base shows greater teacher diversity within a school yields higher expectationslower discipline referral rates and better academic results for all students, especially students of color.  Yet, less than 1 in 5 educators identify as people of color, while students of color compose more than 50% of the entire K-12 student population.

Through the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, NewSchools will support innovative strategies and programs to advance educator diversity, including recruiting new teachers of color to the field and supporting efforts to retain existing educators. The funded initiatives will affect teacher pipelines, hiring practices, policy development and classroom instruction. The outcomes of the funded initiatives will be shared broadly with educators, policymakers and leaders across the country, enabling others to learn from successful approaches that support great teachers and meaningful learning.

“Our schools and students thrive when educators reflect the rich diversity of our country. Achieving this requires a deeper commitment and greater effort to support educators from all backgrounds,” said Walton Family Foundation board member Alice L. Walton.

“Today’s students are the most racially diverse in the history of this country and it’s time to have teachers who match that diversity,” said NewSchools Venture Fund senior managing partner Frances Messano. “Nearly four years ago, NewSchools launched ‘Diverse Leaders,’ an investment portfolio to significantly increase the number of Black and Latino leaders in education. As that work has matured, we expanded our strategy to include diverse teachers as well. We are eager to undertake a new, targeted effort focused on diversifying the teaching workforce with support from the Walton Family Foundation.”

Through an application and interview process, potential applicants will demonstrate how their organization or initiative will diversify the U.S. PreK-12 teaching workforce, differ from existing approaches and rely on experience, research or best practices to ensure success. Applications will be reviewed by NewSchools and a select panel of subject-area experts.

To strengthen the national network of organizations and individuals committed to this work, the selected innovators will engage and collaborate with each other. Organizations will join a cohort that participates in in-person convenings. They will also benefit from management assistance, including access to NewSchools’ network of internal experts and external partners who can help build organizational capacity and lend expertise.

NewSchools and the Walton Family Foundation each have a strong commitment to diversity in education. This funding opportunity builds on existing work at both organizations.

Investing in leadership has always been an important factor in reimagining education and has long been a part of the NewSchools strategy. Diverse leadership is a priority in the organization’s Innovative Public Schools and Ed Tech investment areas. NewSchools also has a dedicated investment area, Diverse Leaders, to invest in organizations that recruit and support Black and Latino talent or build the capacity of education organizations to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The Walton Family Foundation is committed to efforts that recruit, support and retain educators from diverse backgrounds because students, schools and communities are stronger when more teachers represent the students they serve. Grantees leading innovative, hands-on training, designing contemporary approaches to professional advancement, creating mentorship opportunities and building opportunities for peers across schools and systems to collaborate are showing what’s possible. More about the Walton Family Foundation’s grants to educators can be found here.

About NewSchools Venture Fund
NewSchools is a nonprofit venture philanthropy that invests in promising teams of educators and innovators with the vision and skills to reimagine learning. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the students, educators and schools they serve. We are committed to helping students finish high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investing, management assistance, network building and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PreK-12 education.

To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. The children and grandchildren of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives.

To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.