Even in normal times, raising money from philanthropy for a new organization or innovative idea is an arduous and intimidating process. But things aren’t normal right now, and for many innovators, fundraising feels harder than ever. Seeking funding comes with the expectation that an individual must jump through hoops to get introduced to the right people, go to great lengths to prove they are capable leaders, and compile lots of evidence of impact, sometimes before receiving their first dollar of investment.
People of color face additional barriers when raising capital. They are often perceived as a riskier investment, which means they get subjected to a higher level of scrutiny. Their chances of success are lower when their ideas don’t fit into funder strategies or align with conventional wisdom. Some of our most promising education entrepreneurs give up on their dreams before their ideas ever see the light of day. All of this is fixable. Just like processes can be designed to keep people out, we can redesign them to let people in.
Our investment team at NewSchools made a commitment to listen more deeply and act on what we learned. Over the years we’ve heard feedback from applicants that it can be hard navigating our different funding opportunities. Applicants are eager to share their ideas with us but don’t always know how to do it.
This year will be different, and we are excited to announce that in 2022, we are piloting a more streamlined funding process. Rather than having a funding opportunity for each of our investment areas, we will have one main funding opportunity that will be open from February 15 to March 28, 2022. We’ll do the work internally to figure out how each idea fits best with our strategy — all you have to do is share a powerful idea with us.
We plan to invest close to $40 million this year across all our investment areas to create a more equitable education system — $15 million alone through this funding opportunity. We will provide unrestricted funding and our typical grants range from $150,000 to $250,000. We are hopeful that the changes we’ve made will improve the applicant experience. You can be certain that whatever this year brings, we will keep listening and learning together.
Learn more about the investment areas included in this funding opportunity — Learning Solutions, Diverse Leaders, Racial Equity and the EDge Fund — and take this quiz to determine if you are eligible before applying.
Once you’re ready, please share your idea with us.