Diverse Leaders

Diverse Leaders

Investing in leaders has long been a part of the NewSchools strategy. One of the biggest talent challenges over the next decade is diversifying education leadership. 


Our goal is for Black and Latino leaders to represent at least
40 percent of education leadership by 2020.


We believe education organizations will have greater impact when their leaders understand the values, experiences and needs of the students and families they serve. Diversifying education leadership is key to this goal.


Yet, according to “Unrealized Impact,” a groundbreaking study on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in education released by NewSchools, there is a large racial/ethnic gap in education (see figure below). The percentage of Black and Latino leaders in education, as compared to the percentage of Black and Latino students in our nation’s schools, remains unbalanced. This is especially troubling as the number of children of color in our public school system continues to climb.



We must diversify education leadership to include more people who share the background and life experience of the students we serve. And we must harness the richness of diverse leaders’ ideas and perspectives for the benefit of all students.


Our Strategy

The Diverse Leaders strategy is focused on advancing Black and Latino leadership in education. Our goal is for Black and Latino leaders to represent at least 40 percent of PreK-12 education leadership by 2020, mirroring the demographics of U.S. students today.

Click here to learn more.


Our Impact

  • Invested $4 million in 24 ventures working to advance Black and Latino leadership in education, 80 percent of which are Black- or Latino-led.
    • Our 24 ventures support more than 4,900 leaders who serve ~4.5 million students.
    • Ninety-two percent of the ~2,000 leaders served in 2017 alone were Black or Latino.
    • Our funding is catalytic. The portfolio as a whole has raised more than 6x the capital we invested in them.


  • Increased the percentage of Black and Latino entrepreneurs across NewSchools portfolios.
    • Thirty-one percent of the ventures we’ve invested in since 2015 are Black- or Latino-led. In 2017, 38 percent were Black or Latino.


  • Released “Unrealized Impact,” a groundbreaking study on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in education today.


  • Advanced our commitment to DEI internally.
    • Currently, 33 percent of staff, 57 percent of our leadership team, and 20 percent of our Board identify as Black or Latino. Fifty two percent of staff identify as a person of color.
    • Released a recent staff survey, which details our progress on diversity, equity and inclusion. The survey was administered as part of the Unrealized Impact project.
    • Documented our DEI journey in a Grantmakers for Education case study.


Thinking about advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in your organization?

Recognizing that leaders want to advance DEI initiatives, but often struggle with how to get started or what to focus on, we enlisted Catalyst:Ed to create the “DEI Expert Hub.” The DEI Expert Hub informs and connects leaders of schools, school systems, nonprofits, funders, and ed tech companies with experts who bring deep experience assessing, designing and implementing diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in education organizations.

Learn more and get started >>

Unrealized Impact: Groundbreaking Study on Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Education

How diverse, equitable and inclusive is the education sector? In partnership with the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Raikes Foundation, Schusterman Family Foundation and Walton Family Foundation, we commissioned a study of more than 200 organizations and received responses from nearly 5,000 individuals. This is the most comprehensive data on the state of diversity, equity and inclusion in the field.

Read the full report>>


Meet the Team

Deborah McGriff | Frances Messano | Zeina Fayyaz Kim | Elise Smith


Please email us with any questions you might have. You can also sign up to receive updates on our Diverse Leaders work, including upcoming funding opportunities.