The freedom to thrive is every person’s fundamental right. Access to a great education, regardless of race or ethnicity, is essential to that freedom. And yet, despite important areas of progress, the promise of an equitable educational opportunity remains unfulfilled.
For years, all our work at NewSchools has sought to combat racial inequities and open doors for students and leaders of color. We’ve seen breakthroughs, but it’s not enough — a reality made even clearer by the coronavirus epidemic. Black, Latino and Indigenous people have suffered disproportionately from COVID’s impact, from police violence, from threats to their jobs, housing, health and more. All of this is a result of America’s structural and institutional racism. All of it affects educational opportunity. We are committed to being part of the necessary change and we recognize the need to work on racial equity in a deeper way.
That’s why we’ve created a new Racial Equity investment area, which combines a broad focus with a new way of making funding decisions. We are open to ideas focused on addressing racial inequities in areas outside of our existing portfolios. The process for choosing ventures in this investment area will look different than it has in the past. There is rich, hard-won wisdom in communities of color––and we trust it. We’re ceding power. Instead of a traditional grantmaking approach, parents, students, and education innovators will decide how to allocate our Racial Equity funds. There are brilliant solutions born from the learned experiences of people of color. We don’t pretend to have all the answers; instead, we’ll help you bring powerful, imaginative ideas that reach toward a racially equitable education system — the bedrock of American antiracism.
Public education can become a powerful force for justice that extends to other systems. But it will only happen when people of color are owners, planners, and decision-makers guiding and remaking all levels of our educational system.
Communities of color must lead the way into a just future. We’re ready to follow, learn, partner, amplify, and support.