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A group of young students smiling in front of cubbies.

NewSchools: Reimagining Education for Black and Latino Students

Project Overview

Every child deserves the chance to attend a school where they can learn at their best. Yet too many children — especially those who are Black, Latino, or from low-income backgrounds— are not getting the instruction and support they need to thrive in school and beyond.

NewSchools Venture Fund is changing the odds for students across the United States by investing in teams engaged in the planning and the launch of innovative public schools. These schools help students develop the knowledge, mindsets, habits, and skills that prepare them for success as young adults. To support schools in being more responsive to their students’ experiences in and out of the classroom, NewSchools also invests in powerful learning solutions and programs that empower parents and increase the number of Black and Latino educators and leaders in public schools.

Through these efforts, NewSchools and its partners are reimagining education and creating better learning opportunities for all students to realize their future ambitions.

Student in a mask sitting at desk in front of laptop pointing

We want to be a different kind of funder, one that is diverse in leadership, focused on the future, and working in trusted partnership with innovators across education to create better outcomes for kids.

Frances Messano, President, NewSchools Venture Fund

How it Helps

By investing in teams with innovative designs for schools, NewSchools is creating new pathways to opportunity, particularly for Black and Latino students and children from low-income backgrounds.

Since 2015, NewSchools has supported more than 100 teams in designing and creating district and charter schools across the country. These schools will serve 54,000 students when fully enrolled, and 73% of students currently enrolled are Black or Latino. At these schools, educators work hard to maintain a strong school culture where students feel safe and believe in their abilities. The focus is not solely on academics, but also on helping students thrive socially and emotionally. To help educators reimagine curricula, assessments, and learning approaches that better nurture students’ success, NewSchools offers grants to diverse innovators of powerful learning solutions.

NewSchools helps to dismantle racial inequities in education and improve outcomes for students of color by amplifying the voices of people closest to the work. Its racial equity investments and grantmaking approach support promising ideas to create systematic change in education. A group of parents, students, and education innovators decide which ideas to fund. In the first year of this program, NewSchools received over 300 applications, all from leaders of color and nearly all first-time applicants.

NewSchools also supports efforts to strengthen and diversify the education leadership and teaching force so it reflects the nation’s increasingly diverse student body. To do this, the organization invests in ventures that support 26,000 education leaders, 71% of whom are Black or Latino, and who collectively serve 27 million students. Research shows that these diversity efforts not only support individual leaders but improve student outcomes, spur innovation, and strengthen organizations.

By supporting diverse innovators with bold ideas, NewSchools is helping to reimagine public education so that all students can lead lives of choice and opportunity.

Foundation Project Lead