Education Funders

Leadership ISD earns transformational investment from Rainwater Foundation

Anti-racism efforts in Texas public education just got a big boost. Leadership ISD (LISD), which has focused its work on the intersection of racial justice and educational excellence in Dallas ISD, Houston ISD and Fort Worth ISD for the last 10 years, announces it has received a $1 million investment from the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to enhance those efforts.

“Racial equity matters in our schools, and policies that contribute to systemic racism must be reformed if our school systems are to achieve at high levels. LISD has changed how school boards and communities engage with public education in our urban districts and, increasingly, in surrounding districts. It is our hope that LISD will significantly improve opportunities and outcomes for students across the state,” said Jeremy Smith, Rainwater Charitable Foundation President. 

The Rainwater Charitable Foundation, founded in 1991 by the late Richard E. Rainwater, seeks out educational impact organizations with measurable success, strong leadership and the ability to scale.  Believing LISD was just such an organization, the Rainwater Charitable Foundation recently invested $1 million to deepen LISD’s racial equity impact on public education in Texas. 

Leadership ISD’s change approach includes:

  • Engagement and Advocacy Programs – Equipping diverse leaders with the access, knowledge and tools to demand and create meaningful change for students of color.
  • RE.A.L. (Racial Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership) Academies – Activating our communities to advance leaders, practices and policies that eliminate achievement and opportunity disparities so black and brown children can thrive.
  • Governance Training – Increasing the efficacy of school boards so that they focus on improving student outcomes and eliminating opportunity gaps through goal setting and policy. 

To date, LISD has equipped more than 2,000 racially diverse and conscious leaders to create change and trained upwards of 200 school board trustees on equitable governance focused on improving student outcomes and closing opportunity gaps. The organization has also mobilized communities to take thousands of actions to advocate for student-focused and anti-racist policies and practices, locally and statewide.

“We are honored to add the Rainwater Charitable Foundation to our circle of equity impact investors. This investment will increase the number of system-level policies and practices that improve student experiences and outcomes which will close racial disparities in our current service areas and accelerate our expansion into other districts around the state,” says Patricia Arvanitis, CEO of LISD.

About the author

Barbara Clark Galupi