NewSchools Venture Fund was built to enable a new type of philanthropic support for innovative ventures serving all children—especially those in underserved communities— within public education.
In 1998, social entrepreneur Kim Smith and venture capitalists John Doerr and Brook Byers founded NewSchools Venture Fund. Each had witnessed the impact of visionary entrepreneurs to create dramatic change in other sectors, such as technology. Each believed that innovative teams of educators and education entrepreneurs could similarly bring about much-needed change in public education. They shared the desire to offer these innovators access to both early-stage capital and strategic, hands-on support to start and grow their organizations.
In their 20-plus years, NSVF has invested nearly $345 million in over 1,000 education innovators. Since 2015, these investments have been focused in three areas: innovative public schools, diverse leaders, and education technology. These ventures have started new public schools that serve 54,000 students at full enrollment, implemented new models at existing schools that serve 124,000 students, created education technologies reaching more than 46 million new students, and worked to close the racial leadership gap serving 26,000 Black and Latino educators and leaders. The schools have delivered an extra half-year of learning for their students compared to their counterparts.
The coronavirus pandemic both exposed and increased the need for change in education, as the nation has reckoned with its long and unresolved legacy of racism. Amid this rapidly and dramatically shifting context, we developed a new strategy aimed at accelerating the progress we’re already seeing, while supporting new learning approaches emerging during this pandemic and opening the doors wider to ideas that will advance racial equity and justice.
NSVF believes the genius to create an equitable education system already exists in our nation, in our communities, and that new ideas must have the support they need to grow. That’s why NewSchools offers not just funding, but partnership and support, to innovators who seek to build strong schools and organizations dedicated to a more just future in education. To get there, NSVF supports entrepreneurs in four investment areas: Innovative Public Schools, Learning Solutions, Diverse Leaders and Racial Equity – with special enthusiasm about helping Black and Latino innovators bring their ideas and organizations to fruition.
As a nonprofit venture philanthropy, NSVF uses charitable donations to support teams of educators, innovators and parent leaders who are reimagining public education to give all students — particularly those from underserved communities — a better opportunity to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. They seek out promising innovators from around the country, and invest in those with the greatest potential to improve student learning and make a positive impact. They support them with management assistance and customized resources to help them achieve their missions more quickly and with higher quality.
The 2023 funding cycle is now open and applications are due by March 29th.
Through this opportunity, NewSchools will provide $15 million in funding to new and early stage ventures focused on creating a more excellent and equitable PK-12 education system.
Selected ventures receive a one-year, unrestricted grant between $150,000 and $250,000. In addition, NSVF provides management assistance to help organizations achieve their impact and sustainability goals, including joining a national community of practice with other visionary leaders.
Learn more about their specific investment areas and unique application process here.