National, Local Foundations Pledge $19 Million to Strengthen Newark Charter Schools

The newly established Newark Charter School Fund has announced grants totaling $19 million from seven foundations to start and support high-quality public charter schools in the city of Newark.

The Bill & Melinda Gates, Robertson, and Walton Family foundations and the Doris & Donald Fisher Fund each pledged $4 million to the initiative, while three New Jersey-based foundations — Prudential, Victoria, and the recently merged MCJ Amelior foundations — will each give $1 million to the fund. The grants are part of a campaign to raise $25 million to strengthen the Newark public charter school movement. The foundations also will work to find additional local and national funders to provide the remaining $6 million.

The initiative is designed to support the implementation of clear plans for improving student learning in the city's underperforming charters schools. NCSF will award its first grants during the spring and continue to provide funding for three to five years, with a focus on areas such as recruiting, training, and retaining outstanding teachers; creating new charter schools; and ensuring rigorous long-term evaluation of student outcomes in every charter school in the city.

"Newark's current charter schools have an impressive track record of delivering excellent results for the city's students," said Gates Foundation program director Jim Shelton. "This significant philanthropic pledge by a broad mix of local and national foundations provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the local charter school movement and ultimately ensure that more young people in Newark will graduate from high school and go on to college."

"Seven Foundations Pledge $19 Million to Strengthen Newark Public Charter Schools." Newark Charter School Fund Press Release 04/24/2008.