The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the Hastings Fund, and Education Cities have announced the launch of a new nonprofit dedicated to advancing education reform and expanding opportunity for all children in the United States.
With the goal of increasing access to high-quality public education, the City Fund will expand on the two foundations' support for efforts to improve district and charter schools in cities such as Denver, New Orleans, and Washington, D.C., by bringing together staff from the three organizations as well as expert practitioners from the state, district, charter, and nonprofit sectors to work with cities interested in learning from past successes; tailor solutions to their communities, as Indianapolis and Camden, New Jersey, have done; and partner with researchers to measure whether public education outcomes improve for all children in the city. LJAF and the Hastings Fund will continue to support the City Fund as anchor donors.
"The cities we have supported have made things better in their own way, but several commonalities stand out," wrote Neerav Kingsland, CEO of the Hastings Fund and a senior fellow at LJAF, in a blog post. "[E]ach city increased the number of public schools that are governed by nonprofit organizations; each city created an easy to use enrollment system that helps families find a great public school for their children; and each city provides families with transparent information about public school quality. We believe these strategies hold promise."
According to Chalkbeat, the fund has raised $200 million to promote its school "portfolio model."
"[C]ities across the country are constantly innovating, and when a few cities do something that seems to be working, philanthropy can help shine a light on these local successes," wrote Kingsland. "If other cities are interested, philanthropy can help test these breakthroughs at a little larger scale."
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