Partners For Developing Futures ("Partners") is a nonprofit social venture investment fund that primarily invests in high-potential, early-stage minority-led charter schools and charter school networks that educate underserved students.
A Vital Opportunity
Among the numerous challenges confronting public education, none is more important than closing the achievement gap for underserved students and providing high-quality education options for an ever increasingly diverse student population. Public charter schools are uniquely positioned to meet these challenges - particularly those run by entrepreneurial leaders who reflect the racial/ethnic background of the student body and have strong ties to the communities they serve. Partners’ work is grounded in a fundamental belief that leaders of color are critical to improving educational outcomes for students in high poverty urban and rural areas. These leaders possess the qualities needed to lead exceptional schools that are the cornerstone of empowered communities.
There are too few early-stage funding initiatives in the charter school sector to help Partners’ prototypical leader open new schools and establish a solid foundation for success. This dearth of support is even more acute for minority entrepreneurs who often lack access to the needed capital, networks, and other essential resources. These leaders need advocacy and real time support to develop their personal agency and gain access to meaningful training and peer networks while in the midst of executing their school plans. We believe that, given the opportunity, these exceptional visionaries bring the commitment and leadership that are vitally needed to accelerate and expand the creation of innovative, inspiring, and high achieving public schools for underserved students.
Partners is committed to improving the education of underserved students across the United States by investing in minority leaders and incubating minority-led, high quality charter schools and charter school networks. Partners fills a need in the market by cultivating and supporting a pipeline of new talented leaders of color and providing critically important seed capital and other early stage mentorship and supports (including coaching, technical assistance, and access to a network of peers and experts). Partners is uniquely positioned to shine a spotlight on high performing charter schools founded by leaders of color and become the premier launching pad for those who will bring a new voice and diverse perspective to the movement.
Partners for Developing Futures will transform K-12 education by identifying, mentoring and investing in high-impact leaders of color to open and grow charter schools of excellence in underserved communities across the United States. These leaders of color will not only create charter schools that close the academic achievement gap but will also influence and drive the national education reform agenda. Leaders mentored and supported through the Partners pipeline will exemplify and promote excellence, accountability, choice, and local control in public education.
Partners’ mission is to efficiently identify, recruit, and support people of color in creating and growing high-quality charter schools and charter school networks. Partners is designed to promote minority leadership, particularly founders, chief executive officers (CEOs), or executive directors, who control and operate high-quality charter schools and networks and who are committed to achieving educational excellence. By providing capital and strategic support early in their organization’s development and by offering ongoing mentorship during and beyond the first four years of operation, Partners will increase the number of high-performing charter schools and charter school networks led by people of color, thereby cultivating diverse perspectives and voices within the movement. Partners will continue to primarily invest in early-stage entrepreneurs of color who are launching new charter schools or developing a network of charter schools. Over the last several years we have learned that access to capital is only the first step in ensuring the success of leaders of color in the sector. Moving forward we propose to continue making financial investments in leaders and schools, and additionally Partners will develop the capacity and cultivate the agency of its entrepreneurs by providing mentorship and strategic supports. In doing so, Partners addresses a distinct need to actively recruit and support more leaders of color in the charter school sector while also creating more quality public education options for underserved students.