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NewSchools Invent

Grants to USA Nonprofits to Develop Innovative
PreK-12 Public Schools for the Underserved

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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NewSchools Venture Fund

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Grants to USA nonprofits for financial, management, and community relations support to develop innovative PreK-12 public schools in underserved communities. Applicants should apply with a named school leadership team that will lead the design work. The funding source invests in teams of educators who want to launch new, innovative public schools in school districts or charter networks that prepare young people to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans.

NewSchools Invent provides support for schools in two stages. The first stage provides grant funding and management assistance to teams during the critical planning period of up to 14 months before school launch. The second stage provides additional grant funding and assistance for a school’s launch and first two to three years of operation.

NewSchools Invent is designed for teams of educators who are committed to launching an innovative school and would benefit from additional support. The goal is to accelerate a team’s progress toward a successful launch by providing assistance in three key areas:

1. Financial Support: Planning grants of $100,000 to $200,000 over 6-14 months. At the end of the planning phase, teams may apply for an investment that would support their first two to three years of operation.
2. Community of Practice: Participation in an active community of practice to build relationships with and learn from peer organizations from across the country.
3. Management Assistance: Direct support from the NewSchools Venture team, participation in research efforts to inform practice, and connections to external experts (e.g. on student recruitment, fundraising, board development).

For Fall 2017, the primary focus is on new schools that will open in Fall 2019.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182499

Estimated Size of Grant:

1st stage: $100,000 to $200,000
2nd stage: Teams may apply for an investment that would support their first two to three years of operation.

Term of Contract:

1st stage: 6-14 months
2nd stage: 2-3 years

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be considered for an Invent investment, applicants must:
- Meet all six Investment Criteria (see below);
- Plan to launch their first or second district or charter or public school in 2019;
- Enroll students within the PreK-12 grade span on a full-time basis; and
- Be eligible to receive public funding.

In addition, charter applicants must:
- Have or be working toward 501c3 non-profit status;
- Have an approved charter or be on track toward securing one; and
- Have a desire to continue opening new schools (become a CMO).

In addition, district school applicants must:
- Have a formal letter of endorsement from the board and superintendent (or equivalent);
- Have or be working toward an agreement with the district office that ensures the school will have necessary facilities, funding and academic and operational autonomies to support the implementation of their school design plan; and
- Have ideally identified key members of the school leadership team.

Investment Criteria:

First, NewSchools Venture Fund seeks mission-driven, entrepreneurial leaders who show passion, personal integrity, and the ability to achieve outstanding results. However, they cannot do this work alone, and must also recruit a diverse leadership team and board with the competencies and experiences necessary to design and launch an innovative public school.

Team Expectations

Engage the communities they aim to serve: The team must focus their efforts on communities who have been traditionally underserved, and a significant percentage of the students they serve must have needs unmet by existing options. Teams are expected to engage students, families and community members early and often to inform all aspects of design and planning.

Reimagine the student experience: Teams should embrace an expanded definition of student success, balancing rigorous academic expectations with the mindsets, skills and habits needed for success in life. Specific priorities:
- Students feel ownership of their learning and are motivated to succeed. Learning experiences are tailored to each student's individual needs, skills and interests.
- Students are held to high expectations. They set short- and long-term learning goals and, with help from their teachers, create plans for how they might reach them.
- Students have the opportunity to build deep, trusting, sustained relationships with each other, their teachers and other adults who care about them.
- Students feel they belong, can find their voices and see themselves reflected in their learning. What they are learning reflects their culture and supports them in developing their own sense of identity. Students also deepen their understanding of other cultures and people who do not share their background.
- The design optimizes time, pace, instructional methods and outside experiences to enrich student learning and ensure teachers' time is spent where it matters most.
- Technology supports learning, from instructional software that helps students master academic content, to platforms that help teachers, students and families work together to manage personalized learning plans and collaborative projects.

Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion:
Teams that show a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion are better equipped to meet the needs of the students and communities they serve. The Foundation seeks teams that embrace this commitment and are developing comprehensive strategies to prioritize it in their schools. This includes recruiting racially and ethnically diverse board members, leadership teams and staff, reflecting the student population. In addition, teams should focus on affirming the identity of staff and students, addressing inequities in access and achievement and confronting issues of race, class and privilege.

Plan appropriately and execute effectively: Teams must be able to turn their vision into reality. The funding source looks for evidence of a comprehensive plan that includes all relevant milestones needed for a successful school launch.

Aspire to expand their impact beyond a single school: While NewSchools Venture Fund support is initially focused on helping teams to launch one innovative new school, the long-term goal at NewSchools is to significantly reimagine the entire PreK-12 education system.

Pre-Application Information:

The selection process includes three phases. Qualified applicants will be invited to progress through each stage.


- Stage I Application: Due January 12, 2018
- Stage II Application – Due February 2018
- Interview: Conversations with the NewSchools Invent team about the proposed school
- Decisions will be announced in April 2018.
- The First Community of Practice Meeting at NewSchools Summit will be on May 7-9, 2018.

Eligibility Guidelines:

NewSchools Venture Fund prefers that district applicants apply with a named school leadership team that will lead the design work and will review all applications on a rolling basis.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Stage 1 Application Portal:

Questions about Stage I Application:

NewSchools Venture Fund
616 Franklin Street, Second Floor
Oakland, CA 94612
(T) 415.615.6860
(F) 415.615.6861

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming