1 Overview The Charter School Growth Fund ( CSGF ) is a non-profit venture capital fund that invests in the nation s highest-performing charter school operators to dramatically expand their impact on underserved students. Founded by national philanthropists to transform K-12 education, CSGF has invested in over 30 charter school management organizations ( CMOs ) that represent some of the most innovative and successful public school networks in the United States. CSGF provides financing, business planning support, coaching and other resources to help its portfolio members build sustainable networks of high-performing schools. CSGF invests in charter operators that deliver outstanding academic results and are capable of achieving sustainability on public revenues. CSGF s grant and loan financing packages enable these organizations to expand their capacity to serve more underserved students, and extend their impact to more families and communities. In its first fund ( ), the Charter School Growth Fund supported the creation of over 105,000 new seats for low-income and minority students around the country. In late 2010, CSGF launched a second fund ( Fund II ) to make investments in new and existing CMOs from 2011 to 2015, with a target to help these groups serve an additional 225,000 students. CSGF has also developed a small number of complementary funds (state-focused funds in Tennessee and Florida, a facility loan fund and a new school start-up fund) that capitalize on its expertise and help further its mission to enable the growth of a set of high-performing CMOs nationally. Portfolio Highlights CSGF portfolio schools are closing the achievement gap, exponentially growing the number of high performing seats and preparing thousands of first generation students for college. The 30+ organizations in CSGF s portfolio have been selected from over 350 applicants. Approximately 75% of the students served are low-income and over 90% are minorities. Over 90% of CSGF s portfolio members enable students to outperform comparable district schools in math and reading; over 50% also outperform state averages in math and reading. The CMOs in CSGF s portfolio typically operate the highest performing schools in their regions or cities. The CMOs in our Fund I portfolio are enabling over 90% of their graduating classes to matriculate directly onto colleges and universities, even though most of them are the first generation in their family to do so. Portfolio members are typically growing student enrollment by 25-40% and have combined waiting lists of over 40,000 students. CSGF s portfolio members tripled the number of students served in the last five years. Over the next decade and based on their track record to date, they have the potential to increase dramatically the number of low-income students going to college in their communities.
2 CSGF Investment Principles As investors in these high performers over the past seven years, we have learned the importance of the following principles: The conviction that a great education is critical to providing opportunities for all Americans: We support breakthrough school models that demonstrate that it is possible to deliver outstanding academic opportunities for all students. We believe that providing these opportunities across income and ethnic lines is the key to our nation s future economic development. A deep belief in the power of great entrepreneurs: We invest early often in entrepreneurs who are operating just one or two schools. We work closely with these entrepreneurs to develop and execute their plans to scale and deepen their impact by effectively serving many more students. We are encouraged that many members of our portfolio are getting better as they get bigger, demonstrating that they are learning, innovating and building successful, scalable organizations. A relentless commitment to outstanding performance on a national scale: We have a very high bar and rigorous selection process, and invest in only a small number of charter school operators. We set clear milestones with our portfolio and measure them continuously. We believe that this approach is critical to our portfolio s success over the long term. A focus on high-quality growth and sustainability: We are driven by the belief that over time, portfolio organizations must be sustainable on public revenues, despite challenges based on varying operating conditions for charter school operators throughout this country. We work diligently and creatively to assist our portfolio in reaching this critical goal. Emphasis on character and values: Although our portfolio members utilize a variety of academic models and operating strategies, they share a deeply ingrained belief in the power and responsibility of developing the character of their students. For each portfolio member, there is an intense and meaningful focus on a set of shared values within their schools. These values are reinforced by cultural norms and celebrated in an authentic way, which we view as a critical building block for the organization to develop more highperforming schools. CSGF Funds National Fund I Members of CSGF s first fund (Fund I: ) were selected from nearly 350 applicants and include innovative and accomplished charter school networks, such as Uncommon Schools in New York/New Jersey/Massachusetts, YES Prep and IDEA Public Schools in Texas, DSST Public Schools in Denver, KIPP New Orleans in Louisiana and Rocketship Education in California. While many of them are well-known today, 70% of Fund I portfolio members were just starting to expand upon CSGF s initial investment, typically serving under 1,000 students in just one or two schools.
3 National Fund II Based on the success of Fund I, CSGF is raising and investing $160 million for Fund II to accelerate the growth of high-performing CMOs across the country through We are increasing the scope of our work by targeting investments in approximately 40 to 45 high-performing operators. CSGF Fund II investment strategies include expansion of existing, high-performing CMOs, development of new CMOs, and the creation of new blended learning models. Regional Funds In 2010, CSGF launched new regional funds that match public funding with private philanthropy to invest in starting and scaling high-performing CMOs for specific geographic areas. Thus far, CSGF has invested in the creation of two Regional Funds: CSGF-Tennessee, a $30M partnership with the State of Tennessee; and Florida- CSGF, a $30M partnership with the State of Florida. Collectively, these funds will spur the development of CMOs, enabling the creation of 30,000 seats of capacity in high-performing charter schools, targeted to serve students in the lowest performing existing schools. Facility Fund A $20 million CSGF Facility Fund provides short-term credit enhancement and low-interest rate loans to help charter school operators within our portfolio finance school facilities at more attractive rates and terms. New School Start-up Fund CSGF s $75M Start-Up Fund provides initial capital to fund the launch of individual new schools within our portfolio, with the potential to fund 300 new schools across the country over the next five years. The Start-Up Fund is a critical source of financing that enables CSGF s portfolio members to execute on high-quality growth plans while minimizing the complexity and uncertainty of accessing start-up funds for each new school. CSGF Investors and Board of Directors Our investors see CSGF as a trusted partner. We work closely with them to seek a much greater social return on their scarce philanthropic capital. Given our focus, track record and developed expertise in this area, we believe we offer a best-in-class approach to scaling the most outstanding charter schools effectively. Investors Anonymous (3) Anschutz Foundation Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation CARE Foundation of America, Inc. Carnegie Corporation of America Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation Daniels Fund Doris & Donald Fisher Fund Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation Hastings/Quillin Fund Hyde Family Foundation Jim Carell Joe C. Davis Foundation Kern Family Foundation Louis Calder Foundation Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation Michael and Susan Dell Foundation Orrin H. Ingram Fund Robertson Foundation State of Florida State of Tennessee Sunnyside Foundation Susquehanna Foundation The Windsong Trust Tommy and Julie Frist Walton Family Foundation William E. Simon Foundation
4 CSGF Board of Directors CSGF is governed by an active board of directors who are key investors in the fund. They are business leaders with deep venture capital and investment experience, as well as prominent members of the philanthropic community. The CSGF Board includes: John Fisher, Co-Chair: President of Pisces, Inc., a company he founded in 1992 as a family investment and management office for the Fisher family. Greg Penner, Co-Chair: General Partner at Madrone Capital Partners, an investment management firm. Allan Golston: President of U.S. Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Michael Grebe: President and CEO of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation. Grebe is the Chairman of the Philanthropy Roundtable. Mason Hawkins: Chairman and CEO of Southeastern Asset Management, Inc. James Rahn: President of the Kern Family Foundation. Kevin Hall: CSGF President & CEO. Before CSGF, Hall served as the Chief Operating Officer of The Broad Foundation. Vision for the Future In the next decade, the highest-performing CMOs have a tremendous opportunity to transform American education and ensure that demography is not destiny for our nation s students. By 2020, we believe that the following is possible: High-performing CMOs will graduate more than 80 percent of their students college-ready, regardless of family income. There will be over 200 high-performing CMO operators nationally, and collectively they will serve more than one million students. They will operate many schools that will set the pace both locally and nationally for achievement performance, particularly for low-income students. Several CMOs will serve percent of students in their cities in their regions. With this level of scale, they will be able to double the number of low-income students in their communities who graduate ready for college. The work of creating and scaling up high-performing CMOs encompasses what is special about our country the willingness and ability of a generation of new entrepreneurs to invent better ways to deliver value and enable students to realize their potential. In the next decade, we must change the trajectory of K-12 education in our country. CSGF believes that the dramatic expansion of extremely high-performing school operators will help raise the public s expectations of what is possible for all students. For more information, please contact Kevin Hall, CEO, at Charter School Growth Fund Broomfield, CO chartergrowthfund.org
6 Editorial Page October 2, =djkeyword#printmode School Reform Rainmakers John Walton had the right idea for education donors. It was a banner September for education philanthropy. Last week Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg appeared on Oprah Winfrey's TV show to announce his $100 million donation to Newark, New Jersey, public schools. And this Wednesday the Charter School Growth Fund launched a new $160 million fund that will finance the expansion of high-performing charter networks across the U.S. Since 1970, average per-pupil expenditures after inflation have more than doubled, yet test scores have remained flat. Today the Newark public school system spends some $22,000 per student, or more than twice the U.S. average, and the high school graduation rate is only 50%. Adding private money to this system would be a dreadful waste. So what excites us about these new donations is not the money per se but the reform agenda to which the dollars are tethered. Mr. Zuckerberg is entrusting his donation to Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a strong advocate of vouchers and school choice, as is New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. The Newark teachers contract expired over the summer, and Mr. Booker has spoken favorably of the recently negotiated teacher contract in Washington, D.C., where schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee used private donations as leverage to enact reforms that tie teacher pay to student progress. The new Charter School Growth initiative is supported by the Walton Family Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Doris and Donald Fisher Fund and others. It will largely bypass the politicians and directly finance the growth of charter school networks, such as KIPP and the Harlem Success Academy, that have a record of accomplishment serving students that traditional public schools have consistently failed. New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein recently wrote that "this year, at the Harlem Success Academy, a charter school in New York City, 88% of the students passed the state's reading test and 95% passed the math test, while comparable schools have pass rates of 35% in reading and 45% in math." The late John Walton's reform strategy was to concentrate charters and vouchers in certain areas until an alternative school system is essentially in place. The goal is to create an educational market for the urban poor. Instead of neighborhood schools taking enrollment for granted, they should have to compete for students, with parents able to make choices based on what's best for their children. More than 400,000 kids in the U.S. are on charter wait lists, and their parents will welcome this effort to replicate and expand the most successful charter school models. Like Walton and his fellow education philanthropists, they realize that it's not how much you spend but how you spend it.