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Walton Family Foundation Announces Efforts to Increase Number of Mixed Income Public Charter Schools in NYC

September 12, 2017
$2.2 million investment will increase access to intentionally diverse public schools for 2,400 students

NEW YORK, NY – Today, the Walton Family Foundation announced it will invest $2.2 million to increase integration through the growth of mixed income public charter schools in New York City over the next two years. These resources will allow 2,400 additional students to attend schools combatting segregation by intentionally recruiting and serving a diverse student body. These grants will directly support educators and leaders as they launch these schools.

“We are excited to help educators and leaders on the front lines of solving one of today’s most pressing education challenges,” said Walton Family Foundation K-12 Education Director Marc Sternberg. “Every child deserves access to a high-quality education, and to reach this goal we must fuel the growth of all types of schools.”

Students who attend mixed income schools have higher test scores, are more likely to enroll in college and are less likely than peers in schools with similar poverty levels to drop out of college. Preliminary research on 21 mixed income charter schools from Teachers College at Columbia University found that students in many of these schools outperform their traditional public school peers in English and math.

In addition to fueling the growth of mixed income charter schools, the Foundation will support research to better understand practices that contribute to student success. Researchers at The Century Foundation and a separate team from Teachers College at Columbia University and Temple University will expand the body of evidence on these schools. Specifically, researchers from Columbia and Temple University will conduct the first-ever peer-reviewed study of student outcomes of intentionally diverse charter schools.

“From our preliminary findings we know that diverse by design charter schools prioritize integration and instruction is mostly personalized to student needs,” said Priscilla Wohlstetter, distinguished research professor at Teachers College, Columbia University. “This new body of research will allow us to identify programs, policies and practices that allow these schools to succeed. By researching and sharing this information, we hope to inform the efforts of educators and leaders in other schools.”

Additional recent grants from the Foundation will help train the next generation of educators and leaders for mixed income charter schools across the nation. A grant to the Reimaginging Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education will prepare 10 future leaders to start and sustain diverse schools and systems, as well as organizations that support them. Foundation support of NewSchools Venture Fund, 4.0 Schools and the Diverse Charter Schools Coalition also directly helps launch more mixed income charter schools.

Through its Startup Grant Program, the Walton Family Foundation has supported the launch of more than 2,200 charter schools across the country. To date, Foundation grants have helped more than 100 charter schools open their doors to serve students in New York City. The Foundation will continue to support a variety of school models, and hopes to incentivize more leaders and educators to design intentionally diverse schools.

Recent research from Temple University found that, when traditional public schools are located closer to a charter school in New York City, their students have increased reading and math test scores and engagement rates. Nearby schools are also safer and hold fewer students back a grade. Student testing gains were even more significant when traditional public schools were located in the same building as charter schools.

Educators and leaders interested in launching schools designed to serve a diverse student population should visit


About the Walton Family Foundation

For nearly three decades, the Walton Family Foundation has continued the philanthropic vision begun by Sam and Helen Walton. Their legacy is more important than ever as the foundation accelerates efforts to improve K-12 education for all students in America, to protect rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and to give back to the region that first gave Sam and Helen Walton opportunity. In 2016, the Walton Family Foundation awarded grants totaling more than $454 million. Learn more at