Investing in Cities

A focused approach for the greatest impact

We are investing in cities where conditions support system-wide educational improvement and where we can have the greatest impact. 

These include: Atlanta, Boston, Camden, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, San Antonio and Washington, D.C. 

We are also supporting state-level policy work in Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. 

City-level investments include grants focused on:


Building and sustaining high-quality schools that serve students’ diverse needs and address communities’ priorities in each city. We have a three-sector approach: supporting charter schools that promise to provide high quality options, partnering with school districts to create autonomous schools of choice in the conventional district managed construct, and supporting private schools targeting low-income students, that have access to public dollars and are prepared to be transparent and held accountable for student performance.


Recruiting and training more effective teachers and school leaders.

Enabling Choice

Developing systems that allow easy access to choice options, whether in charter, traditional public or in private schools (e.g., supporting the implementation of open enrollment platforms, student transportation systems, money following the child to the school of choice, good information for parents on school performance, etc.).


Advocating for favorable policies that support the school choice environment (e.g., family organizing and mobilizing).

Community Support

Organizing, communicating and engaging directly with people who live and work in cities to understand their needs and build authentic community partnerships. Forming partnerships with community-based organizations, local religious leaders, parents and local leaders directly is vitally important in ensuring that the foundation is supporting efforts that meet local needs.

Key grantees include:

  • National organizations, including Memphis Lift, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the Alliance for School Choice, GreatSchools and Black Alliance for Educational Options
  • Local organizations, including the Urban League of Greater New Orleans, the California Charter School Association, Colorado Succeeds and Friends of Choice in Urban Schools in Washington, D.C.
  • New school startups in cities — each year, the foundation gives startup grants to dozens of schools that promise to create high-quality options for disadvantaged students.