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Knowledge From the Field

Closing the Achievement Gap: Strategic Funding Attracts Co-Investment

Published: January 2008

Publisher(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

Author(s): Read, Tory

Funder(s): Annie E. Casey Foundation

View Report (8 pages; 860KB; PDF)

Area of Focus: Low-performing Schools

Abstract: This publication presents an in-depth look at Casey’s strategic early investment in the Indianapolis mayor’s charter school initiative. It includes case studies of Casey’s education grants to two other organizations and the co-investments these grants attracted. Casey proposed using program-related investments (PRIs) as a way to attract other resources and create a charter facilities loan fund. Catalyzed by the Foundation and the PRIs, an array of public, private, and nonprofit institutions came together to establish the loan fund.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

+ By 2007, 16 mayor-sponsored charter schools were up and running in Indianapolis, including five of the top 10 most improved schools in the county. Almost three-quarters of students served by initiative charter schools are children of color and 67 percent are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

+ Students gained ground on or stayed even with national peers in 89 percent of subjects and grades in 2007.

+ Casey seed money attracted major co-investment in school research.

+ Casey’s early investment enabled the charter initiative to develop high-quality authorizing and accountability systems that helped people in Indianapolis open charter schools that are getting results.

+ On a national level, several other mayors have expressed interest in the Indianapolis model.

Geographic Focus : Indianapolis, IN

Subjects/Keywords : Low-performing schools; accountability; program-related investment; PRI; achievement gap

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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