The Walton Family Foundation has announced a $250 million initiative to help charter schools access the capital needed to build and expand their facilities.
The Building Equity Initiative will provide low-interest loans to national and regional not-for-profit lenders to provide high-quality charter schools with financing to create or expand existing facilities. To be managed by Civic Builders, a nonprofit charter facilities developer, the initiative also aims to create a bigger network of real estate experts, lenders, financiers, and technical assistance providers that charter schools can turn to when looking to expand.
With the goal of serving at least two hundred and fifty thousand additional students nationwide by 2027, the effort initially will focus on high-need neighborhoods in seventeen cities — Atlanta, Boston, Camden, Denver, Houston, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, New York City, Oakland, Oklahoma City, San Antonio, Tulsa, and Washington, D.C.
"Before opening their doors, charter schools must find suitable and affordable spaces where teachers can teach and children can learn," said Marc Sternberg, director of K-12 education program at the Walton Family Foundation, which pledged earlier this year to invest $1 billion in charter school expansion. "In many cities, this is the biggest barrier to creating high-quality educational options for children and families. The Building Equity Initiative intends to level the capital and policy barriers that prevent charter schools from growing to meet demand from families and communities."