Venture Philanthropy Partners: Investing in Social Change.


VPP Invests $5.5 Million in KIPP DC Growth

 Supports expansion that will more than double the number of students served by high performing college prep school system

(Washington, DC, August 2, 2010) Venture Philanthropy Partners (VPP) and KIPP DC  announced today VPP’s $5.5 million investment over four years to support KIPP DC in realizing its vision to build and sustain a high performing school system to help the District of Columbia’s underserved students succeed in high school, college, and the competitive world beyond.  KIPP DC is part of the nationally-acclaimed Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP), a network of free open-enrollment college preparatory public schools in under-resourced communities throughout the United States.

The VPP investment, the largest in its 10-year history, will support KIPP DC’s efforts to expand from seven schools serving approximately 1,550 students to ten schools serving at least 3,400 students by 2015.  At scale, the KIPP DC system will include, at a minimum, three early childhood schools, three elementary schools, three middle schools; and one high school, with all but three of the schools located in Wards 7 and 8 and the remaining three schools located in Ward 2.

“KIPP DC has proven that it can help students from underserved communities achieve significant academic success.  VPP’s investment in KIPP DC is not just about adding more schools, but about helping to create a school network that can continue to deliver the highest academic results for all of its students.  KIPP DC provides an excellent investment opportunity based on KIPP DC’s current scale, history of student success, strong leadership, proven model, bold aspirations, and the potential, both directly and by example, to raise expectations of public education in underserved communities.  All of these factors make KIPP DC an exciting investment opportunity for VPP,” said Carol Thompson Cole, President and CEO of Venture Philanthropy Partners.

VPP’s investment will also help KIPP DC expand community  and parent outreach; build the management and financial support structure it needs for a much larger system; and support efforts to ensure that KIPP DC can recruit and retain high quality teachers efficiently and at the scale required for future growth.  The investment will allow KIPP DC to enhance its use of data, evaluation, and performance management systems to continuously monitor and improve its performance.

KIPP DC began in 2001 with the establishment of KEY Academy in the basement of a church in Anacostia.  Under the leadership of Susan Schaeffler, KIPP DC’s founding principal and CEO, and Allison Fansler, KIPP DC’s President and COO, KIPP DC has grown from 80 students in one school to over 1,500 in seven schools. DC’s Anacostia, Shaw/Petworth, and Marshall Heights neighborhoods are home to KIPP DC’s three campuses, which will eventually serve more than 3,400 students. For the last seven years KEY Academy was the highest-performing public middle school in the District, according to the DC-CAS, and a recent study from Mathematica showed that KIPP middle school students outperform their peers throughout the country.

 “This exciting partnership with VPP represents a new chapter for KIPP DC,” said Schaeffler. “With VPP’s support, KIPP DC will expand to serve more than 3,400 students; train, recruit and retain the most effective teachers in the city; and partner with local organizations and community members to increase the opportunities of those most underserved in DC. VPP’s investment in KIPP DC spells out change and opportunity for thousands of students, families and educators in our nation’s capital, and we are thrilled to get started on the next phase of our growth.”

About VPP
Venture Philanthropy Partners is a nonprofit philanthropic investment organization that helps great leaders grow promising programs to serve more children and youth of low-income families. It concentrates investments of money, expertise, and leverage to improve lives and boost the opportunities for children and youth in the National Capital Region.  VPP also cultivates an engaged donor community to generate funding and influence in support of these institutions and of social change.

KIPP DC is the highest performing network of college-preparatory public charter schools in Washington D.C. All KIPP DC schools are tuition-free, open enrollment schools, and actively recruit and serve students in the city's most under-resourced communities. Almost 100% of the student body is African American, and more than 80% qualify for the federal free or reduced-price lunch program. At KIPP DC, there are no shortcuts – outstanding educators and staff, more time in school, a rigorous college preparatory-curriculum, and a strong culture of achievement and support help our students make significant academic gains and continue to excel in high school and college. The KIPP DC community holds one another to high standards, confident that success can be achieved by all, regardless of challenging circumstances, through team work, tenacity and focused dedication.