Equitable Facilities Fund secures $300 million to finance Black schools leaders

ImpactAlpha Editor

Roodgally Senatus

ImpactAlpha, December 13 — Equitable Facilities Fund, a New York-based nonprofit social impact fund, has since 2018 deployed $585 million in low-cost and long-term facility loans to 120 public charter schools in low-income communities. Less than a quarter of that capital has gone to schools led by a person of color.

“Investing in communities of color can no longer be something we do as part of our business plan, it has to be our business plan,” EFF founder Anand Kesavan told ImpactAlpha.

The fund is looking to deploy $100 million a year for five years to public charter school leaders of color who can impact 50,000 students in underserved communities. 

Innovative finance

EFF’s “blended philanthropy” combines donor funds with low-cost debt to fund the loans, which range in size between $10 to $40 million. EFF’s Michael McGregor said $300 million in philanthropic funds can turn into $1.5 billion in loans.

“We are seeking to raise an additional $100 million of philanthropy over the next couple of years and continue to use the same model,” he said. The fund has started to make loans through its pipeline of Black school leaders.

The Reconstruction

Studies have shown Black teachers and principals can improve educational outcomes for Black students.

“The barriers school leaders of color encounter when it comes to starting and expanding great schools for their communities are real, significant and unjust,” said Darryl Cobb of the nonprofit Charter School Growth Fund, a strategic partner of EFF that has supported nearly 1,200 public charter schools since 2006.