New Schools Venture Fund (A)

By J. Gregory Dees and Beth Battle Anderson

In December 2000, New Schools Venture Fund was debating the role it should play in helping one of its for-profit investees, LearnNow, attract new capital. A $20 million venture philanthropy fund, New Schools invested in for-profit and nonprofit education ventures that targeted a vulnerability in the K-12 education system. LearnNow, a charter school management company, was wrestling with the need to balance the aggressive growth demanded by most for-profit investors with its commitment to providing quality education for students in low-income communities. This tension and LearnNow’s struggles to raise money highlighted a question that was always on New Schools President Kim Smith’s mind: Should New Schools, a public charity seeking to improve K-12 education, be investing in for-profit ventures?

Source: Stanford Graduate School of Business

HarvardĀ  Business Publishing, Prod. # SI7A-PDF-ENG, 2001