The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation commits $4.5 million to PSP

Grant represents largest national foundation commitment to Great Schools Fund; joins dozens of funders investing in creation and expansion of high-quality schools

The Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP) will receive $4.5 million from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation including $4.3 million for the Philadelphia Great Schools Fund and $200,000 towards initiatives to expand parent access to high-quality schools across the city.

The grant to the Great Schools Fund will support the expansion and startup of high-performing schools that serve predominantly low-income students in Philadelphia. The $4.3 million grant is the largest commitment from a national foundation to the Great Schools Fund to date. Over the past two years, more than 40 businesses, individuals and foundations have committed $60 million to the $100 million Great Schools Fund.

PSP’s Great Schools Fund pools philanthropic dollars from a diverse group of funders to strategically invest in the incubation, startup, expansion and transformation of high-quality schools across Philadelphia. The Fund invests in K-12 schools with the capacity to deliver outstanding educational outcomes for children in the city, including traditional district, charter and private schools.

To date, PSP has invested $21.3 million to create more than 10,500 seats in high-quality district, charter, private, and turnaround schools. PSP works closely with the School District and school leadership teams to identify additional investment opportunities. A current focus is on improving student achievement at one or more schools expected to receive an influx of students next fall under the District’s Facilities Master Plan.

“Our goal is to provide a high-quality education to every Philadelphia child. We are working with our partners to expand the number of high performing seats and improve educational outcomes. Today’s donation supports our goals,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “I want to personally thank the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation for investing in Philadelphia’s schools and students.”

Janet Mountain, Executive Director of the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, said, “The foundation is excited to support the alignment of major civic leaders around the singular goal of expanding the availability of high quality seats regardless of sector. We believe this speaks to their unique ability to see a big vision beyond what exists today. We’re also excited to support the significant momentum of PSP, which has already begun to invest in creating some 10,500 seats and which has a focus on growing local, high-quality school operators.”

“A respected national foundation making a significant investment in Philadelphia is a sign of growing support for the new focus and determination we are seeing in the city to scale up great schools of all types,” said Mark Gleason, executive director of PSP. “The philanthropic community, parents, and the city’s civic and education leadership are sending strong signals that we share a common vision for high-quality schools that prepare kids in every neighborhood for college and the work world.”

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation grant will also provide $200,000 to support PSP’s effort to expand access to great schools for parents in low-income communities, including and the Great Schools Compact’s effort to implement a universal school enrollment system for schools of all types across the city. was launched in October 2012 to provide a resource for Philadelphia families to learn about and compare over 400 K-12 schools in the city. The website and corresponding print guides include ratings and information about all types of schools, including district, charter, Catholic and private schools.

About the Great Schools Fund

The Fund invests in K-12 schools of any type with the capacity to deliver outstanding educational outcomes for children in the city, including traditional district, charter, and private schools. The goal of the Fund is create 35,000 new seats in high-quality schools by 2016-17 by turning around low-performing schools, expanding high performing schools, or creating new high-quality schools. PSP’s investment team conducts a rigorous screening process for grant applicants to evaluate their capacity for delivering strong educational outcomes; its recommendations are vetted by an investment committee before being presented to the PSP Board of Directors for approval.