LISC and the Walton Family Foundation have announced the first recipients of the Spark Opportunity Grant Program, a $2 million initiative to provide planning grants to support the creation of affordable facilities for schools in Opportunity Zones and other under-resourced communities. Twenty-six high-performing schools will receive the initial round of funding, and a second round is already open to applicants.
26 Schools Chosen as Spark Opportunity Grant Winners
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Walton Family Foundation launch a second round of planning grants to support appropriate and affordable facilities for schools in Opportunity Zones and other under-resourced communities.
The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) today announced the inaugural winners of the Spark Opportunity Grant Program, an initiative that supports high-quality public charter schools serving students in economically distressed communities to plan for permanent and age-appropriate new facilities.
Twenty-six schools serving students in economically distressed communities will use their grants, ranging from $15,000 to $50,000, to plan, finance and build facilities that meet the needs of their communities. Ten of the school projects are located in Opportunity Zones where they are already demonstrating how investment in education is a critical part of community-driven revitalization. Each school has a proven track record of student success and community engagement.
“The winning schools have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to strong academics, financial and operations management, and serving students and families from under-resourced communities,” said Eva Schweitzer, Director of Finance at LISC. “We look forward to working with them to demystify the facility development process, help them serve more students and improving their facilities.”
Round one of the Spark Opportunity Grant Program will support the creation of 20,000 additional seats for public charter school students. Applications are now open for the second round of grants. Learn more about the Spark Opportunity Grants and application process here.
Inaugural winners include:
“Visionary school leaders and educators should be spending all of their time improving the lives of students, not on complex real estate transactions and building repairs,” said Walton Family Foundation K-12 Education Program Director Marc Sternberg. “These grants will drive more resources to teaching, learning and serving the needs of local communities.”
Together with residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunity across America – great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979, LISC has invested $20 billion to build or rehab 400,500 affordable homes and apartments and develop 66.8 million square feet of retail, community and educational space, including charter school facilities.
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.