Initiative Aims to Catalyze the Personalized Learning Field

New Profit, a non-profit venture philanthropy organization, recently announced the launch of a Personalized Learning Initiative supported by Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to New Profit, “The Personalized Learning Initiative is an effort to invest in promising new approaches and technologies that can give students more agency in their own learning journey and provide teachers with tools to tailor classroom instruction to the unique needs of each student.”

The organizations and leaders selected include familiar faces in the personalized learning sphere:

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“We believe that investing in and catalyzing the personalized learning field can lead to bigger breakthroughs in education,” said New Profit Partner Trevor Brown, who will lead the initiative. “We are excited to be working with a visionary group of social entrepreneurs and funding partners to take bold steps in the direction of meeting every student’s needs, no matter their background or learning style.”

During this four-year initiative, each of the seven organizations will receive a grant of $1 million, and a New Profit partner will join their board of directors. Additionally, a Learning Community will be developed to “share insight across different models and practices and partner to accelerate the overall development of the field.” Joining these organizations to provide insight are existing New Profit grantees LEAP Innovations, New Classrooms and Enlearn.

For more on what we can hope to see from this initiative we reached out to the organization leaders for comments:

Aylon Samouha, Transcend:

Transcend is fired up to be part of this cohort with amazing innovators. We could not be more thrilled with our colleagues in this cohort, with the chance to benefit from New Profit’s expertise, support, and platform. We know this opportunity will help us get closer to our mission of being an R&D Engine for school model innovation in the coming years.

Todd Dickson, Compass:

We are excited to partner with New Profit, particularly because of their expertise in scaling as we explore how to best create a sharing and learning community around our SEL work, Compass. New Profit has incredible experience in helping social entrepreneurs scale their ideas and we are very fortunate to be able to work with them.

Dana Borrelli-Murray, Highlander Institute:

At Highlander Institute, we envision an equitable educational system that meets the needs of all learners in this rapidly changing and complex world. With the ultimate goal of supporting the comprehensive implementation of blended and personalized learning supports, our model engages every level of the personalized learning ecosystem – teachers, school leaders, district/state leaders, and EdTech innovators.

New Profit’s belief in our vision and model is a game-changer for our organization. We told New Profit that up until this point, we have been successful because of a mix of “hard work, gut instincts and aha moments.” We cannot wait to work with them to think about our work from a scalability lens, with a better understanding of what smart growth looks like for us.

Since our first interactions with New Profit, they have been dialed in to our specific needs and concerns, our commitment to bridging both direct impact with systems-level change. They have been honest with us about infrastructure, governance, and scope of work, and have started mapping out what four years of help will look like.

It is hard to describe what it feels like to know that we now have New Profit in our corner. We are thrilled for the opportunity, and excited to work closely with the New Profit team as well as the awesome cohort of organizations supported through this initiative.

Beth Rabbitt, The Learning Accelerator:

TLA’s mission and model are centered on collective, collaborative action; we’ve got to work together to make the dream of meeting the needs of every single kid, in every single classroom, every single day a reality. Joining the NewProfit Personalized Learning Initiative Cohort is therefore a tremendous and aligned opportunity for us to move forward with others in the ecosystem, not just within the Cohort but also across the broader New Profit network of social entrepreneurs.

Further, given our forward-learning, catalytic approach, access to flexible capital is essential to our mission. This investment will help us to maintain focus on around-the-corner issues for blended and personalized learning.

Finally, as a relatively new CEO and leader, getting the support of the New Profit team is hugely helpful. I look forward to getting terrific coaching and development through both the NewProfit team as well as via access to other leaders in the space.

Andrew Frishman & Carlos Moreno, Big Picture Learning ImBlaze:

Big Picture Learning launched over twenty years ago knowing the importance of learning that happens anytime and anywhere. During those two decades, technology has advanced in such a way that BPL — through ImBlaze, our online internship platform — can truly bring rich and meaningful youth and mentor relationships to life and to scale. We’re appreciative of New Profit’s support of our vision as we look forward to what the next twenty years will bring.

Elisabeth Stock, PowerMyLearning:

New Profit has a tremendous track record of helping nonprofits scale their impact nationwide. PowerMyLearning is thrilled to partner with New Profit to scale our work enabling teachers to team up with families and colleagues to provide personalized learning experiences for all students.

For more, see:

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Caroline Vander Ark

Caroline is President of Getting Smart.

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