NGLC's Breakthrough Schools Regional Funds

Educators, school designers, and innovation partners across the nation are working hard to design and launch innovative schools – Breakthrough Schools – to accelerate student achievement through personalized, mastery-based, blended learning models. Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is nurturing this school redesign movement with investments ($21 million) to support grantees, learn from their experiences, and share promising emerging practices across the country.

With the commitment of a number of partners, NGLC began this work with greater intensity in selected cities across the U.S.

The NGLC Breakthrough Schools Regional Funds focused initially on two cities – Washington, D.C. and Chicago – with an expectation that it will expand to additional cities in 2014 and beyond.

Supporting partners for the first two sites:

  1. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation
  2. Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  3. CityBridge Foundation
  4. LEAP Innovations (formerly New Schools for Chicago), along with the Chicago Public Education Fund

This regional expansion of NGLC’s national investments is designed to:

  • Reach more entrepreneurs at all levels of public education who have a dream – and the outlines of a plan – to design and launch new kinds of schools that engage students much more personally in their own learning
  • Ignite (or expand) a culture and community of innovation in the selected cities by enlisting local partners and building active, geographically-centered new school networks
  • Encourage city-level cooperation and alignment between key partners including school districts, philanthropists, mayors’ offices, innovation incubators, community-based organizations, and (in some cases) state education agencies
  • Expand interest in these personalized, mastery-based, blended learning models by other educators in the regional sites and surrounding districts and cities

In both of the inaugural cities joining this initiative, educators and school designers benefit from a wide range of locally-based supports and networks provided, in part, by the lead partners in each community – CityBridge in D.C., and LEAP Innovations in Chicago – and, in part, through NGLC’s national programs. Aspiring school designers also have access to grant funds specifically designated to support schools in their respective city.

Learn More

Breakthrough Schools: DC

Breakthrough Schools: Chicago


Up to six planning grants of $100,000 each will be awarded in the spring of 2014 in each city. Planning grantees will then have the opportunity to apply for launch grants of up to $350-$450,000 (varying by city) in the fall of 2014 – with the goal of creating a pipeline of new breakthrough schools in each city in 2014 or 2015.

Entrepreneurs, educators, partners and school designers, this is an opportunity to move beyond the endless tinkering on the outmoded school model we have, towards the development of the dramatically improved and more effective new-model schools we need. Those considering opening or redesigning a school in D.C. or Chicago, our partners in those cities look forward to hearing from you.

Those focused on education innovation in other cities across the country, please stay tuned for further announcements.