The Walton Family Foundation is scheduled to announce a $250 million program Tuesday to build and expand charter schools across the country, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The effort, set to launch in 17 cities, will focus on existing charter organizations and aims to add 250,000 student seats at the publicly funded but privately run schools by 2027. The foundation, headed by heirs of the Walmart retail fortune, is one of the biggest philanthropic backers of charters, which currently enroll about 3 million U.S. students.
Foundation officials said the money will primarily go to nonprofit lenders to provide low-interest financing for charter expansion. In most states such schools cannot receive taxpayer funding for facilities, leaving many diverting money from instruction or scrambling to find space. The Walton program will “level the playing field” for charters, said Marc Sternberg, head of the grant maker's K-12 education program.
Read a Chronicle of Philanthropy article about the Walton family's evolving philanthropic blueprint and approach to giving for education and other causes.