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June 22, 2015

Zuckerberg-Backed Newark Schools Fund Has $30 Million Left

The $200 million charity launched with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's 2010 mega-donation for school reform in Newark, N.J., has one year to go and $30 million left to spend, NJ Spotlight writes in a rundown of the Foundation for Newark's Future's work to date.

Launched in 2011 with a five-year mandate, the foundation was financed by $100 million from Mr. Zuckerberg and matching funds from other donors. Its biggest investment to date went into a 2012 contract for Newark teachers that included retroactive pay and performance bonuses. There has been much controversy and debate over other expenditures, including tens of millions of dollars for consultants, and over large-scale moves of students to other schools as part of the reform effort.

The foundation has scaled down from nine to four employees and is making smaller grants to entities outside the school system, including $1.5 million each to a Newark summer jobs program for youth and a project to raise college graduation rates in the city. "If the goal is to improve educational outcomes for kids, we can't just stop at high school," said Kimberly McLain, the fund's president and chief executive.