The Drexel Fund seeks visionary founders – as well as founding teams – who are interested in gaining access to the strategic, tactical and financial supports necessary to take an inspired dream for a new, sustainable, high performing private school model that will grow into a network of schools from possibility to reality.

The Drexel Fund’s Founders Program

Educational entrepreneurs looking to partner with the Fund need both the audacity to design new models of faith-based and other private schools that will be the first in an eventual network of schools and the resolve to successfully operationalize their design. The Fund will invest in leaders who will commit their expertise and inspired view of the future to the development of new, sustainable private schools that serve predominantly low- and middle-income communities in Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. These leaders will create proof points, both for underserved students and for the voucher/state scholarship sector as a whole.


Photo courtesy of the Alliance for Catholic Education.

Following a rigorous selection process, investments from The Drexel Fund may include:

Through The Drexel Fund’s Founders Program, educational entrepreneurs who need to develop their model could be awarded an initial investment to concretize the academic, strategic and financial plan at the heart of their school design. This planning process will deliver a roadmap for the manner in which the school will achieve top-tier results for children, while maintaining a sustainable financial model.

As a result, serious candidates for the Founders Program will possess a high-level understanding of their vision for a new school. Drexel’s design and planning supports will deepen the Drexel Founder’s capacity to concretize that vision. The Drexel Founders Program will provide structured project management, so that you emerge with the practical components (“hard skills”) for successfully leading a new school. In addition, significant, and tailored professional development resources will be available to maximize your growth as a founding school leader, which could include training in partnership with successful national programs, residency or shadowing of high performing school models, and support from experts in the practical components of founding and leading a school.

Following Drexel’s approval of the academic, strategic and business plan for the first school, founders will be eligible to receive a school start-up investment to see the plan realized. Start-up funding is intended to put the school on the path to sustainability, recognizing that the early years of a school launch will likely require philanthropic support.

Our school launch supports are intended to meet your specific needs in the actual running of your school. To that end, the Drexel Founders Program will offer structured leadership coaching in the first two operational years of the school, so that you remain both faithful and nimble in the pursuit of your vision.

When the school has secured a strong foothold in both academics and organizational viability – typically after year three or four – founders will be eligible to receive funds to assist in the build out of a high-quality network of private schools, modeled on the successes of the original campus. For more on Drexel’s replication fund, see Schools & Networks.