Building Hope is a national nonprofit organization focused on closing the educational achievement gap by supporting high quality public charter schools.
Our start was made possible by a $28 million grant from The Sallie Mae Fund and a $2 million federal appropriation. Our initial focus was Washington, the capital of the world’s wealthiest nation but also home to one of its most troubled public school systems, with lower-than-average test scores and a high school dropout rate then hovering near 40 percent.
Building Hope set out to tackle one of the key barriers to charter school growth: identifying and financing viable facilities so that all students have access to a quality K-12 education.
Today, we partner with individual and institutional investors and philanthropic and government organizations to provide a full range of support to public charter schools across the nation. Our services include facilities financing, charter school facility development, incubator space, and back-office business services.
Specifically, we have provided over $200 million in direct loans, credit enhancements, and equity investments to support over $1 billion in school construction. This assistance has supported 200 charter school projects in 18 states and the District of Columbia, serving more than 70,000 students, more than half of whom live in underserved communities.
In Washington, DC, where Building Hope began and has enjoyed its biggest impact, our assistance has resulted in 39,000 public school students (45 percent of total enrollment) attending public charters. Another positive: the high school dropout rate has been cut by half, to 19 percent, since 2003.