• CSP will nurture and grow high quality schools.
  • CSP will increase the number of high achieving charter schools
    and increase the number of at-risk students being served
    by high achieving charters in Minnesota.
  • CSP will ensure every child in Minnesota has the opportunity
    to attain an education that allows him or her to succeed in life
    - no matter what income or zip code.
  • Charter quality is more important than quantity.
    Growth is not an end in itself.
  • CSP will do whatever it takes to close
    Minnesota's achievement gap.
   New Schools for  
Walton Family Foundation Grant

Walton Family Foundation (WFF) Startup Grants support the creation of public charters by providing grants to capable individuals and groups as they launch schools.  Eligible school developers may receive $250,000 in direct start-up support.  Grantees are providers who primarily serve low-income children in targeted geographies, and can demonstrate the capacity to dramatically raise student achievement.

CSP is the designated grant partner for the Walton Family Foundation in Minnesota.  All applicants interested in applying for a startup grant must be referred by Charter School Partners.  A local and independent eight-member grant committee reviews proposals for new start-ups and makes recommendations to the Walton Foundation for start-up funds of up to $250,000 with the possibility of an additional $250,000. Here is link to the Walton Family Foundation website outlining criteria for potential grant applicants. 

Fall 2014 Timeline

1.  New school developers interested in applying for a WFF startup grant this fall must first submit an Eligibility Questionnaire online at http://waltonfamilyfoundation.org/educationreform/eligibilityform by 5:00 pm on 8/1/14.

2.  CSP will review the eligibility form and invite those schools that meet the criteria to participate in a brief interview to assess their readiness for applying to the WFF startup grant.  Based on the interview CSP will determine whether to refer the new school developer for a WFF Startup grant.

3.  If CSP refers the new school developer to complete a grant application, CSP will send the developer a link to the online application form along with login id and password.  WFF Startup grant proposal and all required attachments are due by 5:00 pm on 9/1/14.  No exceptions will be made for late or incomplete applications.

4.  The WFF Grant proposal will be reviewed by both CSP and WFF staffs for completeness and compliance with grant eligibility requirements.

5.  If the new school developer is invited, they will be asked to participate in an interview with the local WFF Grant Review Committee on 9/29/14.

6.  If the new school developer is awarded a grant, they must provide evidence of state approval before receiving the grant.

The CSP Grant Review Committee consists of the following individuals:
  • Amy Hertel, The Minneapolis Foundation
  • Chris Stewart, African American Leadership Forum
  • David Nelson, The Carlson Family Foundation
  • Marceline DuBose, Educational Equity and Integration Specialist
  • Mike Spangenberg, Teach for America, Twin Cities
  • Sean Kershaw, Citizens League
  • Terry Tofte, retired school leader
Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the maximum base grant award available for the Startup Grant Program?
A: $250,000 if formally authorized as a charter school.

Q: Have basic eligibility requirements for the Startup Grants changed?
A: No.  Applicants must demonstrate the capacity to dramatically raise student achievement, serve at least 50% or more low-income students, serve students in WFF target geographies, and receive a referral from a Grant Partner or WFF. 

Q: Does WFF still offer Planning Grants?
A: Planning grants were discontinued in 2009 and are no longer available.

Q: What types of schools qualify for Startup Grants?
A: Stand-alone public charters and select Charter Management Organizations (CMO’s).  If your school is affiliated with KIPP, Building Excellent Schools (BES), or the Charter School Growth Fund (CSGF) you may apply for funding via these organizations directly.

Q: How does WFF define eligible startup schools?
  • Schools waiting for authorization as a charter
  • Newly authorized charters (no older than one year)
  • Schools opening new, additional campus under an existing charter; or
  • Existing schools that are expanding to serve incremental students with new programs and faculty on the same campus
Q: Are facilities now eligible expenditures for Startup Grants?
A: Yes, at the discretion of the WFF Grant Partner or Program Officer.

Q: Is a referral required to complete a Startup Grant proposal/application?
A: Yes.  Please refer to the Walton Family Foundation website and find the state your school is located in for contact information regarding eligibility and application for funding.

Q: When can a school developer apply for a pre-authorization grant?
A: Applicants may receive up to $30,000 as early as 15 months before the school’s authorizer submission deadlines, however, a formal business plan and financials are just two of the required proposal attachments to qualify for an interview.

Q: Are interviews required and when are they conducted?
A: Yes, an interview is required for receipt of WFF charter school funding.  Interviews are conducted by invitation only and coordinated through the Foundation’s Grant Partners (see the WFF website) or Program Officers.

Q: What about a post-authorization grant?
A: The balance of $220,000 is available after providing proof of formal authorization (without an additional interview) if your school is already in receipt of a pre-authorization grant.  If this is the first time the developer is applying for funding of a new school and that school has already been authorized, an interview is required.

Q: Do I need a 501c(3) before I can apply for a startup grant?
A: No, but the applicant will need to pass a credit check or designate a fiscal agent.

If you have any questions please contact:

Al Fan 
Charter School Partners – Executive Director

  2800 University Ave S.E, Suite 202 | Minneapolis, MN 55414 charterschoolpartners.org
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