Startup Funding

Charter schools in Illinois seek and receive funding and in-kind donations from many sources, including individuals, local businesses and foundations.  We recommend that you develop a fundraising plan as part of your charter school development process and pursue multiple funding opportunities. 

Walton Family Foundation (WFF) supports the planning and startup of public charter schools that show potential for dramatically raising student achievement through various grant opportunities. Applications for the 2014 WFF grant cycle in Illinoisare due February 18, 2014.

The U.S. Department of Education Charter Schools Program Grants (CSP)provides startup grants for “Planning, Program Design and Implementation” of new schools, among other grant programs. INCS recommends that charter design teams apply for startup funding in the first grant cycle following their authorization.  Typically these federal funds are disseminated through the state department of education; however, Illinois does not have this grant and applicants will apply directly to the US Department of Education. Deadlines vary and may be impacted by federal funding levels and timelines. For details of the most recent startup grant application cycle, click here.

Next Generation Learning Challenge (NGLC) provides planning and launch grants for developers of new “blended learning” school models that utilize technology to dramatically improve student outcomes.  NGLC is piloting a Regional Fund in Chicago: Breakthrough Schools: ChicagoChicago and national planning grant applications are due January 13, 2014.

Partners for Developing Futuressupports leaders of color in planning and early operations of new charter schools and networks.

Charter School Growth Fundfunds charter networks/CMOs and some new charter models, generally by invitation only.