Entrepreneur Planning Grants (Pre-Operational): Application Process

GMS will provide planning support to the most promising entrepreneurial leaders and boards developing new Minneapolis charter schools. Pre-operational schools are potentially eligible to receive a grant of $50,000 and access to technical assistance programs. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but please note that the review process may take two to three months.

Step 1: Applications may be submitted by invitation only following an introductory meeting with a school’s designated representative(s) and based on whether it meets the following requirements:

  • School has been approved by an authorizer.
  • 501(c)(3) application to IRS for nonprofit tax-exempt status is pending or approved.
  • At least one founding board member has prior experience as a staff or board member of a charter school.
  • Desired founding leader has been identified or hired.
  • At least one member of the founding team (leader and board) has entrepreneurial experience leading start-up projects or organizations.
  • At least one member of the founding team has K-12 academic leadership experience.
  • Core components of the school model have strong evidence of student academic success and/or were developed through a formal program for innovative school design (e.g. New Schools Venture Fund’s “Design Camp”, Bush Foundation’s “School Design for Individualized Learning”).

 

Step 2: Invited applicants should submit a two to five page proposal (not including attachments) explaining how the proposed school meets the following criteria and/or referencing those sections and pages of the school’s application to its authorizer where they are clearly addressed.

Founding Team

  • Do the school’s founding leader and/or other members of the founding team have a demonstrated track record of achieving entrepreneurial and student academic success?
  • Does the school’s founding board have the governance skills and capacity necessary to oversee and support the school’s successful start-up?

School Model

  • Do the core components of the school’s model have strong evidence of student academic success and/or were developed through a formal program for innovative school design (e.g. New Schools Venture Fund’s “Design Camp”, Bush Foundation’s “School Design for Individualized Learning”)?
  • Would the school have a strategic impact on K-12 education in Minneapolis, such as by offering an innovative model, serving a neighborhood or community with limited access to high-performing schools, and/or diversifying the leadership of the city’s schools?

Community Standing

  • Does the founding team have strong and authentic ties to the neighborhood or community the school plans to serve?
  • Is the school receiving foundational support from other organizations (e.g. school model development, sourcing of board members, providing staff for pre-operational work, student recruitment, pre-operational funding, in-kind contributions, etc.)?

Attachments

  • Application to authorizer
  • Resume of identified/hired founding leader
  • Current board roster & bios (if changed since authorizer application)
  • Charter contract performance goals (if finalized)

 

Step 3: GMS staff will conduct an interview with the leadership of the school’s founding team to address any remaining questions about the school’s proposal. Schools that receive a recommendation for grant funding by the GMS team will be brought to the GMS Board for final approval.

 

Schools interested in this grant program should contact Morgan Brown at mbrown@greatmnschools.org or 952-297-6791 with any questions and/or to schedule an introductory meeting.