Tools & Resources

Racial Equity and Education in America (beta)

Updated: 11/4/2020

According to the Brookings Institute, the U.S. educational system is one of the most inequitable in the industrialized world, with students of color experiencing vast differences in the quality of education available in their communities, unconscious biases in treatment among teachers, and more. Impact investors have taken a variety of different approaches to improve the quality of education for low-income communities and communities of color. This growing list of resources provides a starting point for organizations to consider where and how racial equity can be an active consideration in their approach to investing.


  • Investing in educational products and services exist at any stage in a child's educational journey, from financing facilities for early care and education, to investing in aftershool programs for secondary education, to investing in products for post-high school learning. 
  • Foundation investors and others work with experts in education, including program officers specialized in this field, to develop an approach that aligns with their mission and values. 
  • This page is still in early stages of development: if you have resources, deals, or thoughts to share on approaches to impact investing, racial equity, and education, please contact us!
  • Visit the Racial Equity Library for more information on racial equity and impact investing.  

A mountain of evidence suggests that high-quality early care and education (ECE) for children ages 5 and younger can change the trajectory of their entire lives, nurturing better health and economic outcomes for them, their families, and society as a whole. Below is a growing list of foundations and other impact investors committed to supporting this field. While many financing providers focus services on low-income communities, insufficient data is available to understand the extent to which communities of color are receiving services. Please contact MIE if you have resources to share.
  • Reinvestment Fund offers low-interest loans to early childhood education providers in Philadelphia to maintain high-quality early learning environments. The fund is supported by the William Penn Foundation.
  • Low-Income Investment Fund explores in this report how philanthropic capital can help to support ECE facility financing. See below for a snapshot of case studies mentioned in the report.


Investing in Post-High School Education

Lumina Impact Ventures, the impact investing division of Lumina Foundation, makes direct investments in ventures working to improve post-high school learning opportunities and ensure that communities of color are not excluded from opportunity. For example, Lumina’s $1.25 million equity investment in 2017 helped Upswing grow to serve 700,000 non-traditional students (over 25 years old, part-time, and/or virtual) in four years (2014-2018). Over 80% of Upswing’s clients are students of color. 

(NEW) Investing in Racial Equity: A Guide for Colleges and Universities

This guide, developed by the Intentional Endowments Network, is intended to be a catalyst for conversation and action on racial equity for fiduciaries of university endowments who are looking to learn more about the current state of racial inequity in the U.S. as it relates to the long-term sustainability of the economy; the unique, underappreciated opportunity available to college and university endowments in racial equity investing; and the variety of tools, products, partners and best practices available. 


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