School Choice & Charters

Gates Foundation Gives $4.4 Million To Religious Schools

By Catherine Gewertz — October 17, 2001 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has put hundreds of millions into improving public education, has taken its first large-scale step into supporting private schools, with a $4.4 million grant to a group that represents Christian schools.

The grant to Christian Schools International, based in Grand Rapids, Mich., was part of an effort to ensure that the Seattle-based foundation’s portfolio reflects a representative sample of schools, said spokeswoman Carol Rava. Between 10 percent and 11 percent of students nationwide attend private schools.

Bill Gates

Grants to one Roman Catholic school and the Diocese of Yakima were the philanthropy’s only previous grants to private education, she said. The grant to CSI, announced last month, will be shared by 14 urban schools in Chicago and three rural schools in New Mexico.

The choice of CSI serves not only the foundation’s goal of supporting improvement in private schools, but also of aiding schools that serve poor and minority populations. The New Mexico schools enroll mostly Native American children, and the Chicago schools enroll students of various races and ethnicities. Both serve large numbers of students from low- income families.

“One of the most pleasing things about this grant is that it will help us improve the education of students who don’t have all the opportunities for education that some other students do,” said Daniel Vander Ark, CSI’s executive director. “The emphasis is on children, not the structure of the schools. We believe that private schools serve the public good as well as public schools do.”

Technology Upgrades

Gates Foundation officials were familiar with the work of CSI because Mr. Vander Ark is related to the foundation’s executive director for education, Tom Vander Ark. (“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do,” Oct. 10, 2001.)

And, Ms. Rava said, the CSI schools in Chicago and New Mexico are seeking to improve in areas that the Gates Foundation focuses on: enhancing technology infrastructure, adopting research-based instructional practices, and providing staff development.

The religious schools in Chicago will be able to share their effective practices with a group of Chicago public schools that recently won a Gates grant, Gates and CSI officials said.

The 17 schools chosen to share the grant are a mix of elementary, K-8, and high schools that serve 4,300 students and include several Roman Catholic and Lutheran schools. They do not yet know their respective shares of the grant money. They will submit applications to CSI outlining their plans, Ms. Rava said.

Zuni Christian Mission School in Zuni, N.M., which serves 75 students in grades K-8, mostly from the Zuni pueblo on the Arizona border, hopes to use the grant money to upgrade its Internet connection and to use computers to enhance its instruction both in English and in Zuni. “We want to foster a good exchange between the two languages and technology,” Principal Kathleen Bosscher said.


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Reading & Literacy Webinar
Your Questions on the Science of Reading, Answered
Dive into the Science of Reading with K-12 leaders. Discover strategies, policy insights, and more in our webinar.
Content provided by Otus
Mathematics Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table: Breaking the Cycle: How Districts are Turning around Dismal Math Scores
Math myth: Students just aren't good at it? Join us & learn how districts are boosting math scores.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Tracker Which States Have Private School Choice?
Education savings accounts, voucher, and tax-credit scholarships are growing. This tracker keeps tabs on them so you don't have to.
School Choice & Charters Opinion What's the State of Charter Schools Today?
Even though there's momentum behind the charter school movement, charters face many of the same challenges as traditional public schools.
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters As Private School Choice Grows, Critics Push for More Guardrails
Calls are growing for more scrutiny over where state funds for private school choice go and how students are faring in the classroom.
7 min read
Illustration of completed tasks, accomplishment, finished checklist, achievement or project progression concept. Person holding pencil tick all completed task checkbox.
Nuthawut Somsuk/iStock/Getty
School Choice & Charters How a District Hopes to Save an ESSER-Funded Program
As a one-time infusion of federal funding expires, districts are searching for creative ways to keep programs they funded with it running.
6 min read
Chicago charter school teacher Angela McByrd works on her laptop to teach remotely from her home in Chicago, Sept. 24, 2020.
Chicago charter school teacher Angela McByrd works on her laptop to teach remotely from her home in Chicago, Sept. 24, 2020. In Montana, a district hopes to save a virtual instruction program by converting it into a charter school.
Nam Y. Huh/AP