Our Mission

Education Forward DC accelerates the work of visionary education leaders to foster a city of high-quality, equitable public schools for every DC student and family.

Education Forward DC Core Values


  • We are resolute in our pursuit of great outcomes for all DC students.

    We recognize current approaches are not enough to meet the needs of all students in DC’s public schools. We work with leaders across the city to take bold action and engage in tough conversations to move the work forward. We make all decisions in service of students. 

  • We are learners.

    We embrace diverse perspectives to inform our work, especially from the communities we serve. We give and seek out candid feedback. We are open about what we do and why, we share what we’ve learned, and we are honest about our mistakes so that we can learn from them and improve. 

  • We work intentionally to disrupt patterns of racial inequity.

    We believe that addressing racial injustice in our schools and communities is fundamental to our success as a city. In particular, we prioritize investing in leaders of color who share the racial and economic background of the students we serve, and we create opportunities to amplify the voices of families and communities in DC.  We seek to work in ways that dismantle existing power dynamics. 

  • We care about each other and the leaders we support.

    We passionately pursue our mission and bring our whole selves to our work. We strive to build authentic relationships with each other, our partners, and those we serve, and to foster a sense of community. We celebrate each success that brings us closer to achieving our mission! 

Our Story

In 2008, NewSchools Venture Fund launched the DC Schools Fund with the goal of dramatically improving educational outcomes for underserved students by strengthening the city’s schools. Through the DC Schools Fund, NewSchools focused on increasing the number of high-quality charter schools, ensuring accountability for low-performing charters and supporting advocacy efforts and ecosystem building to ensure that school leaders had the tools and support they needed. Since 2008, the DC Schools Fund supported more than 50 education leaders and the creation or transformation of more than 11,000 seats in public charter schools. What’s more, students in the schools served by the Fund are now outperforming their DC peers in both English and math.

As the work of the DC Schools Fund came to a close, the DC Schools Fund team met with community leaders, grantees and partners to identify the best path forward to address the college and career readiness gaps that—despite tremendous progress—remain for too many students in DC. Out of those conversations emerged a plan and a vision for a new, independent nonprofit organization that would build upon the work of the DC Schools Fund to advance quality and equity in the city’s public schools.

Under the leadership of Maura Marino and the DC Schools Fund team, Education Forward DC officially launched on July 1, 2016 with a focus on increasing access to high-quality school options across the city for all students and families, particularly those that have been historically underserved.

Our ambitious goal is to double the number of underserved students who are college and career ready over the next five years, with a focus on at-risk and special education students.

We invite you to learn more about our vision and strategy for improving DC schools. Help us move education forward for every student in our city.