Richard Barth

KIPP Foundation

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools in Unites States that equips underserved students with the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in college and life.

Focus: Education
Geographic Area of Impact: USA, Mexico, Chile, India, Israel, South Africa
Model: Leveraged Non-Profit
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 50,000 (2013)
Annual Budget: USD $55 million (2013)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 11% (2013)

All too often in the United States, a child’s zip code defines his or her destiny. Only half of African American and Latino students will graduate high school on time and less than 10% of students from low-income families will earn a college degree by their mid-20s, even though a college diploma greatly increases a student’s career choices and lifetime earning potential. The rate of unemployment for high school graduates is twice that of college graduates, and over their lifetimes, high school graduates earn nearly $1 million less than their college-educated counterparts.

Innovation and Activities
KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, was founded in 1994 in Houston, TX, by teachers Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin after they completed their two-year commitment to Teach For America. Feinberg and Levin started KIPP with a single class of fifth graders in a district classroom. The following year, Feinberg and Levin founded two KIPP Academy Middle Schools, in Houston and the Bronx. In 2000, Feinberg and Levin partnered with Don and Doris Fisher, founders of the Gap, Inc., to create the KIPP Foundation and expand KIPP’s successful school model to communities nationwide. As of 2013, there are 141 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia, serving over 50,000 students in grades PreK-12.

The mission of the KIPP Foundation is to build a network of public charter schools that prepare students with the knowledge, skills, and character strengths necessary to succeed in college and the competitive world beyond. KIPP schools are free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools serving students from underserved backgrounds. Ninety-five percent of KIPP’s students are African-American or Latino, and 86 percent are eligible for federal free and reduced price meals. In a 2013 report by independent research firm Mathematica, students at KIPP middle schools showed positive and substantial achievement gains across all grade levels and subjects. KIPP students are graduating from college at a greater rate than the national average, and four times the rate for students from the nation’s lowest-income communities.

KIPP schools are locally run by independent boards of directors, with the support of the KIPP Foundation. At both the national and regional level, KIPP schools are collectively aligned around a common mission and share many longer-range targets for growth and performance. The KIPP Foundation conducts quality assurance, fosters sharing and innovation through the Healthy Schools & Regions Initiative, provides professional development for teachers and school staff, and assists with a variety of administrative functions.

At the core of the KIPP model are highly effective school leaders, who undergo an intensive, year-long Fellowship Programme that includes intensive coursework in a university setting, residencies at other KIPP schools, and support from experienced KIPP staff. In 2012 KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg and Aaron Brenner launched the One World Network of Schools, a global network of schools inspired by the KIPP model.

The Entrepreneurs
Richard Barth was made CEO of the KIPP Foundation in December of 2005. Over the past eight years, he has overseen the significant growth of the network from 45 to 141 schools and dramatically expanded KIPP's leadership development programs. In 1994, Mike Feinberg co-founded the Knowledge is Power Program
with Dave Levin, and the next year went on to found KIPP Academy in Houston. Mike now supports KIPP regions and global development for the KIPP Foundation, and serves on KIPP Houston’s board of directors.