Breakthrough Schools announced a $10 million commitment from Dee and Jimmy Haslam through the Haslam 3 Foundation today, the largest contribution in the public charter school network's history. The lead gift in Breakthrough Schools' $20 million growth fund serves a challenge to other area philanthropists to help provide over 7,000 Cleveland children with a high-quality college prep education. The Haslam 3 Foundation gift is in addition to the $1 million contribution they made earlier this year to Breakthrough Schools.
"The Haslams' contribution is a powerful first step in our ability to open nine more high-performing schools," said John Zitzner, President of Friends of Breakthrough Schools, the network's fundraising and advocacy organization. "Their significant challenge to other supporters in our community will fundamentally transform the educational landscape in Cleveland."
"We strongly believe in Breakthrough's mission to provide positive educational opportunities to all students and we have a deep and unwavering commitment to Cleveland youth," said Dee Haslam. "We are honored to be a part of such a strong movement that will positively impact the future of this city."
Breakthrough Schools was formed in 2010 by three of Cleveland's highest performing public charter schools. Since then, Ohio's top-rated network has grown to serve over 3,300 students in 11 schools across Cleveland.
Breakthrough Schools will open its 12th school on Cleveland's west side this summer. All of Breakthrough's schools are sponsored by or have partnerships with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
"This is a momentous win for our families, students, and teachers," said Breakthrough CEO Alan Rosskamm. "The Haslams' gift, and other supporters who rise to their challenge, will enable us to work with the District in ensuring every Cleveland neighborhood has a high-quality school."
"This $10 million gift definitely is one of the largest single contributions to a charter network in the country and is extraordinary in the impact that it can make," said Mike Feinberg, founder of KIPP, the largest charter management organization in the United States.
"Dee and Jimmy have been so generous over the years, and this most recent gift, along with their commitment to help us raise matching dollars, is beyond belief," said Zitzner. "What an amazing Christmas gift for our students and our community."
Breakthrough Schools is Ohio's highest performing network of public charter schools. Since 2010, Breakthrough Schools has grown to 11 schools serving over 3,300 students -- 97% of whom are minorities and 84% of whom are economically disadvantaged -- with plans to serve more than 7,000 students in 20 schools by 2020. Breakthrough Schools is the only public charter school network in the country to feature four distinct academic models. It is also has a unique partnership with the Cleveland Metropolitan School District as part of The Cleveland Plan: an unprecedented collaboration between the school district, teachers' union, the mayor, business leaders, nonprofit organizations, local philanthropy, and high-performing public charter schools that is fundamentally changing the face of public education in Cleveland. Learn more at: www.BreakthroughSchools.org.