Monday, July 23, 2012

Students for Education Reform Joins Draper Richards Kaplan Portfolio of Social Entrepreneurs

Kudos to Students for Education Reform!

Students for Education Reform Joins Draper Richards Kaplan Portfolio of Social Entrepreneurs 

Catharine Bellinger and Alexis Morin, Co-Founders and Co-Executive Directors of Students for Education Reform, join Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation Portfolio of Social Entrepreneurs

NEW YORK, NY – May 16, 2012 – Students for Education Reform (SFER) is excited to announce that it will join the Draper Richards Kaplan portfolio of social entrepreneurs. Draper Richards Kaplan, a Bay Area venture philanthropy group focusing on early-stage high-impact nonprofit organizations, provides three-year grants including strategic support and funding of $300,000. The selection process is highly competitive, as the foundation funds less than 2% of the 400+ applications it receives each year.

SFER's mission is to mobilize the next generation of leaders on college campuses to close the achievement gap and ensure an excellent education for all children. The national nonprofit recruits, selects, and trains passionate, mission-driven undergraduates to create volunteer-run student chapters on their campuses. SFER chapters raise awareness about the inequities in our public school system and engage students as stakeholders in the policymaking process by giving them the tools they need to advocate for change at the state level.

"Alexis and I are honored to join a fantastic community of entrepreneurs tackling some of the world's toughest social problems," said Catharine Bellinger, co-founder of SFER. "We are eager to learn from our peers and draw on the collective knowledge of the amazing Draper Richards Kaplan team."

Bellinger and Morin founded SFER as a student organization at Princeton University in 2009 after returning from internships at KIPP and the District of Columbia Public Schools. After deciding to take a leave of absence from Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School during the 2011-2012 school year, they grew the organization to over 100 chapters in 29 states. In January 2012, Bellinger and Morin, were selected by TIME Magazine as two of the "12 Education Activists for 2012." With plans to graduate from Princeton in 2013 through a combination of evening classes and field study, they are now managing this fast-scaling national advocacy organization from offices in New York City.

The Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation employs a venture capital model of investment to support visionary social entrepreneurs who generate sustainable impact at a large scale. The Foundation finds nonprofits led by extraordinary social entrepreneurs with high impact models, and funds those early stage nonprofit organizations with $300,000 over three years.

This strategy has yielded strong social returns to date and organizations significantly grew during their time in the portfolio. The Foundation's first fund started in 2002 and contributed $14 million to 30 nonprofit organizations. Draper Richards Kaplan recently launched the SpringStep Venture Fund, a $25 million venture that will support 50 new nonprofit organizations over 5-7 years. Past organizations increased their budget on average 10x and reported that their impact more than doubled each year. Alumni of the portfolio include organizations such as Education Pioneers, Kiva, and Room to Read.

For more information about the Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation, please visit; for more information about Students for Education Reform, visit

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