Our approach.

Arizona is home to many excellent schools with educators who believe every student can learn. However, not all students have access yet to a high-quality public school in Arizona. A for Arizona’s Expansion Fund fast-tracks the replication of excellence so that Arizona can more quickly close the achievement gap for all students.

Supported by local and national philanthropic organizations, A for Arizona’s Expansion Fund provides targeted and timely seed capital to support our best public school leaders’ rapid growth plans, allowing more of Arizona’s students to benefit from a great education now.

Arizona’s ‘A’-rated school leaders already know what they need to grow and thrive. We want to support that expansion, not direct it. We can achieve sustainable and exponential growth of excellence if we fund a diverse portfolio of proven high-quality public school operators. When we say that we want to fund district, magnet, and charter school growth plans—we mean it!


For those thinking about growing within your current campus. Are you looking to add a classroom at every grade level, add new grade levels, or middle school? You’re growing, but not from scratch.


For those thinking about starting a new campus. Want to grow your impact in a new neighborhood, city, or county? You’ve got a good thing going, and you want to do it again and again.


For those thinking totally outside the box. Are you a district looking to team up with a charter? A magnet high school looking for a feeder middle school? Thinking about creating a K-20 pipeline?

Why now?

The heart of A for Arizona’s work is to learn from our highest performing schools and their leaders in order to shape public policy toward achieving the goal of a constantly improving and expanding system of public schools that will serve all students at the highest level.

We have made great strides in putting the policies in place to help Arizona’s best schools expand and grow. Sustaining what has now become a decade-long trend of progress, Arizona’s public school students consistently post some of the largest academic gains in the country as parents and families continue to seek out the very best public education options for their children.

While many of these high performing district, magnet, and charter school leaders want to replicate their success, they often lack the startup capital to implement their growth plans quickly and at scale. What could be a radical acceleration of education excellence has been slowed by their limited access to targeted school expansion funding.

Through our Expansion Fund, A for Arizona will provide these leaders with the seed funding needed to get more students off waitlists and into great schools now. Because no child should have to wait for a school that will match their full potential.

Who qualifies.

We are agnostic to public school model but are unapologetic about keeping the quality bar high. We will evaluate all growth plan proposals against the following criteria:

Academic Excellence

First and foremost, prospective applicants should have an ‘A’-rating and show a record of strong academic performance over multiple years.  We are particularly interested in partnering with those schools that have achieved academic excellence while serving Arizona’s high-need communities.

Demonstrated Need

Excellent public school options already exist in Arizona, but not for all communities and not at the scale needed. We seek to support growth plans that are based in demonstrated need, including: expansion into high-poverty communities, demonstrable parent demand, and lack of quality school options in targeted neighborhoods.

Leadership Pipeline

As you look to expand your proven model, an essential component of your success will be the leadership teams that oversee your expansion. Your application must show that you have a quality pipeline of individuals from within your organization that can support your future growth and sustain your excellent model.

Financial Viability

We provide philanthropic seed funding, not long term financial support. Prospective applicants must be able to show that their model can operate on public funds at scale.

Application process.


Tell us who you are and what you need to grow your impact. The next application window opens in December 2019.


A for Arizona’s team will review your application materials and growth plan to assess academic track record. If you meet our requirements, we’ll invite you to take part in our iterative collaboration process.

2-3 months


We will work together to fine tune your growth plan to ensure that your goals are smart, attainable, and, most importantly, successful straight out of the gate.

4-6 months


We provide you with the targeted funds you need to get your growth plan off the shelf and into action.

1-3 years

Next Steps.

If you are interested in partnering with A for Arizona to support the Expansion Fund or if you are a school leader interested in learning more, contact A for Arizona Deputy Director Mary Curtinmcurtin@azchamber.com.