W.K. Kellogg Foundation Invests in Acelero Learning
BATTLE CREEK, Mich., Feb. 25, 2009 — The W.K. Kellogg Foundation is investing $500,000 in Acelero Learning, as part of its mission-driven investment strategy.
Acelero Learning is a for-profit company that brings an innovative approach to supporting local Head Start programs in Nevada and New Jersey. At the heart of their approach is a business model that works to partner with volunteer local leaders and to bring efficiency and higher impact to Head Start programs. They design and deliver systems to support the improvement of outcomes for children, raise teacher salaries, and increase the number of children served. The Kellogg Foundation’s investment will help support Acelero’s continued refinement of their approach and expansion to new communities.
This is the Kellogg Foundation’s first direct private equity investment under its mission-driven investment strategy. Anne Mosle, the Foundation’s vice president for programs, said the Foundation will invest $100 million over the next five years in companies like Acelero Learning that simultaneously create social benefit while generating a financial return.
“The Foundation is committed to creating the conditions of success for vulnerable children with a special emphasis on interventions between their birth and the end of third grade. We are looking to both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors for creative ways to achieve success for these children,” said Sterling Speirn, the Kellogg Foundation’s president and chief executive officer.
“Mission-driven investing takes foundation assets − not grantmaking dollars − and looks for hybrid enterprises that can generate financial and social returns. We strongly believe that more risk-targeted, comprehensive, high-quality early childhood services is the key to dramatically increasing learning capacity and readiness among vulnerable children. This investment is a bet that Acelero Learning can do just that,” said Speirn.
“We are excited to have the Kellogg Foundation join our investor group,” said Aaron Lieberman, founder and chief executive officer of Acelero Learning. “This investment will allow us to serve more children and families. We also are excited to learn from the Foundation’s extensive experience in early childhood and education and know this learning will help us to continuously improve the quality of our services.”
About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation
Established in 1930, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and southern Africa. For more information about the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, please visit the Foundation’s website at www.wkkf.org. For more about the Foundation’s mission-driven investment program, follow this link: www.wkkf.org/mdi.
About Acelero Learning
Acelero Learning works with local communities across the country to support and manage high-quality Head Start programs. Local affiliates of the company currently serve over 2,200 children, ages zero to five, in Head Start and Early Head Start programs in Nevada and New Jersey. The company was founded in 2001 by Aaron Lieberman, a former Head Start teacher and founder of the national early childhood program Jumpstart, and Henry Wilde, a former staffer at the Children’s Defense Fund who is now the Deputy Secretary for Children and Families for the State of Wisconsin. Acelero Learning’s local affiliates have consistently served more children, increased teacher salaries, and provided dramatically expanded hours for children and families in each location where they are funded as the Head Start or Early Head Start grantee. In addition to the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, current investors include the Ironwood Equity Fund, Boston Community Capital, New Jersey Community Capital, and the New Schools Venture Fund. For more information about Acelero Learning, please visit the company’s website at www.acelero.net.