Chicago Area Benefit Corporation Passes $1 Billion Milestone

This small company is quietly changing the way education is funded in the U.S.

EVANSTON, IL – November 1, 2022Equity Schools, Inc., a small benefit corporation focused on developing schools and funding solutions for education, has now generated more than $1 billion in private, non-philanthropic funding for school operations in the US. This money goes directly into classrooms, primarily in low-income communities. With only a handful of employees in a modest office space within a historic train station, this outsized impact marks a significant milestone for the company.


“There’s a great need for more education funding in communities all over the US,” said Dave Murray, Senior Project Analyst at Equity Schools. “I think a lot of school leaders genuinely want to do great things for their students, but many of them also know that it’s not realistic to get the resources they need through typical government funding.”


The success of the firm’s work highlights a disconcerting and pervasive trend in US education – in many communities, federal, state and local government funding alone is not enough to provide quality public education.


For example, according to a National Education Association survey, an astonishing 94 percent of schoolteachers in the US spend their own money to stock their classrooms with necessary supplies and resources. And the nonprofit 21st Century School Fund estimates that nationwide, the backlog in school maintenance and repair projects is at least $500 billion. Not surprisingly, these funding problems are the worst in minority and lower income communities where the needs are greatest.


Equity Schools has been working on reducing this funding gap for more than 25 years. In addition to the $1 billion generated for operational funding, the firm has also played a pivotal role in accessing over $300 million in capital financing for school facilities where conventional financing was not possible. These successes show that there are viable ways to bring funding to our schools without solely relying on federal, state, or local government spending.


The firm utilizes a “Nonlinear Funding” process to support education projects such as school creation, renovation, or expansion, without relying on new government funding, philanthropists, or foundations. Nonlinear Funding strategies focus on creating new and/or re-directing existing revenue streams, often from unexpected sources, to support these kinds of projects.


These strategies are varied and can be combined, but a range of examples includes: special facility revenues; business-sponsored professional student internships; brownfield redevelopment and finance; public-private agreements for educational and community benefits with advantageous financing; redirecting existing tax-supported program funds without raising taxes; and many more.


This approach exemplifies a new, more self-reliant pathway to providing quality education now. It empowers community and school leaders with the resources they need to take on important projects without waiting for new government or philanthropic funding.


As a benefit corporation, Equity Schools has a legally defined purpose to generate positive impacts for society, the environment, and its employees. Their business is part of a growing trend of enterprises demonstrating that socially conscious work is good business. Read their full 2021-2022 Progress Report here.


About Equity Schools

Equity Schools is a small benefit corporation based in Evanston, Illinois, working nationally to create or improve access to quality education for as many students as possible. The firm works directly with school leaders throughout the US to plan and implement school creation, renovations, expansions, and rescues – with an emphasis on sustainable, alternative funding models. ES projects and funding models have helped tens of thousands of students in 26 states access safe, high quality schools in their communities. To learn more about Equity Schools, Inc., visit


For more information, please call Dave Murray at 312.444.2020, or reach him at

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