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2017 Founder’s Letter

Founder's Letters

FOUNDERS LETTER 3 – Ver. 20170414 from John Bryan

This is my third and final Founder’s Letter.  I would like to express my appreciation for the hard work everyone in Team CFA, EFA, AAC, and CF Properties have done over the years.  You have all given of your time and energy beyond just doing a “job”.  Together we have made great strides in showing the greater school choice movement what can be done to bring a better education to all kids at a lower cost.  Thank all of you so much!

For ten years, the Bryan family has provided most of the financial support for our efforts.  Now, as I retire, this responsibility will pass to others from the private investment and philanthropic communities.  In either case, they will be charged with the task of promoting our mission statement which is, “To support the development of academically rigorous, financially sustainable Team CFA charter schools by employing proven academic, business and governance practices and leveraging the free market to support the broader school choice movement.”

Under the leadership of Team CFA, AAC, and CFP, Martha and I will continue to support this network of organizations with contributions of $505,000 per month through August 1, 2017.  While Martha and I will remain personally committed to the organization’s success, our financial commitment will end at that time.  Any subsequent money transferred will have to come through grant requests.

I am excited about the new North Carolina law which allows knowledgeable and experienced entities the possibility of taking over failing traditional public schools.  By raising a school’s “F” rating to a “C” rating within two years, such entities could gain permanent ownership and control of that school.  If our organizations can show how this works for the good of a community, this approach could expand to other states, hopefully across the country!!  How exciting that would be!  And our team could be of help to others who want to travel the same road.

As of the end of 2016 I have committed significant economic resources to political candidates and 501(c)4 organizations dedicated to school choice.  Also, during 2016, significant economic resources were provided for investment advisory services, LLCs, and to conduct negotiations with other philanthropists dedicated to school choice.  The culmination of these and other efforts was the passage of the aforementioned North Carolina law on July 22, 2016.  In this year’s North Carolina legislative session, fourteen additional bills are advancing.

The leadership of Team CFA and AAC have opted to use a 501(c)3 organization as the vehicle to attract funds necessary to expand their networks of schools through this law.  Unfortunately, this interpretation of the North Carolina law does not allow for-profit entities to compete for these contracts.  Going forward, I therefore plan to invest $1.85 million in a separate and independent effort to further expand the charter school movement by incorporating private investment.

While the 501(c)3 and private investment approaches offer unique political, economic, and strategic advantages, their success will be mutually reinforcing within the school improvement movement.  We believe there are many outside investors anxious to invest part of their earnings into philanthropic investments and are willing to cap their investment earnings at fifteen percent, an innovation of our investment advisor.  We also believe that many investors would be willing to redirect extra earnings into supporting our not-for-profit efforts.

The new administration in Washington seems to be very open to pushing an agenda for school choice. That is a very positive atmosphere in which to work for the good of underserved families in all demographics.  Perhaps this would be a perfect fit for public/private partnerships.  Going forward, our whole team could be looking for opportunities to promote that scenario.

Again, as I retire from active participation in all these efforts, I thank you for your dedication to school choice. It has been an honor to work alongside every one of you.  I will be supportive of your ongoing efforts to continue and broaden your reach.

- John Bryan

The information, views and opinions expressed in these Founder's Letters belong to the author in his private capacity and are not necessarily reflective of the official policy or position of TeamCFA Foundation, its Board of Directors, employees, affiliated schools or volunteers.

2017 Founder's Letter

Posted: April 24, 2017

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