Andre Agassi, Bobby Turner and other leaders from the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund joined with KIPP San Antonio, former San Antonio Mayor Henry Cisneros, and other dignitaries today to celebrate the opening of the KIPP San Antonio Cevallos Campus, the permanent home for three KIPP San Antonio public schools and the fund's second investment in the city.
Opened this past August, the KIPP San Antonio Cevallos Campus is located at 239 Stark Street in Downtown San Antonio. The campus will be the permanent home for KIPP Esperanza Dual Language Academy, KIPP Aspire Academy and KIPP University Prep, to serve more than 1,900 students in grades K-12 at capacity.
For more than 10 years, KIPP San Antonio has built a strong track record of preparing students for success in college and in life through its growing network of public, tuition-free charter schools. KIPP San Antonio schools foster a strong culture of achievement and support with outstanding educators, an extended school day and a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum. Part of the national KIPP network, KIPP San Antonio schools currently serve more than 2,900 students across six schools in west and central San Antonio; at full scale, the network will serve more than 9,000 students in 15 schools inside Loop 410.
The 165,500-square-foot campus — built from the ground up, and one of Downtown San Antonio's first new public school campuses in decades — was developed by the Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund, an innovative, mission-driven investment fund that provides resources and real estate expertise to high-performing charter school operators across the nation, enabling them to access top-quality facilities.
"The Turner-Agassi mission is to give top charter schools the facilities they need to continue to successfully serve their students," said Bobby Turner, the fund's Co-Managing Partner and Principal & CEO of Turner Impact Capital. "We're especially proud of this investment, since it's one of the first new public schools built in Downtown San Antonio in decades. We're glad to continue our work with KIPP San Antonio with this new campus, which will empower thousands of new students to achieve success in college and life."
Securing high-quality, long-term facilities is often the greatest impediment faced by charter school leaders. Turner-Agassi provides resources, development experience and a passion for educational excellence to help top school operators focus on their first priority: helping students succeed.
A joint venture of Turner Impact Capital and Agassi Ventures, Turner-Agassi is backed by a world-class group of institutional investors who share a commitment to effecting positive societal change in urban markets across the United States while pursuing fair financial returns. It is positioned to invest more than $500 million to develop an additional 100 schools serving 55,000 students. To date, 69 schools have been developed across the country, providing seats for 35,200 students in such communities as North Philadelphia, Newark, the Bronx, Southwest Detroit, South Dallas, and North Las Vegas.
"The construction of this brand new school in a key part of San Antonio's urban core will connect high-quality education to a historically underserved population," said Andre Agassi, the fund's Co-Managing Partner and CEO of Agassi Ventures. "KIPP San Antonio's mission is exactly in line with the goals of our fund: to make a great education available to all while boosting investment in local neighborhoods."
Dedicated to generating "profits with a purpose," Turner Impact Capital is an acknowledged leader and innovator in the growing field of social impact investing – an investment approach that takes into account two goals: generating positive, risk-adjusted financial returns and creating purposeful, measurable, and positive social or environmental impact through those investments. Founded in 2014, the firm is on course to surpass $2.5 billion in investment potential to address challenges facing urban neighborhoods while delivering superior risk-adjusted returns for its investors.
The KIPP San Antonio Cevallos Campus is Turner-Agassi's second investment in San Antonio as part of its partnership with the national KIPP network, the nation's largest network of charter schools. In 2014, the fund worked alongside KIPP San Antonio to develop KIPP Commerce Campus. Turner-Agassi first partnered with KIPP to open a new elementary school in North Philadelphia in 2011.
"Today marks a huge moment for our students, who now call this beautiful, brand-new campus home," said Mark Larson, Founder & CEO of KIPP San Antonio. "It also marks a major milestone in our growth as we continue to prove what is possible in public education. We are thankful for our partnership with Turner-Agassi that helped us build a top-notch campus that matches the best teaching and learning that is happening within its walls."
The KIPP Cevallos Campus includes state-of-the-art classrooms, science labs, a library and media room, a cafeteria, playgrounds, a full gym and full-size soccer fields. KIPP San Antonio schools are open-enrollment public charter schools, and KIPP San Antonio specifically aims to significantly increase the number of students from educationally underserved communities who are equipped with the knowledge, skills and character to succeed at the college level and beyond.
"I grew up in San Antonio as part of a family and a community that valued and encouraged my education, which is the reason I was able to lead this great city for eight years," said former Mayor Henry Cisneros. "I'm encouraged to know that these students – and many more in the years to come – will benefit from the support and encouragement of KIPP teachers and administrators who will help them realize their greatest potential."
"KIPP San Antonio and the Mays Family Foundation share a common value: that education is the key to success," said Kathy Mays Johnson, President of the Mays Family Foundation. "With this brand-new facility, coupled with KIPP's dedication to outstanding teaching and support, there's no limit to what these students can achieve."
The Turner-Agassi Charter School Facilities Fund takes the lead in site selection, acquisition, design and construction for new school facilities, which are then leased back to school operators, who can purchase their schools once they reach full occupancy. The fund intends to help operators obtain permanent financing using New Market Tax Credits, tax-exempt bond offerings or funding from the U.S. Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund.
"KIPP San Antonio is exactly the kind of high-achieving charter school network that the Turner-Agassi fund was designed to accelerate," said Glenn Pierce, President of Education Initiatives at Turner Impact Capital. "By harnessing market forces, we are able to scale a sustainable educational solution to benefit thousands of students in San Antonio and other cities across the nation."