Leading Philanthropists Launch excellent Schools OC to Support a New Generation of Educational Innovators in Orange County

May 18, 2016

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Andrew Horowitz, Innovators OC
(949) 813-8234

Mark Percy, Innovators OC
(949) 338-5407

Dannie Tillman, CCSA
(213) 924-2439

(Orange County) - In November 2014, Innovators OC (IOC) announced the creation of Charters OC, a unique partnership with the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) to increase the development of additional high-performing and high-quality charter schools in Orange County. As a result, a number of exceptional educational options for some of Orange County's most needy children will open in the fall of 2016, including USC College Prep in Santa Ana and Unity Middle College High School in Orange.

Today, that partnership takes another step forward with the formation of a new entity, excellent Schools OC (eSOC). The eSOC business plan outlines a concerted strategy to finance the growth and development of these and other newly approved independent charter schools in Orange County, led by a new generation of devoted and passionate educational innovators. All will serve low-income learners.

"While charter schools are public schools, they often do not enjoy many of the advantages of traditional public schools in the start-up phase, including access to prime facilities. Once they are established and reach full capacity, charters are largely self-sufficient; a little philanthropic help up front for one school can produce decades of educational excellence in some of our most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods," said eSOC managing partner and founding IOC member Andrew Horowitz.

Oliver Sicat, CEO of Ednovate (the Charter Management Organization behind USC College Prep) and one of the top educational social entrepreneurs in the U.S., added, "It is a lifelong dream to see that more high quality school options are provided for underserved kids in neighborhoods like the one in Santa Ana where my family decided to start living out our American Dream. In today's economy a quality education is essential for success, and that benefit should not depend solely on a family's zip code."

"Orange County's experience with educating underserved kids has differed from Los Angeles, San Diego, and the Bay Area. It has not experienced the same academic progress for students who need additional educational options to succeed when compared to these other areas with thriving charter ecosystems," said Jed Wallace, CCSA, president and CEO. "Fortunately, that is changing rapidly and we are excited to see support from visionary philanthropists emerge in OC."

"Over the last two years, almost $1.25 million has been raised from a strong core of dedicated local philanthropists," noted founding IOC member and eSOC managing partner Mark Percy. "eSOC will continue to seek additional strategic partners to provide financial resources and expertise for this noteworthy effort."

A copy of the eSOC business plan is available from IOC upon request.

About Innovators OC
Innovators OC invests in individuals and organizations in Orange County who are working in innovative ways to create self-sustaining enterprises that address social problems by becoming effective agents of positive community and economic impact. We achieve this goal by providing access to expertise, mentorship, and strategic partnerships. www.innovatorsoc.com

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at www.ccsa.org.