ELP Ventures: Supporting Innovation in Public Education for Chicago’s Global Future, published in June 2012, is the third report in the Emerging Leaders Perspectives series. The report by The Chicago Council’s Emerging Leaders Class of 2010 calls for the establishment of a venture philanthropy fund to increase the global competitiveness of Chicago’s students. The fund would support innovative projects focused on critical areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills and global competence that can be scaled up to work across broad areas of the Chicago Public School system.
According to the report, ELP Ventures would focus on achieving measurable, short-term outcomes with lasting impact on teachers, principals, students, and the global reach of the academic environment. Potential investments would distinguish themselves through their scalability, reach, entrepreneurial strength, access to underserved communities, uniqueness, and ability to disrupt the educational status quo. Roughly twenty to thirty early-stage opportunities (between $50,000 and $250,000 per project) would form the core of ELP Ventures’ intended $10 million investment portfolio, once the effort is launched. A subset of initiatives that prove sufficiently successful in the pilot phase would then be rolled out system-wide.
The twenty Emerging Leaders who contributed to the report have experience in education, venture philanthropy, law, and civic leadership in Chicago. They devoted a year to in-depth study of the education and venture philanthropy spheres, including discussions with the leading thinkers across the country on these issues and examinations of other models of success.