SOURCE: California Charter Schools Association

March 27, 2007 17:46 ET

Doris and Donald Fisher Awarded Charter School Movement Supporters of the Year

Long-Time Charter School Movement Supporters Recognized for Outstanding Efforts and Continued Contributions to Education Reform

SAN DIEGO, CA -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 27, 2007 -- The California Charter Schools Association today recognized Doris and Donald Fisher as "Charter School Movement Supporters of the Year" annual Hart Vision Award recipients. The Fishers were presented with the award at this year's 14th Annual California Charter Schools Conference in San Diego.

"The charter school movement is so grateful to have the vision of Doris and Don supporting model schools in California as well as across the nation," said Caprice Young, president and CEO of the California Charter Schools Association. "Their commitment and support of charter public schools has allowed thousands of students to have a variety of options in the public school system and provided more tools to better equip teachers for success in the classroom."

Since founding the Gap, Inc. in 1969, the Fishers have been heavily involved in a variety of philanthropic activities, and have focused their efforts on improving educational opportunities for public school students, especially those who have traditionally been denied access to high-quality public schools in the United States.

The Fishers are leading philanthropists in the field of K-12 public education. Since 1998, Doris and Don have given almost $100 million to organizations serving educationally disadvantaged students to gain the academic knowledge and skills required for an unfettered pursuit of opportunity in America.

Don Fisher is a public school servant. He is currently the longest-serving member of the California State Board of Education. He was originally appointed by Governor Gray Davis and took office in March of 2001, and was re-appointed to the position by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in August of 2005.

In particular, the Fishers are among the nation's leading supporters of the charter school movement both in California and nationally. Doris and Don are the driving force behind the expansion of the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) charter public schools -- a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory charter public schools in under-resourced communities throughout the United States. Doris and Don have contributed over $40 million to fuel KIPP's growth.

KIPP's 52 schools are now serving over 12,000 students. More than 80 percent of those students are low-income and more than 95 percent are African American or Hispanic/Latino. KIPP schools have been widely recognized for putting underserved students on the path to college. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of KIPP alumni have matriculated to college.

In addition to their significant support of the KIPP charter schools, Doris and Don have supported a number of other high-quality charter school organizations -- Lighthouse Academies, Green Dot Public Schools and Leadership Public Schools.

Doris and Don also support several organizations that support the growth of high-quality public charter schools across the country, including the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the California Charter Schools Association, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and the Charter School Growth Fund. The Fishers have also demonstrated longstanding support for Teach for America and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

The Hart Vision Awards were created in honor of retired California Senator and former California Secretary of Education Gary Hart. During his tenure as state legislator, Hart was the author of California's charter school legislation. For this reason, the California Charter Schools Association honors his legacy by presenting annual awards to charter educators for their contributions to educational reform and improved student achievement. Since 1995, the Association has presented more than 40 Hart Vision Awards.

About the California Charter Schools Association

The California Charter Schools Association is California's premier charter school membership organization and is the public voice for California's 618 charter schools that currently serve 220,000 students. The Association's mission is to improve student achievement by strengthening and expanding high-quality charter public schools throughout California.

Contact Information

    Gary Larson
    Vice President of Communications
    California Charter Schools Association
    (415) 722-0127