Self-Help Shares

New Charter School Brings Opportunity to an Underserved District

By Staff
  | Aug 29, 2018

charter school children

Photo from IDEA Public Schools at

As many kids head back to school, we are happy to celebrate the opening of a new charter school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Working with three other lending partners, Self-Help financed an $8 million loan to New Schools for Baton Rouge to construct a permanent K-12 campus for IDEA Innovation, one of two IDEA Public Schools Louisiana campuses opening this year. IDEA Public Schools is a charter school network known for achieving high academic success in underserved educational districts.

The new school will be part of the East Baton Rouge Parish School System, which serves over 41,000 students in a high-needs area. This school system has the largest number of students in Louisiana attending “D” and “F” rated schools. Eighty-four percent of students are economically disadvantaged, and 71% are African American students who are also eligible for a free or reduced-price lunch.

In a report released in 2014 by the Council of Great City Schools, the East Baton Rouge Parish School System performance was ranked among the worst of all districts nationally.

IDEA Public Schools is committed to bringing positive changes to the community. The organization’s philosophy is that “every child can and will succeed if given the opportunity.” As a result, their schools prepare all of their students for college. This philosophy comes across loud and clear at their new IDEA Innovation campus, where bold murals and positive slogans cover the walls. According to IDEA, 100% of students in their network have been accepted to college.

Self-Help began lending to public charter schools in 1998 to support social entrepreneurs working to provide strong educational choices in underserved communities. As a community development financial institution (CDFI), we focus on high-performing schools that prioritize service to low-income children. Three other CDFI lenders are partnering in the financing of this project: Reinvestment Fund, Capital Impact Partners, and Hope Federal Credit Union.

IDEA building

The Reinvestment Fund, Capital Impact Partners, Hope Federal Credit Union and Self-Help teamed up to finance a beautiful new building for IDEA Public Schools Louisiana. (Photo credit: New Schools for Baton Rouge.)

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