We’ve gotten a few questions about recent reports that we gave $25,500 to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. Please see below for a press release about the subgrant and its purposes.

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PRESS RELEASE
Mississippi First
MacKenzie Stroh
Director of Communications
mackenzie@mississippifirst.org
662.743.4055
On behalf of the Mississippi Charter Schools Association, Mississippi First subgrants $25,500 to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board

JACKSON, MS—On December 30, 2013, the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board accepted a $25,500 subgrant from Mississippi First on behalf of the Mississippi Charter Schools Association.  Since September 2013, Mississippi First has served as the fiscal sponsor for the Mississippi Charter Schools Association (MCSA), a newly formed nonprofit whose mission is to “drive the development and growth of high-quality public charter schools through school support, advocacy, and outreach.” The MCSA, through Mississippi First, raised these funds in order to support high-quality authorizing by the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board. The grant will enable the Board to join the National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA), pay for training from NACSA, and employ external reviewers in its first application process.

Rachel Canter, Executive Director of Mississippi First, stated, “As the fiscal sponsor of the Mississippi Charter Schools Association, Mississippi First was pleased to be able to facilitate a $25,500 subgrant to the Mississippi Charter Schools Authorizer Board. We know that ensuring a high-performing public charter school sector takes more than just a strong law; it also takes strong authorizing. This grant will enable the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board to work with the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, the national leader in authorizing best practices.”
Fiscal sponsorship is a normal arrangement between new nonprofits that have not yet received their 501c3 designation and established nonprofits. This arrangement allows a new nonprofit to begin operating while it waits for the IRS to review its application, which can take several months. As the fiscal sponsor of the MCSA, Mississippi First receives and disburses all funds for the MCSA; MCSA has no funds independently of Mississippi First. This legal relationship is why the recent grant to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board is from Mississippi First and not the MCSA. This subgrant is not connected to the other donation to the Mississippi Charter School Authorizer Board from the Mississippi Common Trust Fund nor is Mississippi First or the MCSA in any way affiliated with the Mississippi Common Trust Fund.
Mississippi First was founded in 2008 by Rachel Canter and Sanford Johnson. Mississippi First is a 501c3 public policy non-profit specializing in education reform. For more information about Mississippi First, visit www.mississippifirst.org or contact MacKenzie Stroh at 662-743-4055. For more information about the Mississippi Charter Schools Association, contact Erika Berry at 601-345-2009.