Stronger Together

B. J. Cassin is no stranger to the idea that small investments can generate outsized results. That is the foundation of the venture capital industry—the business in which Cassin has earned his fortune over the last 35 years. So it is no surprise that Cassin’s next big move in K-12 education philanthropy will invest in carefully selected schools, educational entrepreneurs, and school networks with the intention of “transforming” faith-based and private schooling.

Cassin was one of the most important funders behind the growth of Chicago’s acclaimed Cristo Rey Jesuit High School from a single site in 2000 to a network of 28 high schools in 18 states and D.C. today (with more on the way). These Catholic schools now serve 9,000 students per year, the vast majority of them racial or ethnic minorities from ­low-income homes. With its innovative work-study model of four students sharing a job at a company, the network is affordable for families and fiscally sustainable. In 2014, all of its graduates were accepted to college.

Now Cassin is seeking to amplify this success. Continue reading “Stronger Together”

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Desert Educator

There are few institutions that generate more affection in the hearts of donors than excellent small colleges. And no college in America is smaller, nor really more excellent, than Deep Springs, an idiosyncratic place nestled a mile above sea level in the California high desert bordered by the White and Inyo mountain ranges. At any one time, Deep Springs is home to two dozen of the most academically qualified young men in America, who are attracted by its offer of two years of intense academic study, hard ranch work for 20 hours per week, and practical lessons in self-governance—all 100 percent free. Its graduates usually go on to complete their degrees at America’s most prestigious universities, and more than half of all attendees have ended up with doctoral degrees.

All this is precisely as Lucien Nunn intended. Continue reading “Desert Educator”

Back to Bill

Bill Daniels was never one to back down from a fight. As a scrappy, undisciplined youth, he may have even picked a few of those fights. In high school, as a Golden Gloves state boxing champion, he learned how to fight fair and square. And later in his life—after years spent as a naval combat pilot, a cable television pioneer in an industry that battled many times for its survival, and as a political candidate bloodied more than once by the process—Daniels proved that he knew what it meant to fight for a cause he believed in.

Perhaps no fight was as important to Daniels as the cause of freedom. Twice he put his life on the line in defense of freedom, first against fascism, then against communism, in the Second World War and again in the Korean conflict. Continue reading “Back to Bill”