About Us


We help new charter schools get started, support existing schools and build community support so that highly effective schools can flourish.

Located in downtown Manhattan, the Charter Center is the focal point of New York City’s growing charter school movement. Every day, educators, policy-makers, parents, philanthropists, businesspeople, and visionaries pass through our doors, ready to engage the public in achieving a single goal: creating high quality school options for our City’s children.


When the New York Charter Law passed in 1998, many thought the charter movement would reenergize the public school system, providing an impetus for higher education standards across the state. However, the movement got off to a slow start and the quality of charter schools suffered as school leaders became increasingly preoccupied with the operational challenges of running non-profit organizations. With the charter movement at a standstill, a group of philanthropists, galvanized by then Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, gathered to discuss the future of New York City’s charter schools.

It was from those discussions that the Charter Center first began to take form. Founded in 2004, we opened our doors as an independent, non-profit, one-stop-shop dedicated to fostering a high quality charter school sector in New York City. Our Citywide Strategy was the first of its kind in the country and has created a new support paradigm.

In the years since, the city has added hundreds of new charter schools (197 schools in 2014-15) and shows no signs of letting up. Now serving 83,200 students, NYC’s charter sector is one of the top performing in the country, consistently narrowing the achievement gap with schools in more affluent suburbs. While these achievements are truly the work of the school leaders themselves, the Charter Center continues to be a strong enabling force behind their success.


The Charter Center supports charter schools at every stage. Our work to create an environment where charters can truly flourish revolves around four goals:

  1. Foster a favorable public policy environment
  2. Strengthen new schools’ capacity for success
  3. Promote sustainability and operational excellence
  4. Implement Charter 3.0: Make the charter model meaningful


Our work is supported by local and national funders interested in building and maintaining a system of great public schools for all children in NYC.

Interested in supporting NYC’s charter movement? Contact Christina Brown.