How the Venture Fund & Fellowship is turning “good ideas” into real impact | Leadership for Educational Equity Skip to main content

How the Venture Fund & Fellowship is turning “good ideas” into real impact

“Some good ideas stay just that — good ideas,” says LEE member John Rodrigues (TFA Bay Area ’08), founder and executive director of ThinkLexic.

But as John knows, the Venture Fund & Fellowship can help turn your good idea for educational equity into reality.

The Venture Fund & Fellowship is an intensive six-month program to grow your leadership skills and your civic venture. With the help of individualized coaching, trainings and technical assistance worth $55,000 — and up to $100,000 in funding — you’ll have the support you need to maximize your impact for students.

Since 2015, 18 fellows have already taken their organizations to the next level.

John is a 2017 Venture Fellow whose own experience with dyslexia and drive to make the world a better place for students with the disability led him to create ThinkLexic.

By coupling the best research with action for change, ThinkLexic is taking on issues like the school-to-prison pipeline (“where illiteracy and recidivism are tragically entangled”) and the astounding rates at which students with dyslexia go unidentified in underserved schools.

“I wasn’t the dumb kid — I was the dyslexic kid. The way they were teaching me wasn’t the way I learned. Reaching these kids and saving them the heartache is what motivates my work,” John said.

With the support of Venture Fund & Fellowship, John has refined his organizational strategy, clarified ThinkLexic’s theory of change, and is broadening the scope of his young organization’s impact.

“There’s a steep learning curve in this kind of work,” he said, “and LEE has been an invaluable guide. I’d say it’s like we envisioned a place in the sky where we wanted to venture, and when LEE came around, they not only helped us chart the path, but they also gave us the rocket fuel we needed to break through the atmosphere.

Read more about John’s story and his vision for how ThinkLexic will help end educational inequity.

Ready to get your good idea off the ground? Take just five minutes to start the Venture Fund & Fellowship application process.