Application for Sponsorship

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, rated "Effective" by the  Ohio Department of Education, is an authorizer of “community” schools—which is this state’s term for charter schools. In addition to the dozen charters that we currently sponsor, we are eager to work with individuals and organizations that have the capacity to start and sustain more academically strong schools in underserved communities. Ohio needs many more such schools, and our application window is wide open—but please understand that we will only authorize schools that serve kids well.

Sponsoring Priorities

We are focused on sponsoring excellent new schools in Ohio communities that presently lack enough high‐quality options for children who need them, particularly schools that can be expected to do an exemplary job of educating disadvantaged students. We will also consider existing high-performing schools that seek (for sound reasons) to change sponsors. Both new and existing schools will be vetted via our application process. Although we are a statewide authorizer, we are currently only sponsoring schools in our established schools regions which include Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton, and Portsmouth.

We will not consider applications for virtual (online) schools or dropout-recovery schools but will consider schools who use blended-learning platforms as defined in Ohio law.

To learn more about the application process, please click the Learn More button below to visit our sponsorship application page


Learn More

About Us

In 2004, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation was approved by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to serve as a statewide sponsor of community (i.e., charter) schools—making us the first nonprofit organization in the Buckeye State to acquire such a responsibility. For a decade and a half, we have sought to improve school choices for families, provide individual grants to support the creation and improvement of charter schools, and support quality schools throughout the state, particularly in our hometown of Dayton. We were selected by the National Association for Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) as one of five authorizers nationally to participate in NACSA’s Quality Practice Project, which examines authorizer practices associated with high-quality school portfolios.

Our approach to chartering balances school autonomy with accountability. In exchange for the freedom to operate independently, schools are responsible for producing solid results. We believe that this balance is critical to ensuring success for students and schools.

For more information on Fordham's sponsorship work, please see our Sponsorship Annual Report.

Fordham Sponsored Schools

The Fordham Foundation currently sponsors 15 public charter schools, which occupy 19 individual buildings across four cities in Ohio. Together, our sponsored schools serve about 6,000 students.

Read More

School Resources

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation has actively sponsored charter schools in Ohio since 2005, and our portfolio includes some of Ohio’s highest performing and most highly regarded schools. As such, we have developed expertise in all the core areas of Ohio charter sponsorship, including charter school laws and regulations, finance, school evaluations, governance, compliance, facilities, new school start-up, school closure, managing the application process for new schools, contract management, school monitoring, and charter renewal decisions. We regularly provide technical assistance in these areas to our sponsored schools. Additional resources that may be helpful are included below.

View Resources

FSAR 2023 cover

Ohio Sponsorship’s Annual Report

Our 2022-23 Fordham Sponsorship Annual Report shares our work during the last school year, overseeing thirteen schools that served approximately 6,000 students in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati and Portsmouth, Ohio. We value this opportunity to keep stakeholders and the public informed about our efforts, provide information on each of the schools we sponsor and provide a transparent look at the performance of our portfolio of schools.

The report also highlights the most significant projects produced by our research teams at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute’s Ohio and national offices.

Download The Report