University of Miami Race & Social Justice Law Review

Document Type



In the decades-long rise of neoliberalism, venture philanthropy has emerged as a respected solution towards addressing reforms to public education. Private foundations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have led the charge for education development in the United States. However, the infusion of private donations and adoption of business models to a public good have not improved educational outcomes. This article addresses the role of venture philanthropy in reinforcing racial and economic disparities in educational resources and attainment through the lens of Gates Foundation initiatives. Specifically, the article dissects the role of neoliberalism in crafting education policies through private funding and discusses how the Foundation’s failed ventures—such as the small school initiative, charter school expansion, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on standardized testing—have served to reinforce a status quo of “winners and losers.” The article concludes with suggested democratic solutions to achieve equitable educational reform.