Meet the Inaugural CityBridge Launch Fund Entrepreneur: Dr. Omolara O. Fatiregun
CityBridge Education is thrilled to announce Dr. Omolara O. Fatiregun as the inaugural entrepreneur in the CityBridge Launch Fund, a 15-month venture philanthropy investment fund. Dr. Fatiregun is the Founder and CEO of THRIVE!, a venture that uses technology to help school systems and human services agencies root out systemic racism in spending.
Through the Launch Fund, we aim to fund and advise equity-minded ventures that advance our vision of Washington, DC, as a national proofpoint for educational equity and excellence. The CityBridge Launch Fund provides seed funding for early-stage education entrepreneurs as well as consulting support from a bench of seasoned experts and access to our network of education leaders and venture advisors.
“We were compelled by Omolara’s leadership and deep experience in working with government and school systems to advocate for equitable outcomes for young people,” said Rachel Evans, CEO of CityBridge. “THRIVE! was the ideal first investment for our Launch Fund because of its ability to make the invisible visible for schools around their most marginalized students, as well as the centering of research-based strategies that schools and systems leaders can immediately implement.”
THRIVE! helps school systems evaluate their budgets and invest in evidence-based approaches that have been scientifically proven to break cycles of poverty. The software platform first conducts an equity audit, considering the academic and impact evaluation literature on how to close the achievement gap, improve attendance, and reduce disciplinary actions that fuel the school to prison pipeline. It then checks individual school and central office budgets for investments in programs and practices known to work—like strategic resource allocation and school climate interventions. THRIVE! also assesses the extent to which students and parents are empowered in decision-making. Based on this comprehensive analysis, districts get a score and concrete recommendations on how to reallocate resources or partner with other organizations to reduce disparities and improve results and experiences for marginalized students.
Dr. Fatiregun designed THRIVE!’s equity algorithm based on her 20-year career as an impact evaluator, a cabinet-level official in DC’s juvenile justice agency, and a foundation executive. Dr. Fatiregun earned a bachelor’s in Sociology and African American Studies from Harvard, a master’s in public policy from Georgetown, and a doctorate in education leadership from Harvard where she was a Presidential Public Service Fellow and an Adrian Cheng Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Social Innovation + Change Initiative. She has won many innovation awards including the HP Prize for Advancing Digital Equity, MIT Solve, and fellowships from Halcyon and Camelback. Dr. Fatiregun’s work has been featured in Boston Globe, MSN, and Nasdaq.