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City Fund Founder Neerav Kingsland to Step Down From National K-12 Education Nonprofit; Marlon Marshall Named New CEO

Marlon Marshall will be the new CEO of City Fund with founder Neerav Kingsland stepping down from his role as Managing Partner.

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National K-12 education nonprofit City Fund today announced veteran political leader and current City Fund partner Marlon Marshall will lead the organization as CEO starting next month, with founder Neerav Kingsland stepping down from his role as Managing Partner. 

“As schools struggle to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic and the associated learning loss, City Fund is doubling down on its strategy of helping cities create a system of quality schools that meet the diverse needs of all students,” the organization told supporters in a Thursday email obtained by The 74. “Marlon is well positioned to lead City Fund in the next stage of its work.”

The full announcement is printed below. 

Before joining City Fund as a partner in 2020, Marshall was a founding partner at the progressive political strategy firm 270 Strategies. Previously, he served in the Obama White House Office of Public Engagement as special assistant to the president and principal deputy director. He was also deputy national field director for the Obama re-election campaign and states director for Hillary for America.

A City Fund spokesperson notes that Marshall’s selection as CEO came with the unanimous endorsement of City Fund’s partner team and the organization’s board, which includes Founder and Co-Chair of Arnold Ventures John Arnold, Walton Family Foundation Director of K-12 Education Programs Romy Drucker, Netflix Chairman/CEO Reed Hastings and Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard.

In describing Marshall’s journey to the organization, today’s email notes he is the son of a public school teacher who has served students in St. Louis for over 35 years: “Marlon brings first hand experience with the challenges and opportunities in our urban public school systems. He is a fierce advocate for creating more great schools for the kids and families who need them most.”

Marshall will assume the role of CEO in November; Kingsland will transition into a senior advisor role for the rest of the year before joining the organization’s board in 2023.

Kingsland’s founding of City Fund in 2018 marked the culmination of more than 15 years spent working on efforts to improve educational opportunities across the country. City Fund works to reform public school systems by providing funding support to local leaders, educators, and advocates. Under Kingsland’s leadership, City Fund has helped to launch 132 schools across 15 cities.

In a Feb. 2020 essay that looked back at the organization’s first year and ahead to the key education priorities in City Fund cities, Kinglsand wrote that “over the past decade, cities like Denver, New Orleans and Washington, D.C., saw citywide improvement by empowering educators to run nonprofit schools, giving parents the freedom to find the education that is the best fit for their child and implementing citywide policies like transparent enrollment systems designed to ensure equity for all students. 

“Our country is increasingly polarized, and our federal government is often deadlocked,” he continued. “But pragmatic city leaders are finding solutions in their communities.”

Kingsland is departing City Fund to join the leadership team at Anthropic, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) safety and research company.

Read the City Fund’s full Thursday announcement: 

Dear Partners and Friends of City Fund,

After more than fifteen years dedicated to improving educational opportunities for students, Neerav Kingsland will transition from his role as Managing Partner of the City Fund to a seat on the Board. Neerav will also pursue the next step in his professional career outside of education. 

We’re incredibly grateful to Neerav for his founding vision and tireless effort in growing the City Fund to where it is today. Hundreds of thousands of students have been touched by his work and the impact will be felt for generations.  

We’re thrilled to announce that Marlon Marshall will be the new CEO of City Fund. Marlon joined the organization two years ago after two decades in national politics fiercely pursuing policies to improve the lives of the families we serve. The son of a public school teacher in St. Louis for over 35 years, Marlon brings first hand experience with the challenges and opportunities in our urban public school systems. He is a fierce advocate for creating more great schools for the kids and families who need them most. 

Marlon is well positioned to lead City Fund in the next stage of its work. As schools struggle to recover from the devastating impact of the pandemic and the associated learning loss, City Fund is doubling down on its strategy of helping cities create a system of quality schools that meet the diverse needs of all students. City Fund has never been better positioned to execute on this mission. 

We appreciate the support and partnership with you and your organizations. Together, we will commence the next stage of this work to provide better educational outcomes for all children.

The City Fund Board of Directors

Disclosure: The City Fund provides financial support to The 74. City Fund Board Member Romy Drucker is also the co-founder of The 74 and sits on the organization’s board of directors; she played no part in the reporting or editing of this article. 

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