The Marcus Foster Education Institute is a compassionate, collaborative organization seeking to help realize transformative educational equity for the Oakland community. We are a collection of servant leaders committed to innovation and accountability to improving the supports, rigor, expectations and outcomes of high academic achievement among the most disenfranchised students. Our work is achieved through serving as a backbone organization to critical initiatives targeting the Oakland schools and the Bay Area’s education community. To that end, our goal is systemic collective impacts through convening, data collection, policy and advocacy, intervention design, implementation oversight and evaluation for student improvements at scale. We are committed to urging real, sustained change and raising and investing the resources for the Oakland community to get there.
Dr. Marcus A. Foster (March 31, 1923 – November 8, 1973)
The erudite and engaging Dr. Foster was a remarkable and pioneering education reformer in Philadelphia, PA when he was recruited to take the helm of the Oakland Public Schools. That was in 1970; a tumultuous time for American society in general and Oakland in particular. A Simbianese Liberation Army assassin’s bullet took the life of Dr. Foster, allegedly because of a misguided radicalism and a misinterpretation of Dr. Foster’s philosophies and intended policies. Seeking an understanding of this incomprehensibly, senseless event does nothing to remedy the ultimate sacrifice made by Dr. Foster, his family’s loss or that of the Oakland community.
Dr. Foster ushered in an era of creativity and innovation in educational offerings for Oakland students. In his three year tenure as Superintendent, he garnered a great deal of respect and admiration for his commitment, passion and expertise to blaze a trail of opportunity for the students of Oakland. Dr. Foster established MFEI as the Oakland Education Fund, the first of its kind in the nation, to support innovation in the schools. The Oakland Education Fund financially backed the development and implementation of what worked for kids with private sources of support and was renamed in his honor following his death. Dr. Foster was a staunch advocate for children from families with lower incomes to have the same enriching experiences, such as musical instruction, exposure to arts and culture and the expectation that they could achieve great things in school and in life. He also believed deeply in supporting and nurturing educators and administrators devoted to this vision of achievement for all. During its 40 year history, MFEI has continued to raise and facilitate the funneling of private resources to support the educational and enrichment needs of Oakland’s youth.
Every day, the MFEI staff attempts to honor and emulate Dr. Foster’s legacy and vision of unbounded academic achievement among Oakland’s most important resource-its children.