Our History

The Marcus Foster Education Institute (formerly the Marcus A. Foster Education Fund) was founded by and later renamed for the late Oakland Schools’ superintendent in 1973, and has served Oakland since its founding. Dr. Foster looked at Oakland, with its many problems common to inner cities across the country, and saw great opportunity. He believed that schools could be improved by educators, parents, business people, and civic leaders all working together.

The Institute’s initial purpose was to raise discretionary funds to promote excellence in Oakland schools, through the collaborative efforts of Oakland’s diverse communities. It was renamed after Dr. Foster’s death that same year, but remains committed to the original goal: to provide Oakland students with educational opportunities, and to work with the community to meet student needs.

In MFEI’s early years, it was the first institute of its kind in the country. Since then, it has been both a resource and a blueprint for the development of more than 300 local educational funds throughout the United States.

Today, we are still working with Oakland’s teachers, students, and community leaders to realize Dr. Foster’s dream: to give Oakland students the opportunity to achieve excellence.