Skip to main content

Teach For America 

Learn how The Lynch Foundation partnered with a college student to turn her senior thesis into a nationwide movement that would go on to revolutionize the American education system.

The Story

Most college seniors approach their final paper as the last step in finishing their education. Wendy Kopp approached her senior thesis at Princeton as the first step in completely revolutionizing the American education system.

But it’s easy to find bright, young, ambitious people with thoughts of changing the world--especially at places like Princeton. What’s hard, however, is finding 21-year-old who could actually do it.

The Partnership

The Lynches proudly watched Kopp grow Teach For America from 500 teachers to over 8,000. But despite the program spreading to over 35 cities and rural areas across the country, it was never able to take hold in the Lynch’s home state of Massachusetts. By reuniting with Teach For America in 2008, the Lynch Foundation sent a signal to other area sponsors that TFA was an effective and positive program for Boston school kids. With The Lynch Foundation’s political and financial support, along with the help of other organizations, Teach For America finally launched in Boston, and was soon flourishing, expanding into neighboring towns of Lawrence, Chelsea and Revere.

The Connections

One of the genius aspects of Kopp’s original idea was its ability to create education advocates who would close the education gap, and in just a few short years, the Massachusetts program has done just that. Over 100 TFA alumni hold leadership positions in area schools, including Jeff Riley, Superintendent of Lawrence Public Schools, who created The Sontag Prize in Urban Education, which brings top-educators to Massachusetts to work with underserved youth.

He is just one of the 40 principals, 50 assistant principals and dozens of administrators who began their career with TFA and are now leading local schools and educational initiatives such as KIPP Boston, MATCH Teacher Residency, Edward Brooke Charter School, Achievement Network, Summer Search Boston and UP Education Network, just to name a few. It’s exactly what the Lynches had hoped for when they first supported Kopp’s bold plan over two decades ago, and why they continue to seek out the next brilliant idea they can help support and grow.