Looking Ahead to 2020

To deeply embed experiential learning in 15 of the highest need cities across the country,
REAL School Gardens has launched a four-year Strategic Growth Plan.

The plan will leverage a one-time $6M growth capital campaign to fuel our expansion, accelerating our growth from serving 10 new schools a year in Texas and the Mid-Atlantic to serving more than 130 new schools each year across six regions and 15 cities.

2020 Growth Plan Goals

Geographic Expansion

    • Launch operations for four new regions
    • Expand current regions (Mid-Atlantic and Texas) and new regions to serve school districts in 12 new cities

Product Diversification and Scale-Up

    • Introduce and scale professional learning program for schools with existing gardens
    • Build 67 new outdoor classrooms; activate 218 existing gardens

Deepen Teacher Engagement

    • Launch online Coaching Center to support professional learning program
    • Expand curriculum to include 180+ new lessons on STEM, English Language Arts, environmental literacy, and nutrition education
    • Deepen evaluation to align with national teacher evaluation systems


Financial Plan

By 2020, REAL School Gardens’ annual operating budget will increase 300% to $8M. While the growth plan will be fueled initially by capital investment, the financial sustainability plan includes a mix of revenue from regional philanthropy (35%) and earned income (65%) derived from school fees and corporate partners that leverage garden-building projects for employee volunteerism. Each region will reach financial sustainability by its fourth year of operation.

Progress to Date

(July 1, 2016–April 1, 2017)
Geographic Expansion

  • Successfully launched first new region–The Carolinas (Region 3)
  • Expanded reach to serve districts in two new markets: Charlotte and Baltimore
  • Piloting school partnership in Nashville (potential Region 4)
  • Preparing to launch second new region – The Southeast on July 1, 2017
  • Conducting due diligence on Regions 5-6 (considering Ohio and Florida)

Product Diversification and Scale-Up

  • Introduced standalone professional learning program for schools with existing gardens
  • Expanded new school partners in two existing regions (Mid-Atlantic and Texas) by 100% (from FY16)
  • Built 7 outdoor classrooms; Activated 20 existing gardens
  • Deepen Teacher Engagement
  • Hired National Director of Training & Curriculum Development to lead education program and ensure program fidelity across regions
  • Created 30 new lessons aligned with Common Core and Next Gen Science Standards; filmed training videos to accompany 10 new lessons
  • Constructed digital education platform and designed user interface
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