Dr. Marcus A. Foster was a remarkable and pioneering education reformer in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania public school system when he was recruited to take the helm of the Oakland Unified School District. He ushered in an era of creativity and innovation in educational offerings for Oakland students. Dr. Foster established MFEI as the Oakland Education Fund (OEF), 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 students using private sources of support. The OEF was renamed the Marcus A. Foster Educational Institute in honor of Dr. Foster following his assassination.
The generous outpouring of community support established college scholarships for Oakland graduates. That scholarship program still persists, supporting an estimated 5,000 scholars since its inception. The organization has also served as fiscal sponsor to local initiatives focused on improving the lives of children and youth since its founding.
Since 1973, the Marcus Foster Education Institute (MFEI) has been committed to improving educational opportunities and outcomes for all students in Oakland. In recent years, MFEI has partnered with school districts, nonprofits and corporations throughout the Bay Area with the aim of collectively developing and implementing strategies that create equitable educational systems.
East Bay College Access Network
The East Bay College Access Network was established in 2011 as a collaborative comprised of four Oakland-based organizations: the East Bay Consortium, Centro Legal de la Raza, the East Oakland Youth Development Center and the Marcus Foster Education Institute. These organizations came together to improve college access for Oakland youth through a collaborative, systems-focused approach to achieving equity.
College bound brotherhood
The College Bound Brotherhood explicitly focuses on improving educational and community-based systems for African American male students to achieve college success. The aim of the College Bound Brotherhood is to increase the number of African American young men from the San Francisco Bay Area who successfully complete college.
The career and life aspirations and college experiences students have shared with us point to a need for college success approaches that fuel students’ intrinsic motivation to reach the goal of college completion. W+P=X represents the equation that connects the dots between career ideation, career exposure opportunities, the completion of degree and certificate granting academic programs, and ultimately a demonstration of service to tangible societal improvement.
The Marcus Foster Education Institute (MFEI) administers a diversified community investment fund exclusively devoted to the postsecondary success of public high school graduates from Oakland Unified, Pleasanton Unified, and Black young men graduating high school across the nine Bay Area counties. Since 1973, MFEI has issued thousands of scholarships to Oakland and more recently Bay Area graduates. MFEI scholarships are made possible with the generous support of donors from California foundations, Oakland’s business community, local community organizations, and former Marcus Foster scholarship awardees.
If you, or someone you know received a Marcus Foster scholarship, please share! Click here to reconnect.
MFEI is excited to offer internships for local San Francisco Bay Area college students at our office in Oakland, California. Paid placements are available for Fall or Spring, and are designed to give interns a first-hand experience working within a unique education research and policy non-profit in the Bay. Interns are mentored to build their skills in writing, Strategic and research data analysis, and are provided with opportunities to network with leaders in education and other industry sectors across the region.
The work of the Marcus Foster Education Institute is ultimately about crafting needed infrastructure and counter narratives that create educational equity for all students. MFEI achieves this aim through the collection and analysis of meaningful data that, in real time, lead to an inspired collective recognition of what works, what doesn’t work and why, so that measureable and systemic improvements in educational outcomes for those most marginalized can be achieved.
The Marcus Foster Education Institute provides administrative and financial management support to programs and agencies required to have non-profit status for the purposes of receiving grant support in order to provide a vital community service. MFEI provides fiscal sponsorship services to efforts whose work is consistent with our mission. We have served as a fiscal sponsor of many programs that serve Oakland’s schools and students since the organization's inception in 1973.