The Invest in Education Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that promotes education reform, especially as it relates to increasing educational choice, closing educational achievement gaps, and improving K-12 education. The foundation engages in policy research, holds educational events, 1 and performs limited advocacy in support of legislation that expands educational opportunity. 2
In October 2016, the Invest in Education Foundation published research stating that declines in Catholic school enrollments in New York have caused many of these schools to close, claiming that this is largely due to families being unable to afford tuition. The foundation further claims that because these schools had provided quality education to students, especially to those from immigrant, low-income, and minority families, that these closures have created a crisis that threatens educational opportunities. 4
In May 2016, the Invest in Education Foundation published a report affirming the constitutionality of the then-proposed New York state Education Investment Tax Credit. The Education Investment Tax Credit would provide a tax credit for donations to education scholarship organizations (ESOs), which fund scholarships to students attending public, private, and potentially religious-affiliated schools. The foundation lists several reasons why the tax credit should not present constitutional problems: the tax credit will not spend public money; the Supreme Court already supports similar programs like school vouchers, where students are funded, not institutions; and the tax credit is valid under the Blaine Amendment of the New York Constitution. 5
The Invest in Education Foundation is funded by donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. While the Foundation does not disclose its donors, tax filings confirm donations from Donors Trust ($500,000 in 2018), 6 the Alliance for School Choice ($150,000 in 2014), 7 and the Thomas W. Smith Foundation ($100,000 in 2016). 8
Peter Murphy is the vice president for policy at the Invest in Education Foundation and a senior fellow at the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Murphy formerly worked as the director of policy and communications at the NY Charter Schools Association and vice president at both the New York Charter School Resource Center and SUNY Charter Schools Institute. 9
Michael Strianese is the former CFO and COO at the foundation and the current CFO and COO at the Northeast Charter Schools Network. 10
Board of Directors
Luke Messer is the president of the Invest in Education Foundation. 11 Messer is a former Republican Congressman from Indiana, where he sat on the Committees on Education and Labor, Financial Services, Budget, and Foreign Affairs. Messer is the former chair of the Republican Policy Committee and a co-founder of the Congressional School Choice Caucus. Messer is the former president and CEO of School Choice Indiana. 12
Anthony de Nicola is the chair of the board of the foundation 13 and a trustee at the Inner-City Scholarship Fund. De Nicola sits on the boards of the Partnership for New York City and the Robert Toigo Foundation. 14
Thomas W. Carroll is the former president of the Foundation. Carroll is the former executive director of the New Yorkers for Independent Action PAC, former president of both the Foundation for Education Reform and Accountability and the Empire Foundation for Policy Research, and the founder and former chair of the Brighter Choice Foundation. 15
- “About Us.” Invest in Education Foundation. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/about-the-foundation/.
- “Advocacy.” Invest in Education Foundation. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/advocacy/.
- Invest in Education Foundation Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Schedule R, Part II.
- “The Catholic School Closure Crisis and Declining Educational Opportunity in New York.” Invest in Education Foundation, October 2016. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CatholicSchoolCrisis.pdf.
- Baine, Kevin T. and Mahoney, C.J. “Constitutionality of the Proposed New York State Education Investment Tax Credit.” Invest in Education Foundation, May 2016. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/ETCConstitutionalityMay2016.pdf.
- Donors Trust, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2018, Schedule I, Part II.
- Alliance for School Choice, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2014, Schedule I, Part II.
- Thomas W. Smith Foundation, Return of Private Foundation (Form 990-PF), 2016, Part XV, Line 3a.
- “Peter Murphy.” LinkedIn, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/petermurphympa/.
- “Michael J. Strianese.” LinkedIn, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-j-strianese-6449174/.
- “Home.” Invest in Education Foundation. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/.
- Murphy, Peter. “Invest In Education Coalition Hires Luke Messer as President.” Invest in Education Foundation, January 19, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. http://investineducation.org/invest-in-education-coalition-hires-luke-messer-as-president/.
- Invest in Education Foundation Inc, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax (Form 990), 2019, Part VII, Section A, Line 1a.
-  “Anthony J. de Nicola.” Welsh, Carson, Anderson, and Stowe, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.wcas.com/firm/team/anthony-j-de-nicola.
- “Thomas W. Carroll.” LinkedIn, 2022. Accessed February 24, 2022. https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-w-carroll-b4a27140/.