Neeru Khosla’s children enjoyed a superb, individualized education at the highly regarded Nueva School in Hillsborough, CA, where she also volunteered. This sparked the wife of famed Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla to ask herself: “Why is it that we cannot provide this kind of education for every kid?”
It was a question she sought to answer with the founding of CK-12. The California-based nonprofit’s mission is to produce free and open-source K-12 materials, aligned to state curriculum standards and customized to meet student and teacher needs. Established in 2007 by Khosla and Murugan Pal to support K-12 science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), CK-12 generates and distributes educational content via web-based “Flexbooks,” that can be customized and either downloaded or printed.
CK-12’s materials have been adopted by Washington, Utah and California – the last with “phenomenal success,” Khosla says. CK-12 continues to evolve new technologies, such as interactivity, and embodies Khosla’s drive for continuous improvement.
All of which reflect her belief that philanthropy has two essential meanings: To provide services of true value to the recipient, and to supply “the tools to grow,” rather than create a deepening dependency. As she explains, “I think it's really criminal to give money and then say, ‘go improve your life,’ and walk away to the next thing,"