The CK-12 Foundation was co-founded in 2007 by Neeru Khosla and the late Murugan Pal. Khosla, wife of long-time venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, became active in education during the early 2000s when her children were in school. After serving as a board member of the Nueva School, she became so engaged in education that she returned to school herself, earning a master’s degree in education from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. (She also holds a master’s degree in molecular biology from San Jose State University). In 2007, Khosal and Pal, a serial entrepreneur and longtime friend, decided to start a nonprofit to tackle the problem of how to make quality textbooks (particularly in science and technology subjects) available to high schools at little to no cost. Neeru became chief executive; Pal was president.
CK-12 quickly became recognized as a leader in the Open Source curriculum movement, and focused on STEM subject instruction. Its cornerstone concepts, Neeru has told EdSurge, are “concept-based learning” and “customizable content.” Essentially, CK-12 provides content that demonstrates and describes concepts in a multitude of modalities, encouraging teachers to experiment by mixing and matching for different learning styles. During its first six years, CK-12 built a network of partnerships with universities, private companies, and STEM institutions like NASA. CK-12 has also gained positive feedback from teacher blogs and the US Department of Education, after the Office of Educational Technology included CK-12 in its 2010 National Education Technology Plan.
In 2012, Pal succumbed to ALS and passed away. Neeru Khosla has continued to lead CK-12, which by mid-2013 included 45 employees. In 2008, Khosla also joined the Wikimedia Foundation Advisory Board.
The CK-12 Foundation is funded entirely by the Amar Foundation, and by the Khoslas themselves.