Walton Family Foundation Announces $3.5 Million in Funding to Diversify the PreK-12 Teaching Profession

October 23, 2019

In collaboration with NewSchools Venture Fund, 14 grantees will receive funding and management assistance to recruit, develop and retain underrepresented educators nationwide

BENTONVILLE, AR, October 23, 2019 – NewSchools Venture Fund, with financial support from the Walton Family Foundation, today announced the first round of grant recipients through the new competitive funding opportunity to diversify the PreK-12 teaching profession. From more than 140 applicants, 14 new organizations or initiatives were selected to receive funding and management assistance for their innovative initiatives to ensure more teachers share the background of the students they serve. These efforts are intended to ultimately increase student achievement, especially for those from low-income communities.

Grantees will receive funding to enhance teacher pipelines, support teacher development and classroom instruction, and improve relevant policy. They will also collaborate and benefit from management assistance, including access to NewSchools’ network of internal experts and external partners who can help build organizational capacity and impact.

The grantees announced today are:

  • AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School (focus geography: Washington, D.C.)
  • Black Male Educators Alliance of Michigan (focus geography: Detroit, MI)
  • Educators for Excellence (focus geography: national)
  • Envision Education (focus geography: Oakland, CA)
  • Equity Institute (focus geography: Providence, RI)
  • Future Leaders Incubator (focus geography: New York, NY)
  • He is Me Institute (focus geography: (Boston, MA)
  • Latinx Education Collaborative (focus geography: Kansas City, MO)
  • Liber Institute (focus geography: Rapid City, SD)
  • National Indian Education Association (focus geography: national)
  • Rhode Island School for Progressive Education (focus geography: Central Falls, Pawtucket, Providence and Woonsocket, RI)
  • Teach Western Mass (focus geography: Springfield, MA)
  • Tennessee Educators of Color Alliance (focus geography: Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis and Nashville, TN)
  • Urban Ed Academy (focus geography: San Francisco, CA)

“When our teachers reflects the rich diversity of our nation, our schools and students benefit,” said Walton Family Foundation K-12 Education Program Director Marc Sternberg. “Our hope is that these 14 organizations eliminate some of the most persistent barriers preventing people from becoming teachers or remaining in the classroom and can then serve as a model for others across the country.”

A significant research base shows greater teacher diversity within a school yields higher expectations, lower discipline referral rates and better academic results for all students, especially students of color. Yet, less than 1 in 5 educators identify as people of color, while students of color compose more than 50% of the entire K-12 student population.

“With support from the Walton Family Foundation, our new grantees are committed to supporting teachers of color by strengthening their instructional practice,” said NewSchools Venture Fund senior managing partner Frances Messano. “The outcomes of the funded initiatives will be shared broadly with educators, policymakers and leaders across the country, so others can learn from successful approaches that support diverse teachers and improve student outcomes.

NewSchools and the Walton Family Foundation each have a strong commitment to diversity in education. This funding opportunity builds on existing work at both organizations.

Investing in leadership has always been an important factor in reimagining education and has long been a part of the NewSchools’ strategy. Diverse leadership is a priority in the organization’s Innovative Public Schools and Ed Tech investment areas. NewSchools also has a dedicated investment area, Diverse Leaders, to invest in organizations that recruit and support Black and Latino talent or build the capacity of education organizations to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive.

The Walton Family Foundation is committed to efforts that recruit, support and retain educators from diverse backgrounds because students, schools and communities are stronger when more teachers represent the students they serve. Grantees leading innovative, hands-on training, designing contemporary approaches to professional advancement and creating mentorship and collaboration opportunities for peers across schools and systems are showing what’s possible. More about the Walton Family Foundation’s grants to educators can be found here.

About the Walton Family Foundation
The Walton Family Foundation is, at its core, a family-led foundation. Three generations of the descendants of our founders, Sam and Helen Walton, and their spouses, work together to lead the foundation and create access to opportunity for people and communities. We work in three areas: improving K-12 education, protecting rivers and oceans and the communities they support, and investing in our home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi Delta. In 2018, the foundation awarded more than $595 million in grants in support of these initiatives. To learn more, visit waltonfamilyfoundation.org and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.