Diverse Leaders Application

Open Funding Opportunity – Apply to Receive NewSchools Funding!

Overview

Through our annual Diverse Leaders funding opportunity, we will invest up to $2 million in innovators with bold ideas to close the racial leadership gap in public education. We invest in organizations that recruit and support the growth of Black and Latino leaders or serve as capacity-builders, helping education organizations adopt inclusive, equitable practices that advance the ultimate goal of improving the life outcomes of children. We recently expanded the definition of diverse leaders to include a group too often left out of the leadership picture: parents. Parents have not always been seen as education leaders — though few people are closer to the educational inequity in the system or have a clearer view of the change required in their schools and communities. Our goal is to ensure education leadership reflects the diversity of public school students across the country. We want your best, most creative ideas to help us get there. We are accepting submissions through February 26, 2021 at 11:59 pm PST.

Join us for a webinar to learn more! We’ll explain what we’re looking for, walk through the application, and answer your questions on January 28, 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST (register here) and February 11, 2:00 – 3:00 pm PST (register here).

What We Offer

We accelerate your efforts by providing support in three key areas:

  • Funding: A one-year grant of $150,000 to $250,000, depending on the stage of the organization or idea. After one year, ventures become eligible for additional support.
  • Communities of practice: Opportunities to build relationships with and learn from other Diverse Leaders ventures.
  • Management assistance: Access to relevant, timely and customized support from our team and external experts

What’s it like being part of the Diverse Leaders portfolio? Thisvideo features reflections from our past ventures.  

What We’re Looking For

We invest in innovators with bold ideas to close the racial leadership gap in public education. You might be:

  • Recruiting new Black and Latino leaders into education
  • Accelerating the careers of Black and Latino leaders already working in education
  • Mobilizing and supporting Black and Latino parents to advocate for changes that benefit their children
  • Building the capacity of education organizations to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive

You might also be contributing to the goal in some other way, and we’d love to hear about it. If you have an idea focused on diversifying the teacher profession, stay tuned: in June 2021, we will open a funding opportunity focused on this purpose. 

While we prioritize investing in early-stage organizations (generally 0 to 2 years old), we also invest in new initiatives (0 to 2 years old) at existing organizations. We recognize that many leaders of color may have been working to launch a new organization for more than 2 years, but may not yet have formalized their approach. We encourage you to reach out to our team to discuss your eligibility. In addition, all applicants must align with NewSchools’ overarching investment criteria

Highly Encouraged to Apply

Given our strategic focus, we encourage Black and Latino innovators to apply. In particular, we want to encourage Latino leaders to apply given that they have historically represented a small percentage of our applicant pool. We need to tap into the entrepreneurial energy that exists within the Latino community to bring relevant and effective solutions that meet the needs of all students. 

Timeline

Apply by February 26, 2021. We will invite select teams to interview with us by March 31 and finalize decisions by May 28.

Key Dates

  • Application opens: January 12
  • Application supports:
  • Application closes: February 26 at 11:59 pm PST
  • Notification of application status: by March 31
  • Stage 2 phone interviews and reference calls: March 29 – April 30
    • Interview supports and guidance will be provided to applicants who are invited to this stage
  • Notification of final funding decision: by May 28

FAQs

We have summarized some frequently asked questions below. You can also email any questions to diversity@newschools.org

What type of financial support do ventures receive?

Our one-year investments range from $150,000 to $250,000, depending on the stage of the idea. If you don’t yet have a fully developed strategy or an ongoing pilot, you’re likely to receive a grant on the lower end of our range. If you already have a clear strategy and a successful pilot under your belt, you’ll probably land toward the top of our range. We provide grant funding and do not take equity.  

I’m a leader of color with an idea in education. Am I eligible?

Maybe! If your idea is focused on: 

  • Recruiting new Black and Latino leaders into education
  • Accelerating the careers of Black and Latino leaders already working in education
  • Mobilizing and supporting Black and Latino parents to advocate for changes that benefit their children
  • Building the capacity of education organizations to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive

Then you are a fit for our funding opportunity! 

If your idea is about something else, please explore our other investment areas. For example, if you’re looking to start a school, our Innovative Schools funding opportunity may be a better fit for you. Their application is currently open as well, so we encourage you to review and apply if you feel it may be a good fit. If you still have questions, feel free tocontact us!  

Must I have a legally incorporated organization to be eligible for funding?

No, we can grant funds through fiscal sponsors or to individuals directly, but we expect that you are working towards securing your non-profit or for-profit status.

Must I have a new organization to be eligible for funding? What about a new program or initiative at an existing organization?

While we prioritize investing in new, early-stage organizations (which are typically 0 to 2 years old), we also invest in new initiatives (which are also typically 0 to 2 years old) at existing organizations. If you fall in the latter category, know that we are only interested in diversity-related initiatives that are truly new and untried, not incremental improvements to your current work.  Also, we do not fund individual organizations’ diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but we may fund collaborative efforts involving multiple organizations.  

What  materials  do I need to complete the application?

Here is an overview of the entire application process, including key dates and questions asked at each stage of the process. We also suggest that you start your application as soon as possible so we can send you email updates through the application platform. 

We are excited to learn more about you and your work through your application, and also want to support you in submitting your strongest application. For that reason, we have several opportunities for you to learn more about our team and the funding opportunity.  

  • Join our Webinar on January 28 at 12:00 – 1:00 pm PST (register here) or February 11 at 2:00 – 3:00 pm PST (register here)
  • Attend our Office Hours in February (see Timeline above) 
  • Email us directly at diversity@newschools.org with any questions you have 

How will Office Hours be structured? Do I need to prepare?

Office hours are informal and a time for you to ask any questions you have regarding the grant opportunity or application. We strongly suggest that you attend or view a recording of our webinar prior to joining our office hours, as many of your questions may be addressed there.

We encourage you to register for this event so that we have a sense for your questions and can follow up with you after the session.

How can I learn more about your funding opportunities?

To stay up to date on NewSchools funding opportunities, we encourage you to join our email list.  

What if I am not currently ready to apply?

Remember, we invest in early-stage ideas, so you do not need to have a fully operational organization to apply. If you are unsure whether to apply, we encourage you to  contact us.

What if my idea is about increasing teacher diversity?

Teacher diversity is critical, which is why we have a separate funding opportunity focused on recruiting and developing educators of color. We will launch this funding opportunity in June 2021.