Announcing the Teacher Diversity Funding Opportunity!


In partnership with The Walton Family Foundation, NewSchools is launching a new $3.5 million funding opportunity focused on diversifying the PreK-12 teaching profession. We seek bold ideas focused on recruiting, retaining and supporting Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American/Alaskan Native teachers. This funding opportunity will complement existing and ongoing work at both NewSchools Venture Fund, and Walton Family Foundation aimed at supporting diverse school teachers and leaders. We are accepting submission now through July 22, 2019.


For insight on how best to complete the application, please review the slides from our overview webinar, held on June 26, 2019.


The Need

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


Through the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, NewSchools will support innovative strategies and programs to advance educator diversity, including recruiting new diverse teachers and supporting existing teachers so they remain in the field longer. We want your best, most creative ideas to help us close the teacher diversity gap.


What We’re Looking For

For this funding opportunity, we will prioritize investing in new non-profit organizations (0 to 2 years old) but may also invest in new initiatives (0 to 2 years old) at existing non-profits. In addition, all submissions must align with our investment criteria (see FAQs below).


What We Offer

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

  • Funding: A one-year grant of $200,000 on average, depending on the stage of the idea. After one year, ventures become eligible for additional support.
  • Community of practice: Opportunities to build relationships and learn with other ventures, including at NewSchools Summit
  • Management assistance: Coaching and support from our team and external experts


Key Dates

  • June 18, 2019: Application opens
  • June 26, 2019: Webinar to answer common questions
  • July 22, 2019: Submission period closes
  • August – September 2019: Phone interviews
  • October 2019: Funding decisions will be made
  • November 2019: Management assistance support begins
  • May 6-7, 2020: NewSchools Summit



What type of financial support do ventures receive?

Our one-year investments range from $100,000 to $200,000, depending on the stage of the organization or idea. If you don’t yet have a strategy document (like a business plan or a detailed pitch deck) 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. We do not take equity.

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

Maybe! If your idea is about recruiting, retaining, and/or supporting diverse teachers or leaders across the sector, not just one or a handful of leaders, then yes. We want your best, most creative ideas to close the diversity gap between education leaders and students. If your idea is about something else – say you’re looking to start a school or build an ed tech product – perhaps our Innovative Schools or EdTech investment areas may be a better fit for you. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us!




What counts as a “bold idea?”

We partner with entrepreneurs in the early stages of developing ambitious ideas to dramatically improve student outcomes. Our long-term goal is to have a catalytic impact on student success nationally, so we look for ventures with aspirations to expand their impact over time by growing their organizations and/or influencing the work of others.

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

For the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, you have to be working towards securing your 501c3 non-profit status to receive funding. We will ask for a copy of your 501c3 application as a final step in our diligence process before disbursing grant funds.

For our Diverse Leaders funding opportunity, we can grant funds through fiscal sponsors or to individuals directly.

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 early-stage organizations (0 to 2 years old), we also invest in new initiatives (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?

Before you begin the application, you should have the following materials available:

  • Your senior team and board’s demographic data (race/ethnicity, gender identity)
  • Your budget(s) – if a new initiative at an existing organization, we need one for the organization and one for the initiative
  • List of current and prospective funders for the idea or organization seeking funding, along with the amounts granted/requested
  • Two to three references – preferably pilot/program participants, clients, funders and key partners
How can I learn more about your funding opportunities?

For an overview of our investment criteria and submission process, please watch the recording of our recent webinar or review the accompanying slides. In addition, please feel free to email us directly with any questions you might have. You can also sign up to receive updates on our Diverse Leaders work, including upcoming funding opportunities.

What are your investment criteria?

IDEA: We seek bold ideas focused on increasing the diversity of the U.S. teaching force. You might be working to recruit new Black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American/Alaskan Native teachers, or focused on retaining and supporting existing diverse teachers. Ideally, you will present a differentiated approach from what already exists today.

IMPACT: You will contribute to closing the diversity gap between teachers and public school students within your community or state, or nationally. Eventually, your efforts will achieve broader impact and help create a future with far more diverse, effective teachers in classrooms, inspired and supported to remain in the profession for many years. Your efforts will lead to improved student outcomes, especially for those from underserved communities.

TEAM: We seek mission-driven, diverse entrepreneurs who demonstrate passion, personal integrity and the ability to execute and get results. We expect our entrepreneurs to build high-functioning teams to ensure they are surrounded by individuals with the range of skills and backgrounds necessary to deliver on their vision. Leaders should be open to working closely with us and being an active member of a community of practice with fellow portfolio members.

DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION: We seek teams that demonstrate a strong commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). At a minimum, organizations should have diverse teams or plans in place to become more diverse. Leaders will understand how DEI enhances their organizational and programmatic efforts. Teams will be working towards developing comprehensive DEI strategies to advance this priority across their organizations and have measurable goals to evaluate their progress.

FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: We are interested in supporting organizations to achieve impact at scale, and it is impossible to scale models that rely on philanthropy alone. To that end, we look for organizations with plans for achieving sustainability through public and/or earned revenue.