Racial Equity Application

Open Funding Opportunity

Overview

We are excited to launch our first Racial Equity funding opportunity. Through this new effort, we will invest up to $1.5 million in innovators of color with bold ideas to advance racial equity in education. We believe that the freedom to thrive is every person’s fundamental right, and that access to a great education, regardless of race or ethnicity, is essential to that freedom. And yet, despite important areas of progress, the promise of an equitable educational opportunity remains unfulfilled. NewSchools is committed to being part of the necessary change and we recognize the need to work on racial equity in a deeper way. Through this funding opportunity, our goal is to help you bring powerful, imaginative ideas to life that reach toward a racially equitable education system. We are accepting submissions through June 4, 2021 at 11:59pm PDT.

We believe there are brilliant solutions born from the lived experiences of people of color. This funding opportunity is exclusively focused on supporting leaders of color with bold new ideas. Additionally, given the prevalence of anti-Black racism in our society, and its impact on outcomes for Black students, we plan to allocate at least 50% of this fund to Black leaders. 

Instead of a traditional grantmaking approach, the process for choosing ventures in this investment area will cede power to parents, students, and education innovators. They will decide how to allocate our Racial Equity funds through a participatory grantmaking process. Grantees will receive funding as well as management assistance, such as access to experts and a community of practice, to support the development of your idea. 

Join our webinar to learn more! We’ll share details on the grantmaking process, walk through the application and answer your questions on May 7, 2021 at 12pm-1:30pm PT (register here).

What We’re Looking For

You are eligible to apply for this funding opportunity, if you:

  • Identify as a person of color. Given the prevalence of anti-Black racism in our country, we plan to allocate at least 50% of this fund to Black leaders. 
  • Have an idea focused on advancing racial equity in PreK-12 education and your idea does not fall into one of our three existing investment areas (Innovative Schools, Learning Solutions and Diverse Leaders).
  • Lead an organization that is in the early stage of development. This might mean that you have an idea and need to create your strategy or implementation plan, have been operating an organization for less than two years or that you’ve founded an organization more than two years ago but you haven’t been able to launch your programs, hire staff or access the necessary funding to get started. Note that we do not fund policy efforts or university-based programs. 

We encourage you to reach out to our team to discuss your eligibility.   

Timeline

Apply by June 4, 2021. We will invite select teams to the finalist round by July 30, 2021 and finalize decisions by October 29, 2021.

Key Dates

  • Application opens April 21
  • Application supports:
    • Webinar: Friday, May 7 at 12pm-1:30pm PT (register here)
    • Office Hours
      • Wednesday, May 19 at 10am-11am PT
      • Tuesday, June 1 at 2pm-3pm PT
      • We will post registration details here in the coming weeks
  • Application closes June 4 at 11:59 pm PT
  • Applicants are notified if they are moving to the finalist round by July 30
  • Additional touchpoints with the selection committee for finalists in August – September
    • Supports and guidance will be provided to applicants who are invited to this stage
  • Notification of final funding decision by October 29

FAQs

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

The decision-makers will decide how to allocate our Racial Equity funds through a participatory grantmaking process. Grantees will receive funding as well as management assistance to support the development of your idea.

Once our racial equity council – parents, students, and education innovators charged with deciding how to allocate our Racial Equity funds – selects teams that will receive funding, we will ask grantees what support they need and design an approach to meet their needs. Across our other investment areas, management assistance typically includes one-on-one coaching, communities of practice, consulting support and/or access to national experts. Our efforts typically help leaders with strategic planning, fundraising and financial sustainability, team design, program models, and impact measurement. You can learn more about what it is like to be a part of our portfolio in this video featuring some of our Diverse Leaders innovators.

If your idea is focused on advancing racial equity in education, and does not fall into one of our other investment areas, then you are a fit for our funding opportunity.

If your idea is focused on opening a new district or charter school, please explore our Innovative Public Schools investment area. If you are developing new tools, subject-area approaches or curriculum focused on literacy, or a whole-school model that bundles instructional resources, teacher supports, and administrative tools, take a look at our Learning Solutions strategy. If you’re interested in diversifying education leadership or the teaching workforce, creating an organization that supports DEI capacity building, or mobilizing parents to advocate for change, check out our Diverse Leaders investment area. We will have funding opportunities available across these investment areas throughout the year. Please check this webpage to learn more and to share your idea. 

If your idea is focused on addressing racial equity in education and it does not fall into one of these investment areas, we encourage you to apply for the Racial Equity funding opportunity. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us! 

We seek to fund leaders of color with new ideas focused on creating a more just and equitable education system. Since you do not identify as a leader of color, you are not eligible for this funding opportunity. However, you may be a fit for other opportunities we might have. Please check this webpage to learn more and to share your idea.

Through our Diverse Leaders investment area, we fund organizations that increase the number of Black and Latino educators and education leaders, serve as diversity, equity and inclusion capacity builders and work to mobilize parents to advocate for change. The Racial Equity strategy has an intentionally broad focus. We want to consider a range of ambitious ideas and new solutions that will help us get to a more just and equitable education system.

Participatory grantmaking cedes decision-making power on funding – including the strategy and criteria behind those decisions – to the very communities that funders aim to serve. What this means is that a 17-person, decision-making body composed of parents, students and education innovators will develop investment criteria for this fund, evaluate applications, lead meetings with applicants and decide how the funding will be allocated. Since this is a different approach from how we make decisions in our other investment areas, what we learn through this funding opportunity will inform shifts to NewSchools’ existing grantmaking processes, while also serving as a proof point for how funders can shift power dynamics in philanthropy more broadly.

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.

Our goal is to fund organizations in the earliest stages of development. This might mean that you have an idea and need to create your strategic plan, have been operating an organization for less than two years or that you’ve founded an organization more than two years ago but haven’t gotten your program off the ground yet. We will not fund new initiatives or programs launching within existing organizations. In addition, we do not fund policy efforts or university-based programs.

You can preview our application by reviewing this document. 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.  

  • Webinar on Friday, May 7, 12pm-1:30pm PT (Register here)
  • Attend our office hours on Wednesday, May 19 10am-11am PT or Tuesday, June 1 2pm-3pm PT (details will be posted above)
  • Email us directly with any questions you have

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

That’s ok. You can share your idea with us and join our mailing list by filling out this form. 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 tocontact us.

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