Teacher Diversity Application

Open Funding Opportunity – Apply Today!


We know that 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 one in five educators identify as people of color, while students of color compose more than 50 percent of the entire PK-12 student population. 

Through the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, NewSchools will support innovative approaches to advancing educator diversity, including recruiting diverse teachers and supporting teachers of color so they remain in the field longer. We will invest up to $2.5 million in innovators wit h bold ideas focused on recruiting, retaining and supporting Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Indigenous teachers. 

We want your best, most creative ideas to help us close the teacher diversity gap. We are accepting submissions through Friday, August 6 at 11:59pm PT

We are grateful to The Walton Family Foundation for providing anchor support for this funding opportunity. This work complements existing and ongoing work at The Walton Family Foundation aimed at recruiting, supporting and retaining educators from diverse backgrounds because students, schools and communities are stronger when more teachers represent the students they serve.

Need more information? On June 30, we hosted a webinar to share more about what we’re looking for, walk through the application, and answer additional questions. Take a look at the webinar recording and presentation slides to learn more. 

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 leaders focused on teacher diversity.
  • Management assistance: Access to relevant, timely and customized support from our team and external experts.

What We’re Looking For

We invest in innovators with bold ideas focused on recruiting, developing and supporting teachers of color. Our investment criteria outlined below, provides more details:

  • IDEA: We seek bold ideas focused on increasing the diversity of the U.S. teaching force. You might be working to recruit Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Indigenous teachers, or focused on retaining and supporting existing teachers of color. Ideally, you will have 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 who are 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 innovators who demonstrate passion, personal integrity and the ability to execute and get results. We expect our entrepreneurs to build high-performing 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: Innovators should understand how DEI enhances their organizational and programmatic efforts and should be working towards developing comprehensive DEI strategies to advance this priority across their organizations. In addition, teams should have measurable goals to evaluate their progress. 
  • FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY: We are interested in supporting organizations that grow their impact and it is impossible to do that with philanthropy alone. To that end, we look for organizations with plans for achieving financial sustainability through a mix of revenue sources (e.g., earned revenue, government grants, partnership fees).

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. 

Given our strategic focus, we highly encourage Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander and Indigenous leaders to apply.


Apply by August 6, 2021. We will invite select teams to interview with us by October 1 and finalize decisions by November 19.

Key Dates

  • Application opens: June 23, 2021
  • Application supports:
  • Application closes: August 6 at 11:59 pm PT
  • Applicants are notified on a rolling basis if they are moving to the finalist round. All updates will be shared by October 1
  • Phone interviews and reference calls: September 27 – October 20
    • Interview supports and guidance will be provided to applicants who are invited to this stage
  • Notification of final funding decision: by November 19

Curious about what it’s like to be part of our portfolio?


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

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. 

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.

Maybe! If your idea is focused on recruiting or supporting teachers of color in PK-12 public schools, then you could be a good fit for this Teacher Diversity funding opportunity. If you are a leader of color but your idea is focused on something else, please explore the other investment areas on our website. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us! 

Our Diverse Leaders investment area has two funding opportunities each year: The Diverse Leaders opportunity and the Teacher Diversity opportunity. Our current Teacher Diversity funding opportunity is focused specifically on ideas that seek to diversify the PK-12 teaching workforce in the United States. Our Diverse Leaders funding opportunity has a broader focus. We fund ideas that advance Black and Latino leadership in public education, including school leaders, non-profit leaders, school board members, parents, and more. A simple way of remembering the difference is that the Teacher Diversity funding opportunity is focused on teachers, while Diverse Leaders is focused on all other education leaders. If you have more questions about the difference between our Diverse Leaders funding opportunity, please feel free to reach out to our team at diversity@newschools.org.

Through our Teacher Diversity funding opportunity, we support organizations that recruit and support teachers of color. The Racial Equity strategy has an intentionally broad focus. We want to consider a range of ambitious ideas and new solutions outside of our three other investment areas that will help us get to a more just and equitable education system. 

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.

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 truly new and untried teacher diversity efforts, not incremental improvements to your current work. In addition, we do not fund policy efforts or university-based programs. 

Despite modest increases in recent years, teachers of color are still underrepresented in K-12 public schools, making up only 20% of the educator workforce. We seek to fund teacher diversity efforts that will dramatically change this picture.

Our priority is funding early-stage organizations and new initiatives within existing organizations that have a vision for scale — whether it is growing the number of teachers they serve directly or influencing the practices of others through thought leadership and training.

We believe funding district innovation is key to this goal given the size of most systems. We do not, however, fund the individual efforts of charter schools or charter networks given the potential for impact is much smaller. We are open to collaborative efforts involving multiple charter schools and networks that might lead to ecosystem level change.

No, NewSchools funding is focused on PK-12 education.

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: June 30 at 10:00 -11:30 am PT (recording & slides)
  • Office Hours: 
    • Friday 7/23 11:00 – 12:30 pm PT (Registration link forthcoming)
    • Tuesday 8/3 1:30 – 3:00 pm PT (Registration link forthcoming)

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 funding opportunity or application. We strongly suggest viewing a recording of our webinar prior to joining our office hours as many of your questions may be addressed there. 

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.