Grant application process for 2022 has been paused

Our Educators for Equity Program has helped thousands of children in the US since it began in 2019, but we think we can do better.

The pandemic, social and political unrest, and longstanding inequities have highlighted with a bright spotlight that more needs to be done to support areas of great need. And because we believe teachers are superheroes, not superhuman, we are taking this year to redesign the program to more specifically focus on the needs of teachers and their classrooms. We want to come alongside teachers in new ways to support them and the students who have traditionally been underserved. As part of that, we will pause our grant application process for 2022.

For questions or comments, please reach out to

Frequently asked questions
We’ve put together some frequently asked questions about eligibility, selection criteria, and more.

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for a grant, the potential grant Recipient must be a U.S. school serving students from pre-K through 12th grade and either: (i) be a public school; or (ii) have an IRS determination letter of Section 501(c)(3) status. Organizations and activities not eligible for funding are: for-profit organizations; religious programs focused on religious activities only (applicants at faith-based schools inclusive of all beliefs and backgrounds are invited to apply); or organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, physical circumstances, age, status as a veteran, national origin, or in hiring practices. <–Please read the Rules for Applicants before applying.–>

What are the selection criteria?

When evaluating applications, the selection committee will consider the following:

  • Populations served: Extent to which the program supports students who face systemic barriers to academic opportunities, including students who identify as Black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American, or Asian/Pacific Islander; students learning English and speaking a language other than English fluently; and students experiencing economic disadvantage
  • Evidence base: Justification of an evidence-based, high quality program focused on facilitating the academic development of students
  • Equity mission: Alignment with the priority to remove systemic barriers to academic success for economically disadvantaged students and/or students of color
  • Cultural relevance: Evidence of culturally relevant fit of the program based on the community/populations served
  • Academic focus: Explicitly focused on improving academic opportunities and outcomes for students served

The committee will also consider the extent to which grant awards will go to program operations versus supplies and materials (including software licenses). (Funding is not intended for the primary purpose of purchasing supplies and materials or professional development.) In addition, it is important to note that an applicant’s use of NWEA products and services will not be taken into account in selecting grant recipients.

Can we submit an application for more than one program?

Yes. If your school or organization has multiple programs that may fit the criteria for the Educators for Equity grant, you can submit an application for each program. However, only one grant will be awarded per school/organization.

What is on the application?

The online application asks for details about your program and how the grant funds will further your efforts to foster academic growth and remove systemic barriers to opportunities for traditionally underserved students. We advise that you view the application before entering your information. Once you start an application you will need to complete it in one session, so make sure you have your information ready. There is no way to save a draft and complete it later.

Be ready to provide information on:

Student demographics

To achieve our singular priority of removing systemic barriers, it is imperative that the students served by the Educators for Equity Grant Program meet the populations historically underserved based on race/ethnicity, language, and economic disadvantage. Data on the following will be required in the application:

  • Student demographics by racial/ethnic subgroup (in percentages)
  • Information on how many students are English language learners; how many are in the free and reduced lunch program; mobility information; student homelessness statistics; and any other information you can provide about the population of students your program serves

Your program

Provide a description of your program or activity, including:

  • Number of students served
  • Program effectiveness, including the evidence or research on which your program is based
  • How the Educators for Equity grant will further your efforts
  • Measurable outcomes, including what you plan to achieve with the grant funding and how you will measure impact
  • Grant timeline—please note that funds are distributed in the fall (typically October)

Supporting documents

You will be asked to upload relevant documents, including:

  • Grant budget (required of all applicants)you can use our template to complete the grant budget illustrating how the grant funds will be spent
  • 501(c)(3) IRS determination letter (required only for nonprofit applicants)

What is the timeline?

March 9—application opens; June 11—application closes; August—recipients notified

What is the review committee process?

Our review committee is comprised of individuals from NWEA and other educational equity leaders. All committee members have received equity training to ensure they apply the same selection criteria and standards to each applicant. Applications are usually reviewed in July, and recipients are usually notified in August.

What are the chances of having my application approved?

NWEA receives hundreds of applications each year for the Educators for Equity grant. This makes the grant program very competitive. Out of the hundreds, the review committee funds five programs, each receiving up to $10,000 each. We advise applicants to review the application questions carefully, consider how your program fits the criteria, and provide concise details to help the review committee understand how your program is a match.

I applied for the grant in previous years. Why wasn’t my application selected?

With hundreds of applications received each year, the selection of the five recipient programs is highly competitive. We don’t offer feedback for each application because of the volume (and to maintain a level of fairness), but we can offer the following guidance: Be as specific as possible in answering each question. Pay close attention to requests for research-based evidence or proof of how your program is fostering academic growth for traditionally underserved populations. And make sure you submit your budget that answers the question of how the grant funds will be used. We don’t need to see your overall program budget, but we do need to know how you plan to spend the grant. We give greater weight to programs that use the funds directly toward hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for students instead of for purchasing supplies and materials—including software licenses—unless you can highlight how they are an essential element of the program. For example, if your program will use photography as a means to discuss culture and give students the opportunity to tell their story through images, requesting funds to purchase photography equipment is understandable.

Who has received this grant in the past?

Past recipients range from small nonprofits to large public schools serving kids throughout the pre-K–12 grade levels. Many have focused on a specific program project, like taking students on a field trip to visit culturally relevant museums and places or providing after-school programming for English language learners. Here are three past recipients as examples:

Lil’ Playmakers Project (Fresno, CA). This K–8 program combines sports fundamentals and English/Spanish language acquisition with an emphasis on literacy, and reiterates positive involvement to counter the efforts of gang recruitment. The program utilizes Footsteps to Brilliance, a national program which was adopted and endorsed by President Obama’s administration as their signature program for teaching English to limited- and non-English speakers.

TechBoston Academy (Boston, MA) was awarded a grant to help fund the Personal Is Political Senior Trip project. High school seniors traveled to Montgomery, Alabama, to visit the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice and to volunteer at the Montgomery Habitat for Humanity. The trip furthered students’ understanding of the role of race in American history and the current political climate. Through opportunities for self-reflection and sharing with the Boston community, the project encouraged students to participate in civic activities to help them become part of the next generation of leaders.

HOPES after-school enrichment program (Chicago, IL) provides students experiencing homelessness in grades K–5 with homework help, literacy development, and academic enrichment multiple days per week. Each program has a site coordinator, a dedicated community, and AmeriCorps volunteers who facilitate their easy-to-follow curriculum. Before COVID, field trips were also offered regularly to provide students with exciting cultural and academic experiences across the city of Chicago. The program is developed to offer students the academic and emotional support they need to succeed in school. The Educators for Equity grant was awarded to help the program expand its efforts to reach more kids.

Here’s a full list of organizations that have received this grant:

  • Fresno School of Missions (Fresno, CA)
  • TechBoston Academy (Boston, MA)
  • International High School of New Orleans (New Orleans, LA)
  • East High School (Madison, WI)
  • Battleground Elementary School (Lincolnton, NC)
  • Reading Partners (Washington, DC)
  • HELPS Education Fund (Durham, NC)
  • Willamette Academy (Salem, OR)
  • HOPES After-School Program (Chicago, IL)