American education is at a turning point. A century-long trend towards standardized, one-size-fits-all approaches to education is being replaced by a spirit of entrepreneurship and customization. The public is realizing that there is not “one best way” to educate tens-of-millions of students, with families and educators opting for alternative education approaches that range from classical education to self-directed learning.
Educators are at the forefront of this dynamism, with unprecedented numbers of teachers leaving traditional roles to create new and unique schools – microschools, hybrid schools, homeschool cooperatives, and many other alternative approaches. But many more teachers are leaving the profession altogether – frustrated with the status quo, but lacking a clear path to opportunities that give them the autonomy to practice educational approaches that fuel their passion for teaching.
That’s why Stand Together Trust (STT) is announcing an open request for proposals from organizations and experienced education professionals who have solutions to recruit, train, and deploy educators in new and unique learning environments. We are committed to investing $1.5 million over the next 12 months to support efforts that increase the pipeline of talent and schooling options in locations with demonstrated demand from families.
We seek to invest in projects that support individuals who want to lead new, unique, and non-traditional education environments for students (ex. microschools, hybrid schools, co-ops).
This can include:
- Recruitment, apprenticeship, light or high touch incubation efforts like coaching, and funding new ideas.
- Support for new leaders or existing leaders seeking to create something new
- Smaller-dollar, bootstrapped replication efforts
This does not include:
- High-cost replication or expansion programs that focus mostly on facilities costs
Funding levels are commensurate with the project and its potential to positively impact the talent pipeline in the state. We anticipate the typical project amount to be between $50,000 and $100,000, with most falling below $150,000.
We are open to supporting any entity that is interested in executing projects that meet the spirit of this RFP. For-profit entities are eligible to apply if they agree to comply with procedures for assuring that grant funds are spent solely for charitable purposes. Stand Together Trust is a 501c3 organization.
We are seeking proposals that:
- Support the growth of new and unique learning approaches that do not resemble the dominant, factory model of education today. Such approaches can span different pedagogic approaches, but should be focused on creating education options where educators and families are collaborators in creating environments that put children at the center of learning.
- Create educational alternatives that are appealing to a larger audience of “early majority” families, who are underserved by their current options and open to exercising choice for themselves. These families may have less appetite for the most unconventional approaches to education.
- Focus work in areas with readily available, family-directed funding streams to aid in affordability. For instance, in one of the many states with active and soon-to-launch educational choice policies, such as education savings accounts (ESAs) or robust individual tax credits for education alternatives.
- Exist outside the traditional public education system, including charter schools (private schools, hybrid schools, homeschool co-ops, etc.). We believe that there are few organizations dedicated to supporting these providers and are looking to fuel their growth.
While not a requirement, we are prioritizing efforts in states that have enacted the biggest, boldest, and most expansive policies that enable families to direct their education funds – via mechanisms like education savings accounts (ESAs) or refundable individual tax credits for nonpublic education, especially in states where all students are eligible to participate in such programs, and where a wide range of allowable educational expenses are allowed. We believe these funding mechanisms will help to ensure the financial sustainability of new models.
As of today, July 31, 2023, the following states meet this prioritization:
Proposals will be accepted and evaluated on a rolling basis. Our goal is for decisions to be made regarding funding within 3 months.
Stand Together Trust is committed to working collaboratively with potential partners to develop impactful, aligned projects. We expect many applications may require additional conversations between our team and potential partners to align on project scope and metrics. This may result in a longer timeline for grant approval.
In the interest of ensuring that potential applicants do not waste their time, the application process is designed to ensure that applicants only submit the information necessary to move forward to the next stage in the process.
- Describe who will be impacted by your project. (200 words)
- Project Scope
- Describe your project and what you will do with this grant. Include information about how much progress/work you’ve done on the project to date. (300 words)
- Request amount
- Please share a brief budget that explains how you envision using this funding.
NOTE: If the cost of the project goes beyond the funding requested, please share information about the total project, not just what ST funding will pay for. Please also share information about any other funders who are supporting this project.