$1.5 Million in Reimagine Education Grants Awarded
Funding will support 30 local schools, districts, and nonprofits.
The Minneapolis Foundation today announced more than $1.5 million in Reimagine Education grants to 30 schools, school districts, and organizations that are advancing equity and uplifting youth voices in Minnesota’s K-12 education system.
“We can build culturally inclusive and responsive schools if we start by empowering the voices of students and their families and supporting educators with resources to better understand the communities they serve. ” — R.T. Rybak, President and CEO of the Minneapolis Foundation
Reimagine Education grants support organizations and projects that:
- Elevate student and community voices and power to build bridges between schools, families, and communities and improve school climates and academic outcomes.
- Provide opportunities for educators to build their understanding of race and equity and implement strategies that create culturally responsive and inclusive schools.
- Advocate for policies at the school, local, and state level to address systemic barriers to racial equity in Minnesota’s education system.
These grants flow from the Foundation’s Reimagine Education strategy, a collaborative initiative that transforms research into collective action to make Minnesota’s schools better for all students. Rybak also extended a special thanks to a Foundation fundholder who contributed $75,000 to support two of the 30 grants.
Grants will support a diverse array of schools and communities across the metro area. For example, La Oportunidad plans to use its grant to engage with immigrant youth at Edison, Lincoln International, and other local high schools, offering support with mentoring, post-secondary planning activities, and efforts to make their schools more inclusive environments. Another grant will support MN Zej Zog to host conferences and equity-focused trainings for members of the Hmong Educators Coalition, which works to preserve Hmong language dialects and elevate the voices of Hmong parents in Minneapolis and west-metro schools.
In addition to direct support for schools and districts, grants also include awards to organizations that partner with local school districts. For example, one grant will support the Legal Rights Center’s Restorative Justice Program and partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools. “This award allows us to continue our work of collaborating with various schools and the district broadly to embed a restorative mindset and implement restorative practices, improving school communities and providing support for MPS students, families, and staff,” said Malaika Eban, Executive Director of the Legal Rights Center.
Another grant will support the second year of Groves Literacy Partnerships’ work with Jenny Lind Elementary School, a Minneapolis public school where educators are implementing the Groves Literacy Framework in nine K-3 classrooms.
“Changing the trajectory of literacy instruction in our country is a mammoth task, but one that Groves Literacy Partnerships is positioned to tackle,” said Katharine Campbell, Director of Groves Literacy Partnerships. “This year legislation known as the READ Act set a goal that every Minnesota child will be reading at or above grade level every year. This is the same goal that Groves Literacy Partnerships has had since 2016, when we were in just two schools. This year we will reach over 11,000 students in 87 schools throughout the metro area with a curriculum based on the Science of Reading, paired with coaching and data collection.”
“Every student in Minnesota should be surrounded by caring adults and have access to wraparound supports that prepare them to reach their full potential,” said Patrice Relerford, the Minneapolis Foundation’s Senior Director of Impact and Collective Giving. “These grants reflect our commitment to the many students, parents, teachers, and school leaders who are working toward that goal.”
Photos from Groves Literacy Partnerships, La Oportunidad, and MN Zej Zog.
Here’s a complete list of the grants announced today:
- Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) and KnowledgeWorks – $50,000 to continue a partnership between the AMSD and KnowledgeWorks that supports metro-area stakeholders in identifying and advocating for key policy changes needed to advance student-centered learning in communities across the state.
- Black Men Teach – $35,000 to increase the ranks of Black male elementary teachers by providing leadership and programming for a cohort of candidates, and ultimately strengthening the pathways by which Black men can become educators.
- Bridgemakers (fiscal sponsor: Propel Nonprofits) – $75,000 to support the organization as it engages young people in developing a policy agenda advocating for youth.
- Climate Generation – $50,000 to increase youth representation and leadership in Climate Generation’s decision-making, including the addition of two youth seats to the Board of Directors, and to support local youth in addressing climate justice issues through policy and community learning campaigns in strategic regions of Minnesota.
- Conflict Resolution Center – $75,000 to continue and expand the organization’s work with Minneapolis high school students, including programming that engages students holistically to support healing, empowerment, productive conflict resolution, and connection within school communities.
- EdAllies – $75,000 to provide civic leadership development for students and families, equipping them with tools to advocate for educational equity.
- Education Evolving – $45,000 to support Minneapolis heritage language teachers in getting their teaching licenses through a new licensure pathway created during the 2023 legislative session.
- Educators 4 Excellence, Inc. – $50,000 to expand the reach of the organization’s advocacy for policy changes affecting Minneapolis Public Schools, including support for teacher-led issue campaigns that increase school equity, student learning, and the political influence of student-focused educators.
- Elevate Teaching (fiscal sponsor: Access Philanthropy) – $75,000 to deepen engagement with young people through a co-created social media campaign highlighting STEM teachers. This work supports The Elevate Teaching Movement, a state-funded teacher recruitment and marketing campaign.
- Groves Literacy Partnerships (of Groves Learning Organization) – $25,000 to support the second year of a partnership with Jenny Lind Elementary School in Minneapolis to implement the Groves Literacy Framework in nine K-3 classrooms, supporting school staff with ongoing professional development, collaboration, and a curriculum that emphasizes systematic phonics instruction and proven strategies to enhance reading fluency and comprehension.
- Illusion Theater – $30,000 to engage middle school students in the organization’s Keepin It Real (KIR) program, which fosters belonging and inclusion by giving students the agency to create their own personal theater scenes and monologues about issues that are important to them. Illusion will partner with Voices for Racial Justice, which will supply trained equity, diversity, and inclusion facilitators to engage students on key social justice issues as part of the KIR curriculum.
- La Oportunidad – $25,000 to support Latinx youth in gaining the education, life skills, tools, support, and connections needed to meet their academic, social and emotional needs, and to lead and succeed. Programming will take place during the 2023-2024 school year.
- Legal Rights Center – $50,000 to expand work that trains educators on restorative practices that can build supportive and inclusive schools, providing professional development, coaching, and mentoring grounded in racial equity.
- Minnesota Alliance With Youth – $30,000 to support the Minnesota Youth Council, a group of youth leaders that mobilizes middle and high school students across the state to create equitable systems through outreach, education, and advocacy.
- Minnesota Humanities Center – $75,000 to bring local content back into the curriculum of schools through a project informed by a partnership with MPS Ethnic Studies that will create ready-made lessons as well as opportunities for school to embed the stories of more cultural communities in lessons.
- MN Zej Zog – $50,000 to host equity-focused conferences and conversations for Hmong educators and parents in Minneapolis and the northwestern suburbs.
- Multiplying Good Inc. – $30,000 to offer the Students in Action service-learning and leadership development program at four schools in Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, and Brooklyn Park. The SIA program empowers teams of middle and high school students to assess needs in their communities and work together to execute service projects addressing those needs.
- Navigate MN – $75,000 to work with partners in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs to implement strategies for youth to develop leadership and organizing skills, including school advocacy efforts, a leadership institute, ethnic studies implementation community events, a youth leadership retreat, and events to support students as they apply for federal tuition assistance.
- Peace in Practice (fiscal sponsor: Homegrown Lacrosse) – $50,000 to launch an introductory yoga course at North High School in which students can earn both high school and college credit. Students will have the opportunity to earn their yoga certification and connect to paid yoga training and teaching opportunities.
- Playworks Education Energized – $25,000 for Power in Play, a program that deepens educators’ understanding of race and equity by implementing inclusive strategies and advocating for policy reforms to ensure that all students have equitable access to play, including ending the practice of withholding recess as a disciplinary tool.
- Project for Pride in Living – $40,000 to launch a youth advisory and alumni component to the organization’s Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential program.
- Robbinsdale Area Schools – $58,573 to strengthen the school district’s 20 racial equity teams, which work to improve each school’s culture and response to racial harm.
- Solutions Not Suspensions Coalition (fiscal sponsor: EdAllies) – $35,000 to advocate for legislative change at the state level to reduce discipline disparities in Minneapolis Public Schools, and to work to change the culture of discipline within the school community.
- St. Paul Youth Services – $55,000 to expand the organization’s Behavior Intervention Program to three Minneapolis schools. St. Paul Youth Services provides a holistic approach to in-school behavioral intervention that addresses both the immediate needs of students and the root causes of disparate disciplinary outcomes.
- Teach for America – $75,000 to support the implementation of a five-year strategic plan that aims to strengthen career pathways into education; to recruit, train, and place new teachers; and to support the development and retention of Twin Cities educators.
- The Link – $75,000 to support the School Matters and Parent Support programs, which offer case management support for both students and caregivers to increase graduation rates and strengthen families’ trust and relationships with the school system.
- The Sanneh Foundation – $40,000 to support Dreamline, a culturally responsive mentoring and academic intervention program designed to actively engage K-12 students who would benefit from greater social, emotional, and academic support.
- University of St. Thomas – $56,400 to strengthen the teacher residency program in the university’s School of Education. A partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools, this program helps educators pursue master’s degrees and teaching licenses, with an emphasis on recruiting diverse and bilingual candidates.
- Urban Strategies, Inc. – $35,000 to hire an education specialist for the Green Garden Bakery, a youth-run business that sells vegetable-based desserts.
- YWCA of Minneapolis – $37,000 for the Girls Resolution and Prevention program, which serves 12- to 18-year-old girls who are involved (or at risk of becoming involved) in the juvenile justice system and/or have an unsuccessful relationship with school. The program supports youth by sharpening the social-emotional skills that lead to positive life choices and promote healthy relationships with schools, peers, and adults.
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