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Grants to California Educators to Improve Professional Skills

LIGHT (Leveraging Innovation by Growing and Honoring Teachers) Awards


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( )

Geographic Focus
USA: California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo Counties

Important Dates
Deadline: 11/14/23 5:00 PM Save

Grant Description
Grants to California groups of educators in eligible counties for professional development. Funding is intended to increase teacher effectiveness and enhance teacher leadership skills. This program is open to local elementary, middle, and high school teachers. Eligibility is limited to the following California counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Benito, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, and Yolo.

The LIGHT Awards Program supports teacher participation in experiences that fulfill some or all of the following criteria:

  • Renew educators’ passion for and commitment to teaching.
  • Demonstrate relevance for teachers.
  • Have the potential to have school-wide, district-wide, and/or system-wide impact.
  • Enhance teacher leadership skills.
  • Cultivate a community of practice.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Groups of teachers are invited to apply for LIGHT Awards funds.

- Project team of 3-6 experienced teachers
- Elementary, middle or high school
- Public or charter school
- Private school if 50% students from low-income families

For more information, see

When developing your project and budget please be aware that the LIGHT Awards cannot be used for the below purposes.
- The LIGHT Awards does not fund one-time events, master’s program tuition, board certification costs, nor travel outside of the U.S.
- The LIGHT Awards does not award grants to solely purchase technology equipment and classroom supplies. Funds for equipment and classroom supplies can be requested as a component of a project, but must be justified based on their integration with the proposed project and must not exceed $5,000 for a $20,000 proposal or $8,000 for a $30,000.
- LIGHT Awards funds cannot be used to compensate team members for the time they spend on their projects. It can be used to pay for substitute teachers when team members are participating in project related events and activities.
- LIGHT Awards funds cannot be used to cover team members’ childcare costs.
- The LIGHT Awards does not consider submissions led by staff or administrators. It supports ideas and projects driven by teachers.

Pre-Application Information
Important Dates:
- Oct 5 – Nov 14, 2023: LOIs Accepted for 2023 Grant Cycle (rolling submissions)
- By mid-December 2023 - Invitations to Apply Extended to Selected LOI Submissions
- Spring 2024 - LIGHT Awards Grants Made

Application Process:

1. Choose Your Project Idea & Team Contact
Before you begin the formal application process, decide on a project idea and choose a contact for your project team. The Team Contact will serve as the main point of contact and be responsible for stewarding the application and project

2. Create an Account
Accessible via a link on the website —available when the LOI (Letter of Inquiry) process opens, typically in October—and create a user account for your team.

3. Confirm Your Eligibility & Complete LOI
After creating your account, you will be asked to complete the Letter of Inquiry (LOI) which includes a grant eligibility checklist. These are typically due in mid to late November. If your project idea and team meet the criteria and your LOI is selected, you will be notified by email in early December. The next time you log in you will be able to access the whole application.

4. Fill Out Your Application

5. Grant Decisions
Funding decisions are made by the board of the Intrepid Philanthropy Foundation. Applicants are typically notified in April and an announcement of grant recipients is shared publicly by May.

Project Criteria:
Award Process:
How to Apply:
Project Ideas:

Estimated Size of Grant
- The LIGHT Awards makes grants of $20,000 or $30,000 over two years.
- Grants are made in payments of $10,000 or $20,000 in the first year, and $10,000 in the second.

Term of Contract
Grant implementation must start by the beginning of the next school year after which the grant is received. The grant award must be expended during the two-year grant period.

Contact Information

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