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Great Learning - Civic Engagement

Grants to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Organizations for
Public Education Innovation and Community Involvement

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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William Penn Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

07/26/19 - For requests over $82,500; requests under $82,500 are reviewed on an ongoing basis.


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Grants to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania organizations for initiatives to promote community awareness and innovation in public education. Applicants are required to submit an Inquiry form prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended to support education research, use of data, media projects, and community convenings that enhance academic success for the city's diverse and underserved populations.

The William Penn Foundation's Great Learning program aims to ensure that all children have access to high-quality education that prepares them to succeed in life. Grantmaking focuses on dramatically increasing the number of children from Philadelphia’s low-income communities who experience academic success. The Foundation underwrites efforts that build evidence, improve quality, expand service, or change policy to yield transformational and long-lasting educational improvements for children.

Great Learning Civic Engagement:

Sharing evidence, convening stakeholders, and illuminating the successes and challenges of public education are critical. Through the Civic Engagement grant program, the William Penn Foundation supports efforts that build and harness public understanding and support for excellent education in the city’s public schools, making Philadelphia an even more attractive place for educators and families.

The objective of the Civic Engagement grants is to develop civic attention, evidence, and opportunities for innovation in education in order to make Philadelphia an attractive place for educators and families. This is to be accomplished by the following tactics:

- Cultivate civic support for public education by funding (1) Expansion of best practices in schools; and (2) Opportunities that create an appealing professional work environment for educators and education professionals to support the Foundation’s Great Learning objectives
- Use data to set high standards by supporting (1) Collection and dissemination of citywide indicators of progress and objective research on critical education issues; and (2) Vehicles to share stories of successes and challenges to deepen public understanding of local practice
- Support opportunities for innovation by funding promising interventions aligned with the Foundation’s Great Learning objectives

The Foundation funds:

- Efforts that cultivate community and citywide support for public education in Philadelphia
- Education research and sharing of locally relevant data in order to elevate critical education issues and deepen public understanding
- Media projects or convenings that deepen public understanding of local practice, and convey stories of successes and/or challenges to the broader civic community
- Other innovative approaches that advance the Foundation’s education priorities

Evaluation and Selection Criteria:

- Potential for galvanizing increased support and lasting improvement in public education.
- A clear plan for implementation and for sustaining the effort beyond the grant period.
- Level of collaboration with other organizations or initiatives pursuing similar goals.
- Degree to which efforts to increase civic attention to public education issues are grounded in research or evidence.
- Attentiveness and approach to including diverse communities.

Projects should accomplish at least one of the following outcomes:

- Institutionalize the use of research, data, and practitioner perspectives to frame, understand, and respond to critical education issues.
- Increase citywide support and engagement in support of public education.
- Increase retention and professional satisfaction of teachers and school leaders.

The Foundation typically provides funding for projects rather than general operating support. However, direct costs can include funding for staff, materials, and other organizational costs associated with the project.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159713

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The William Penn Foundation supports efforts that cultivate community and citywide support for public education in Philadelphia.

The Foundation does not fund student aid, individual scholarships, or political lobbying or legislative activities.

Pre-Application Information:

The Foundation has a two-stage online application process which includes an initial inquiry and an invited full proposal.

Application Process:

Step 1: Inquiry

- Organizations that are new to the Foundation begin by creating an online account as part of the initial Inquiry form.
- Inquiries are accepted and reviewed on an ongoing basis. Once an inquiry is received, organizations are typically notified of next steps within 30 days.

Step 2: Full Proposal

- If an organization is invited to proceed to the second stage of the process and submit a full proposal, the following timeline is provided as a guide for when materials are due for consideration at a board meeting. Organizations are encouraged to submit their materials by these deadlines. Your program officer will let you know when materials need to be submitted for consideration at a particular board meeting.


- Inquiry Due: November 30, 2018
Proposal Due: January 18, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: April 26, 2019

- Inquiry Due: February 23, 2019
Proposal Due: April 5, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: July 19, 2019

- Inquiry Due: June 14, 2019
Proposal Due: July 26, 2019
Scheduled Board Review: November 1, 2019

Grants at or below $82,500 are not required to be considered at a board meeting, and thus do not follow the deadline schedules above. However all grants are reviewed and approved by Foundation board members. Your program officer can provide more information about the timing and process for these types of requests. They typically follow the same two-step process outlined above.

Organizations are encouraged to include funding to support related indirect costs or overhead in the project budget.

Please Note: At this time, the link to the online Inquiry Form is under construction. In the interim, please email your ideas for funding to the Foundation, or speak with someone on the program staff. If there is further interest from the Foundation, you will receive a direct link to complete the Inquiry Form.

If you have questions about the application process, please contact the Foundation. The staff will make every effort to respond promptly.

How to Apply:

What the Foundation Funds:

How the Foundation funds:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director

Two Logan Square, 11th Floor
100 North 18th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2757
(215) 988-1830

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Pennsylvania: Philadelphia