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Understanding Root Causes of Inequities

Grants to USA School Districts in New England States
to Address Barriers Facing Disadvantaged Students

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF)

Deadline Date:

12/11/17 12:00 PM ET Receipt


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Grants to Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont public school districts to address barriers to entry affecting students from disadvantaged groups. This program is intended to facilitate participatory, inclusive, and transparent district-community initiatives that accomplish the following goals:

1) Analyze barriers to equitably preparing all students (e.g., Black and Latino students, English language learners, special education students, and low-income students) to graduate from high school ready for college and career, and

2) Identify student-centered practices and other appropriate interventions that will address the identified equity barriers.

Through this grant fund, the Foundation strives to accomplish the following:
-Create deeper understanding of the systemic and school-level barriers that perpetuate gaps in college and career readiness based on race, language, special education status, and income;
-Identify interventions (including, but not limited to student-centered learning practices) that appropriately address identified college and career readiness barriers; and
-Help districts and communities collaborate on and coalesce around plans to reverse historical patterns and ensure all students graduate from high school ready for college and career.

The grant initiative will include the following components:

-Technical Assistance Provider(s) – Funding is available for districts to work with technical assistance providers. Providers should possess deep knowledge and expertise in promoting educational equity, facilitating problem identification processes, imagining new solutions through district-community engagement, documenting community processes, and compiling findings. As an early deliverable of the grant, districts will need to select the providers they would like to work with. To support districts in the selection of their technical assistance providers, the Foundation is in the processes of generating a list of providers that districts may want to consider. Districts may select a provider from the Foundation’s list or identify another provider that better aligns with their needs.

-Documentation of Process and Reporting of Findings – Districts will be required to document their processes, develop two interim reports and a final report, and share reports with their community stakeholders and the Foundation.

-Thought Partnership – In 2018, as the Foundation looks for ways to more meaningfully and proactively integrate an equity focus in its work, it would like to work with grantees as thought partners in this process. Findings from district-community processes will be invaluable to the Foundation’s understanding of barriers to ensuring equitable college and career readiness results and the potential interventions for addressing those barriers in the New England region.

-Cross-district Summits – Lastly, applicants should budget for attending three cross-district summits where the Foundation will bring together grantees to share plans and findings. The location of the summits will be decided once a grantee cohort is selected. The Foundation will do its best to select a central location for grantees. Districts should anticipate bringing 5 to 10 representatives to each summit.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 182494

Number of Grants:

The Foundation will select up to eight grantees.

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $250,000

Term of Contract:

The grant period is January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The Foundation invites public school districts in New England to apply.

Applicants must, at a minimum, enroll a student population that is 40 percent eligible for free lunch.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline for receipt of proposals is December 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM ET.

Questions will be answered via an FAQ updated regularly on the Nellie Mae website, found here:

-Proposal deadline: December 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM EST
-Notice: Week of December 18, 2017
-Grant period: January 1, 2018 - December 31, 2018

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Direct questions to:

Marcos Popovich

For assistance with the online application, contact:

Stephanie Cheney

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Connecticut;   Maine;   Massachusetts;   New Hampshire;   Rhode Island;   Vermont