Dec 18, 2020 · 5 min read

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Commits $5.8 Million to Advance Black and Latino Leadership in Education

2020 | Colleagues working together. | Photo by SolStock via Getty Images

The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) today announced $5.8 million in grants to three organizations working to accelerate diverse education leader pipelines by identifying, developing and supporting diverse education leaders. The grant recipients are: Education Leaders of Color, Latinos for Education and Surge Institute. These organizations aim to interrupt, and address the cultural, institutional, and structural barriers in education faced by historically underserved students and families.

“We envision a country where demographics, such as race and socioeconomic status, are not predictive of student outcomes and every student has equitable access to learning experiences that meet their unique academic and developmental needs,” said Sandra Liu Huang, Head of Education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “We are proud to continue to partner with Education Leaders of Color, Latinos for Education and Surge Institute as part of that commitment. The work that these organizations are doing is critical to advancing equity in education.”

Through its community partnerships, CZI is helping create a future where diverse leaders in all aspects of education have the opportunities and skills to create solutions that address gaps in the education system.

Education Leaders of Color (EdLoc), a nonprofit membership organization, will receive $2 million to help attain their goal of increasing the number of effective, Black and Latino leaders in senior positions in education and adjacent fields. The grant will be used to recruit and develop leaders who will support a range of evidenced-based and equity-informed policy and practice work.

“EdLoC is thrilled that the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has reaffirmed its commitment to EdLoC’s mission, even as we mourn the passing of our beloved CEO, Layla Avila,” said EdLoC interim CEO, Sharhonda Bossier. “Thanks to CZI’s support, our national network of leaders of color has grown tremendously. Today, we represent over 400 leaders of color across 40 states advancing a holistic third way in education that improves outcomes for Black and Brown children. CZI’s continued support helps ensure we can sustain our impact for children as we also work on shaping our future under new leadership.”

Latinos for Education (L4E), is a non-profit focused on cultivating and sustaining the pipeline of Latino leaders across the education sector–from the classroom to the boardroom. L4E will receive $1.9 million to accelerate leadership programming, mobilize leaders and communities, and grow their virtual community platform, EdCentro.

“Currently, 43% of Latino teachers leave the profession within 4 years due to inadequate support, lack of cultural competency from school leadership, and obstacles to advancing to leadership positions. Addressing this leadership gap is critical to improving educational outcomes, and we’re thankful to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for investing in the essential work to transform the education system and create pipelines for more Latino talent to enter the education sector,” said Amanda Fernández, CEO and co-founder of L4E. “This renewed investment by CZI provides us with the resources we need to continue our efforts to create leadership pathways for Latinos in education, and improve education equity for all.”

Surge Institute (Surge), a Chicago-based nonprofit, will receive $1.9 million  to address the shortage of leadership of color in educational institutions that predominantly serve children of color. Through its fellowship program, Surge connects, trains, and elevates transformative education leaders of color, partnering with school districts, nonprofits, universities, and other youth-serving organizations to build toward collective impact.

“Since 2015, we have trained just under 200 fellows in Chicago, Oakland, and Kansas City, whose leadership is impacting over 3.4 million students across the country,” said Carmita Semaan, Surge founder and president. “In 2020 we found ourselves evolving and elevating the way that we support these leaders. The support and partnership of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative have been invaluable to our efforts to bring brighter tomorrows for the millions of kids and families we serve. Positive change is happening in the education space and we are glad to have an ally in the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, who shares in our mission.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, CZI has committed more than $22 million to support teachers and students impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes grants to the HEARTS program at the University of California, San Francisco, Village of Wisdom, Kingmakers of Oakland,  Beloved Community, the National Parents Union, and additional support for teacher professional development and the expansion of broadband solutions.

CZI’s education work is focused on ensuring that every student can get an education that’s tailored to their individual needs and supports every aspect of their development. CZI envisions a country where demographics are not predictive of student outcomes and every child enters adulthood with the knowledge, skills, habits and agency they need to realize their full potential. For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are supporting student well-being, visit


About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

Founded by Dr. Priscilla Chan and Mark Zuckerberg in 2015, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) is a new kind of philanthropy that’s leveraging technology to help solve some of the world’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease, to improving education, to reforming the criminal justice system. Across three core Initiative focus areas of Science, Education, and Justice & Opportunity, we’re pairing engineering with grant-making, impact investing, and policy and advocacy work to help build an inclusive, just and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit

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