Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Supports Educators, Students and Families Impacted by COVID-19

Mar 27, 2020

Grant Recipients Include Organizations Working on the Frontlines to Bring Educators the Technical Expertise Needed to Deliver Distance Learning Education, Provide Wrap-around Services, and Prepare for Future Emergencies

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Mother and daughter using laptop at home | Photograph by FG Trade.
Photograph by FG Trade.

In response to the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 on the educational system, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) has granted more than $1 million to the Council of Chief State School Officers, the International Society for Technology in Education, National Parents Union and State Educational Technology Directors Association to support educators and families. These initial grants are aimed at providing resources to states and school districts impacted by school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“During this great time of national need, it is imperative that we ensure teachers and school leaders have the resources needed to support student learning at home,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at CZI. “Importantly, we also have to help families who may be struggling to figure out how to keep kids engaged while working from home.”

The grants include:

  • $500,000 to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to provide state leaders timely resources and support for preparedness, response, and recovery around school closures. CCSSO is a leader in working with state education leaders and is currently building and deploying communications, replicable frameworks, and guidance that will help inform decisions by state leaders and enable them to best coordinate with local districts depending on their local needs. CCSSO will continue to work with state leaders and the federal government over the coming months to help state leaders navigate complicated policy questions that arise from long term school closures, including how to help the most vulnerable students in a fair and equitable way.
  • $500,000 to the International Society for Education Technology (ISTE) to provide guidance and support to school districts as they move learning online due to the spread of COVID-19. ISTE is providing resources for educators on learningkeepsgoing.org, hosting a COVID-19 webinar series, and staffing a helpline with experts to provide real-time support to school leaders – particularly around supporting young students and special student populations. ISTE is also convening national education organizations, including teachers’ unions, education technology associations and advocacy and policy organizations, to align on efforts and support for schools.
  • $260,000 to the National Parents Union (NPU) to translate and provide information on health, economic and educational resources to parents and families through NPU’s network of more than 200 parent organizations and grassroots activists across the country. The National Parents Union is partnering with Great Schools, EdNavigator, Learning Heroes,, TNTP,  ExcelinEd, Prepared Parents and local public access channels in its efforts to provide critical information on resources to low income families, communities of color, formerly incarcerated parents, foster families, parents with disabilities, parents of children with special needs, grandparents and LGBTQAI families.
  • $75,000 to the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) to support the development of the SETDA Coalition for eLearning — an online portal of resources, policies, exemplars and professional learning to support state leaders and partners take collective action around teaching and learning in the digital age. To ensure students can continue learning away from brick and mortar schools, it is essential that educators collaborate to provide best practices and a framework for instruction. The coalition provides the opportunity to spark innovation around eLearning related to the COVID-19 virus, inevitable inclement weather and other future disruptive events.

Additionally, several of CZI grant partners and portfolio companies have made resources available for educators and families here.

General Public Health Resources:

For more information about how CZI and our grant partners are responding to COVID-19, visit https://chanzuckerberg.com/covid-19/.

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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 www.chanzuckerberg.com.