The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative announces a round of grants to organizations supporting students and caregivers to leverage their voice and power in school and district decision-making. With a commitment of more than $17 million, the organizations will build capacity and expand their work with schools, districts, and communities to help classrooms both foster students’ sense of belonging and academic growth.
“More than ever, it’s critical that classrooms provide a safe space for students to flourish, and who better to partner with educators to shape those spaces than students and their families,” said Sandra Liu Huang, head of education at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. “By putting the voices of students and caregivers at the center, these communities are well positioned to transform our education system to accelerate student learning and support student wellbeing.”
A recent study indicated that students, on average, could experience up to five to nine months of unfinished learning by the end of June 2021. This will be especially true for students of color who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. “When it comes to inequities in our schools, we can only understand the true power and potential at the intersections of racial and educational justice when we listen to our youth,” said Taryn Ishida, Executive Director, Californians for Justice. “They are not the future leaders of tomorrow but rather the powerful leaders we need today. We have to rally together — students, teachers, community organizers, philanthropic partners, all of us — to rebuild and reimagine our schools and communities. Only then can we collectively heal and thrive.”
Research shows that academic learning happens best when students feel seen, known, and supported, this is especially critical to advancing equity in education. An equitable education system starts with getting every child access to what they need to succeed. “Parents expect to be engaged as true partners with schools in their children’s education, and in our latest parent survey, nearly two-thirds told us they have been more involved since the beginning of the pandemic,” said Keri Rodrigues, co-founder and president of the National Parents Union. “This grant will help us provide critical support for parents across the country and make sure families are part of the conversation about educational equity, student well-being, and unfinished learning in their communities.”
The grants aim to directly support the students and families most impacted by the challenges in the education system – Black, Brown and Indigenous communities – to ensure equitable access to opportunity and that all students receive a high quality education that supports their wellbeing and academic success.
The following community organizations will receive two-year grants to support their work:
- Californians for Justice, a statewide youth-powered organization fighting to improve the lives of communities of color, immigrant, low-income, LGBTQ and other marginalized communities, will receive $1.5 million.
- PAVE (Parents Amplifying Voices in Education) will receive $1.5 million to connect, inform, and empower parent leaders to give families a voice and choice in the vision for education in Washington, DC.
- EmpowerED Families will receive $400,000 to support its work to build family power through relationships and rally behind the strengths of parents to weave together the home, school, and community, in order to fight for high quality education.
- Faith Acts for Education, a Black-led, faith-based community organizing nonprofit in Connecticut, will receive $1.5 million to build power and improve education through issue campaigns, legislative advocacy, and civic engagement.
- Fresno Barrios Unidos will receive $1.25 million to provide unconditional support, love, guidance, and advocacy tools for young people of color and their families in Fresno. Barrios transforms communities by empowering youth through education, wellness, and advocacy to foster our individual and collective wellbeing.
- Funders’ Collaborative on Youth Organizing (FCYO) will receive $1.5 million to bring funders and youth organizers together to ensure that young people have the resources, capacities and infrastructure they need to fight for a more just and democratic society.
- Innovate Public Schools will receive $2 million to support its mission to make sure that all students — especially low-income students and students of color — receive a world-class public education that prepares them for success in college, careers and beyond.
- Kentucky Student Voice Team will receive $200,000 to support students as research, advocacy, and policy partners to co-create more just, democratic schools and communities.
- National Parents Union will receive $1.5 million to support its work to unite parents of color, low-income parents, special needs parents, single mothers and fathers, grandparents, formerly incarcerated parents and parents in recovery with traditionally represented parent voices to join a vibrant coalition that disrupts the traditional role of parent voice in policy space.
- Our Turn will receive $1.25 million to mobilize, amplify, and elevate the voices of thousands of students in their fight for education justice
- Our Voice Nuestra Voz will receive $650,000 to build the capacity of parents and families in the greater New Orleans area to act as advocates in order to ensure educational equity for all students.
- The Oakland REACH, a parent-run, parent-led group, will receive $1.5 million to empower families from underserved communities to demand high-quality schools for children.
- Power U will receive $800,000 to support its work in organizing and developing the leadership of working class Black and Brown youth and Black women in South Florida so that they may help lead the struggle to liberate all oppressed people.
- P.S. 305 will receive $500,000 to support parents in communities impacted by education injustice in Miami, by empowering them to build collective power and challenge the structures that uphold inequity in schools.
- Youth United for Change (YUC), a democratic leadership development organization composed primarily of working-class youth of color, will receive $500,000 to support its work to build the social power necessary towards ensuring schools and overall society become more just and equitable.
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 racial and economic 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 chanzuckerberg.com/education/well-being.
About the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative was founded in 2015 to help solve some of society’s toughest challenges — from eradicating disease and improving education, to addressing the needs of our local communities. Our mission is to build a more inclusive, just, and healthy future for everyone. For more information, please visit www.chanzuckerberg.com.