State Policy Network
Announcing the Winners of 2024 Ed-Prize

State Policy Network (SPN) is pleased to announce Eight Million Stories, Libertas Institute, and Love Your School are the winners of SPN’s 2024 Ed-Prize Grant Program.  

Elyssa Webber, the Director of LaunchPad Identification at SPN, announces the winners of 2024 Ed-Prize.

Ed-Prize recognizes and accelerates innovative, forward-thinking projects that offer creative solutions to current and future K-12 challenges.  

The prize is awarded annually to projects that support State Policy Network’s vision of a future where all children have the chance to pursue an education in an environment where they can thrive. 

Award amounts are decided by a panel of external judges who distribute $150,000 in prize money, and winners meet with SPN staff quarterly to report on progress during the 12-month period of the grant. The winners will also be celebrated at SPN’s 32nd Annual Meeting in Phoenix. 

This year’s Ed-Prize is generously supported by Stand Together Trust and the Walton Family Foundation. Learn more about the winners and their projects, below. 

Eight Million Stories: Expanding Program that Helps Student Dropouts in Houston 

Eight Million Stories (8MS) is a Houston-based nonprofit organization that aims to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately sweeps young people of color into a devastating cycle of poverty and incarceration. 8MS does this through a holistic, student–centered approach that emphasizes education, skills training, and career readiness. 

The organization will use the Ed-Prize grant to expand its Eight Million Stories ED project, a program that supplements Houston Independent School District’s current approach to serving students who have dropped out of school or are at risk of dropping out.  

8MS ED focuses on the interests of students and deploys a suite of strategies including credit recovery, GED instruction, wraparound services, social-emotional supports, enrichment programming, and college and career readiness instruction to ensure student success for all. The program served 71 students last year. With this Ed-Prize grant, Eight Million Stories will increase the number of students served to 150 for the upcoming 2024-2025 school year. 

Libertas Institute: Building Utah’s First Trade Organization to Support Education Entrepreneurs  

Libertas Institute, an affiliate of State Policy Network, is a nonprofit in Utah that seeks to improve lives through policy reform. With this Ed-Prize grant, Libertas will launch the Education Innovators Association, a 501(c)(6) trade organization to support microschool founders and other education innovators. In August of 2022, Libertas held a listening session with education innovators in Utah. From that meeting, it became clear that these founders needed networking opportunities, business help, and an advocate with the government. That meeting was the genesis of the Utah Education Innovators Association. This association will be Utah’s first trade organization specifically designed to support education entrepreneurs as they establish and grow their businesses. 

Microschools are popping up across the country, but founders and aspiring founders face several key challenges as they grow their schools or businesses. These challenges include regulatory barriers, a lack of business skills or funding, or little expertise in marketing their school/program to potential students and families. The Education Innovator’s Association will help microschool founders, as well as any education innovator, overcome these barriers in Utah. The association will provide participating entrepreneurs with ongoing support, training, and advocacy to help them thrive long term. 

Love Your School: Expanding Program that Helps Arizona Families Find the Schooling Option that Fits Their Unique Needs 

Love Your School is a nonprofit that helps families capitalize on legislation that expands educational freedom. Working primarily in Arizona, the organization helps parents find the best education option for their child. Its support specialists help parents demystify the ESA process, clarify a family’s needs and desires, and formulate an actionable plan with achievable goals for students. 

In Arizona in particular, parents are struggling to find and make use of the practical benefits of the state’s universal Education Savings Account (ESA) program—they need a strong, unifying, and knowledgeable partner to help them access those benefits. That’s where Love Your School comes in—their staff meets families unfamiliar with the concept of education choice and helps them navigate the often complex process of enrolling in the program.  

With this Ed-Prize grant, Love Your School will expand their Parent Concierge Service to ensure even more Arizona parents are empowered to make the best education decisions for their children. The award will help Love Your School expand their reach to more families and deepen their professional and specialized support. Love Your School was also a participant in SPN’s 2023 LaunchPad Acceleration Workshop in Las Vegas.  

Congratulations to the winners! SPN looks forward to sharing more throughout the year about how these homegrown changemakers are improving K-12 education for families, learners, and educators in their communities.  

If you’d like to be connected to any of our winners to learn more about their work or opportunities to collaborate, please contact Elyssa Webber at 

Organization: State Policy Network