State Policy Network
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Ed-Prize Grant Program

Do you believe that all children should have the chance to pursue an education in an environment where they can thrive? Do you have a creative solution to the challenges of K-12 education in the United States? 

If so, apply for the investment you need to bring your project to life and create a brighter future for American families and students. 

2023 Winners (L-R): Orly Friedman, Founder & Head of School, Red Bridge Education; Andrea Keith, Executive Director, Let Grow; Nasiyah Isra-Ul, CEO and Founder, Canary Academy Online

Applications for the 2024 Ed-Prize open on March 4, 2024.
Register to be notified when the application is live.

In 2024, we are especially interested in projects that: 

  • Streamline and ease implementation of recent legislation advancing education freedom. 
  • Advance innovation within traditional public schools.  

If your project does not fit in one of these areas but still supports our guiding principles (see below), we encourage you to submit your application.

About 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.

Grant award amounts range from $20,000 to $75,000 and winners meet with SPN staff quarterly to report on progress during the 12-month period of the grant. 

Winners are recognized at SPN’s Annual Meeting where, in 2023, more than 1,600 leaders from 500 organizations and 50 states gathered. Any applicant who offers a promising solution may be connected to our nationwide Network where solutions can be expanded to communities across the country.  

Purpose

State Policy Network invites community leaders, non-profits, state-based think tanks, and national organizations to identify the most promising approaches to the challenges our communities face. We work with our members to refine and improve these approaches, then to test the best ideas on the ground. This advances our Network’s efforts to improve education outcomes through better public policy. 

The purpose of Ed-Prize is to identify, reward, and connect the most creative and enthusiastic education entrepreneurs in the United States to our Network. The prize supports and accelerates entrepreneurs in their work, and learning about innovative education solutions in action across the country strengthens our Network. 

Guiding Principles

Our vision is rooted in the following guiding principles:

  • Empowering Parents: Parents and guardians are the rightful decision-makers in their child’s education. Our Network advances policies that provide parents and guardians the freedom to choose the educational environment that best serves the unique needs of their child and aligns with their values and beliefs. Parents have options—not limited by ZIP code or income—and exercise those options.
     
  • Decentralizing Education: We strive for a system that minimizes bureaucracy by authorizing local communities to advocate for bottom-up solutions to local problems. By decentralizing education, we aim to increase flexibility and responsiveness to the diverse preferences of students and their families. 
     
  • Unbundling: We affirm that education “unbundled” fosters innovation and a culture of continuous, incremental improvement. We support policies that not only permit but promote pluralism. We commit to champion this not only because we inherently value it, but because we surmise the availability of more high-quality options in the education marketplace will result in improved academic outcomes. 
     
  • Personalizing Learning: Each child is an individual with distinct strengths, struggles, and learning styles. We endorse a varied range of teaching models, methods, and curricula to accommodate these differences, prioritizing student success over preserving the status quo.   
     
  • Protecting Freedom of Thought: We stand for intellectual freedom. Children should be taught how to think, not what to think. We encourage educators and students to engage in open dialogue, explore different perspectives, and challenge ideas without fear of censorship or indoctrination. 
     
  • Responsibility: We expect transparent and accountable stewardship of public dollars in education spending. We advocate on behalf of all stakeholders in America’s K-12 education ecosystem: students, parents and guardians, educators, and taxpayers. 
     
  • Joyful, Lifelong Learning: Education does not begin or end with schooling. We seek K-12 learning environments that spark curiosity and a true love of learning. This recognizes the importance of openness to growth and the desire for unabating education and skill development—beyond the classroom, college, or career—but throughout an individual’s life.  
Eligibility, Process, and Number of Awards

This highly competitive grant program is open to non-profits with a 501(c)(3) designation. SPN members with eligible projects are encouraged to apply, but applicants are not required to be SPN members to submit applications or compete.

SPN will not accept or consider Ed-Prize applications for: 

  • School choice policy initiatives. If your organization is involved in advancing school choice policy initiatives and you would like to discuss opportunities for collaboration, please email the application contact (listed below). 
  • General operating support of alternative schools. Applications from alternative schools are welcome but should be project-based (i.e., have a beginning and end date [even if that date falls beyond the term of this grant] as well as clear success metrics). Applicants invited to the second round will be required to submit an itemized budget and indicators of success for the funded project.

The competition occurs in two rounds:  

  • A first round that includes a short application soliciting basic information (opens March 4, 2024) 
  • A second, invitation only follows the first round and requires a more detailed application (invited applicants will receive notice by April 22, 2024)

Applications will be welcomed via online form submission. Hard copies or proposals submitted via email will not be accepted. Please sign up on our Ed-Prize interest form to be alerted when applications are live. 

All applicants will be asked to provide: 

  • Organizational information, including confirmation and documentation that your organization is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit. 
  • An executive summary (100 words or less) of your project 
  • An explanation of why you are applying for Ed-Prize that includes: 
    • Demonstration of project’s alignment with one or more of the guiding principles listed above. 
    • An explanation of how the applicant’s work is innovative. 

Those who are invited to the second, full application cycle must also provide additional detail about their projects, including (but not limited to):

  • Project outline and budget, including goals and projected impact, and how requested funds will be used over the following year. 
  • A one-minute video of team members explaining why the organization is applying for Ed-Prize

Second round applications undergo a rigorous vetting process that includes external judges, and applicants will be notified in late June.

Only a small number of projects will be selected to receive a grant award.  In the past, prizes awarded have ranged annually from two to four prizes.

SPN wants to know about your work. Applying may qualify you for these additional benefits.

In the past, strong applicants have benefited from other opportunities even if they did not ultimately win Ed-Prize. Applicants of interest may receive support and resources including:  

  • Invitations to participate in LaunchPad co-creation events and workshops. 
  • Information or invitations to other grant opportunities 
  • Training and workshop opportunities 
  • Invitations to education events, briefings, and networking  

Application Contact

Please contact Jennifer Thompson with any additional questions at jthompson@spn.org.

Learn more about past winners and sponsors.