Become a Grantee
Our Commitment to Transformational Change
Education Forward DC provides funding and strategic support to high-impact leaders in order to create a DC where students starting furthest from opportunity can chart their own path and thrive.
We believe that the best ideas are out there. The most transformational change comes when we invest in the visionary leaders working in their communities who have the experience and passion for creating higher-quality, more equitable schools for all students, now and for future generations.
That is why we invest early and empower boldness. Change thrives when we invest in bold ideas at their earliest stages and empower leaders with the unrestricted seed funding they need to launch organizations and achieve long-term impact.
Our Commitment to Diversity
We believe that diversity yields better ideas and results. DC students are best served when we prioritize investing in leaders of color that understand the perspectives and needs of DC’s diverse students and have the insight required to develop effective solutions.
To learn more about our values and our commitment to equity visit the link below.
Our Commitment to Long Term Success
We’re building for the long term health of the city. The look to make investments that can be sustained into the future, through public funding or revenue-generating activities.
Strong schools thrive in a strong ecosystem. DC students have greater access to quality, equitable schools when there is a strong, stable public education ecosystem. We identify and invest in gaps in the ecosystem by synthesizing information and data from a broad group of sources.
The money we invest is important, but money alone is not enough. Leaders achieve their vision when we support them beyond grant funding. We help accelerate our grantees’ work through thought partnership, strategic guidance and connections. We look for places where we can learn from patterns and foster positive, mutually beneficial relationships with our grantees.
What is the process for seeking a grant from Education Forward DC?
The process for seeking a grant involves the following steps:
Review our website to understand whether your work fits into the work we support in one of our five strategy areas. You can find more information on our strategy areas here.
If you think your work is aligned with what we fund in our strategy areas, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org and explain the work for which you’re seeking a grant.
We will put you in touch with the appropriate strategy team to learn more about your work.
You can expect to hear back from our team within 10 business days. If there is potential alignment between your work and what we support, the Ed Forward DC strategy team will set up a meeting or phone call to discuss it in more depth.
After the initial screening, the Ed Forward DC team will decide to continue discussions about a grant for your work, or will decide that the work is not the right fit for a grant at this time. You will be informed either way. If Ed Forward DC decides to move forward with discussions about a grant for your work, you will enter the “diligence” phase. Please understand that the majority of screening conversations do not move into the diligence phase. There is more excellent work in the DC education landscape than we have the resources to fund, so we have to make decisions based on work we are prioritizing in our strategy.
If we move a potential grantee into the diligence phase, it will involve requests for additional information. Diligence typically lasts 6-8 weeks and generally includes: interviews with board, staff, and other stakeholders; a collection and analysis of organizational documents; and an analysis of market trends and demand data.
Following the due diligence process, we make a decision about whether to award a grant. If you are awarded a grant, we will then work with you to finalize a grant agreement that sets milestones and a disbursement schedule for funding.
Are you supporting organizations that provide after school programming and work closely with public schools in DC?
We recognize the importance of after school enrichment programs, but we currently don’t directly fund these organizations.
Do you provide strategic partners or consultants to help support your grantees?
Yes, as needed. We work together with our grantees to figure out the most critical priorities to focus on during the term of the grant and supplement our management assistance on occasion, and as needed, with partners and consultants to provide specific technical assistance.
Before approaching Ed Forward DC to request a grant, is it necessary for a school to already determine a specific ward that you want to work in or have a facility secured?
No. We welcome anyone to reach out to us to have a conversation about a possible partnership. Our team is happy to be part of the initial conversations as you think about the best location for your work.
Is having a 501(c)(3) necessary for the application process?
No. We have worked with individuals and groups prior to receiving 501(c)(3) designation.
Does Education Forward DC support cross-sector collaboration in Washington, DC?
Yes. We understand the challenges that our city faces are not unique to a specific sector and we are working to improve quality and equity for all students in public schools in DC – both district and public charter schools.
Do you have a minimum budget requirement for organizations applying for a grant?
We do not have a minimum budget requirement. We fund everything from start-ups to more mature organizations.
What’s the general timeline from screening for a grant to making an actual decision?
The shortest timeline is between 6 and 8 weeks, but it can vary based on where the organization is and our team capacity.
Do you need to have your entire team secured when seeking funding to launch a school?
No. We recognize that starting a school is a significant endeavor and that early stage funding is critical. We have supported individuals as Entrepreneurs in Residence with 12- to 18-month planning grants, to fully develop their idea, well before a launch team is hired.
Do you need to be physically located in DC to qualify for a grant?
There is no residency requirement. We partner with organizations that are based in other locations but are building and supporting a team to do work in DC. We only fund organizations that are working on behalf of DC students, however – wherever they are located.
What is the range of grants that you provide, and do you give multi-year grants?
We do give multi-year grants. Our grant sizes vary and generally range from $50,000 to more than $1,000,000.
Do you only fund organizations working in DC?
Yes. We only fund organizations working on behalf of students in DC.