Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund


The Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund offered up to $5,000 grant awards for teacher-led projects and $25,000 grant awards for district projects that span multiple schools in the 2017-18 school year.

We received over 800 applications – 479 teachers and 328 school districts from more than 40 states. Through a competitive process, 12% of applicants were selected, 67 teachers and 30 districts, with the complete list of selected awardees available here.

The Innovation Fund sought proposals from individual educators, teams of educators and district leaders seeking to improve systems that foster social and emotional skills in fresh, inventive or innovative ways. Examples include novel interventions or instructional practices focused on improving competencies such as resilience, learning mindsets, compassion, self-management and sense of belonging. Though all proposals were welcome, the fund prioritized proposals that specifically support one or more of the following student populations:

  • Students from indigenous communities
  • New arrivals (such as refugees) or immigrants
  • English learners
  • Students with significant adverse childhood experiences
  • Single-sex environments

2016 Summary: In our first year, we received a total of 430 teacher applications from 164 districts in 34 states. In August 2016, Education First announced 25 innovation awards to individual teachers and teams of teachers in 14 states. The file below includes the list of winners and a description of their innovations.

For more information about Education First’s support of SEL, see our publication Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It and our blog post Social and Emotional Learning in Action.