Social Emotional Learning Innovation Fund

NoVo Foundation is committed to supporting the spread of innovative social and emotional learning (SEL) practices in schools and districts nationwide. We know practitioners have some of the most inspiring and effective ideas out there. NoVo Foundation, in partnership with Education First and supported by Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, aims to support teacher-led and district projects that foster social and emotional skills in students, families and staff in grades PK-12.

The Innovation Fund focuses on educators as key catalysts in supporting all students and changing schools. We want to lift up, celebrate and learn from educators. At the same time, we want programs and systems to be able to build and foster much greater compassion, and to build skills in people and groups to be able to work through differences, problems and conflict and lessen incidents of violence and vulnerabilities to all forms of harm. We seek a change here because our present systems (families, schools, political and economic systems) do not, or cannot, presently emphasize, prioritize, teach or address these things. We can—and must—create space for educators and students to imagine, build, and lead us toward a better future built on racial and social justice, equity and restorative practices. In addition to this fund, NoVo pursues multiples partnerships to achieve these changes. Learn more at


The Innovation Fund is currently closed to grant applications. Please check this site for future open application windows.


2018 Summary: In our third year, we received over 1,000 applications from more than 45 states. Through a competitive process, 12% of applicants were selected, 90 teachers and 34 districts. Read more about the teacher award-winning projects here. Read more about the district award-winning projects here.

2017 Summary: In our second year, we received over 800 applications from more than 40 states. 2017 was the first year we awarded district-level grants. Through a competitive process, 12% of applicants were selected, 67 teachers and 30 districts, with the complete list of selected awardees available here. Some awardees authored blog posts about their work. Read more here.

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. Find the list of 2016 recipients and descriptions of their projects here.

For more information about our support of SEL, see our SEL Teacher Practice website and publications Social and Emotional Learning: Looking Back, Aiming Forward and Social and Emotional Learning: Why Students Need It. What Districts are Doing About It.