Learning for Justice Educator Fund Guidelines

The LFJ Educator Fund will fund three types of projects: classroom level, school level and district level. For all project types, we seek to fund initiatives that culminate in measurable student outcomes and sustainable systems change. Priority will be given to eligible proposals operating in the SPLC’s core states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.

All Learning for Justice Educator Fund projects must utilize at least one Learning for Justice resource, framework or publication. Applicants must also demonstrate how the endeavor addresses one or more of the following key outcomes:

  • Restorative discipline: an increase in schools and districts shifting from punitive discipline policies to restorative discipline policies;
  • Youth civic engagement: an increase in student civic engagement, especially supporting the rights of marginalized students and communities;
  • Dismantling oppressive narratives: an increase in schools and districts shifting from white supremacist or oppressive policies and curricula to policies and curricula that are anti-racist or support the safety and self-determination of all students.

Our aim is to build, over time, a network of educators who are enthusiastic about learning from each other and sharing their experiences with the broader Learning for Justice community.

What We Fund

Two young students sitting in front of a computer together.

Classroom Level 

Classroom-level grants are offered to individual educators or small peer groups. Proposals should focus on creating safe and welcoming classrooms that reflect the outcomes described in the LFJ Social Justice Standards. This includes programming that promotes positive identity development, perspective taking, critical thinking about injustice and collective action. Preference is given to projects that emphasize student action and promote student perspectives. 

Classroom-level grant amounts will range from $500 to $5,000. Projects must be completed within six months of receiving grant funds. 

Empty desks in a classroom with a blackboard in the background.

School and District Levels

School- and district-level grants are offered to educator networks and school or district leadership teams. Proposals should focus on improving school climate, responding to and preventing incidents of hate and bias, or embedding the concepts found in the LFJ Social Justice Standards into the school- or district-wide curriculum. These projects may also focus on improving teaching  capacity to adopt the practices articulated in Critical Practices for Anti-bias Education and in our school climate resources, implement an LFJ topic-based framework like Teaching Hard History, or to promote dialogue among school community members about anti-bias, anti-racist (ABAR) issues at school.

School- and district-level awards range from $5,000 to $25,000 per year. Applicants may apply for up to three years of project funding. Applicants seeking multi-year funding will be expected to provide clear strategies, action plans, milestones and timelines for achieving project objectives over the course of the grant period, in addition to the standard application. Multi-year grant funds will be released annually, based upon review and approval of annual progress evaluations.

Eligibility Requirements

People who meet one of the following descriptions are eligible to apply:

  • Educators, administrators and school personnel who work in public and private K-12 spaces;
  • Educators, administrators and school personnel who work in facilities where students receive their main education, such as juvenile justice facilities, therapeutic schools or alternative schools;
  • Faculty and staff in schools of education in colleges and universities.

Educators employed at community-based, nonprofit or other informal learning sites are not currently eligible for Learning for Justice Educator Fund awards.
 

Some of Stef Bernal-Martinez's students exploring the Durham Civil Rights Memorial. Photo by Bernal-Martinez

Project Criteria

Funding decisions are based on the following criteria:

Demonstrated need:
• The project addresses a clear and specific need by students, the school, and/or the community.
• The project is tailored to fit the unique needs of the student population.

Social justice alignment:
•Applicants must use at least one Learning for Justice resource, framework or publication.

Outcome alignment (in one or more areas):
• Restorative discipline: an increase in schools and districts shifting from punitive discipline policies to restorative discipline policies;
• Youth civic engagement: an increase in student civic engagement, especially supporting the rights of marginalized students and communities;
• Dismantling oppressive narratives: an increase in schools and districts shifting from white supremacist or oppressive policies and curricula to policies and curricula that are anti-racist or support the safety and self-determination of all students.

Outcomes and assessment:
• The project defines SMART objectives (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely).
• The applicant has a clear and practical plan to assess the project’s impact and report results.

Student-centered approach:
• Students are meaningfully involved in the planning or implementation of the project.
• The project ultimately relates to or improves students’ experiences.

Sustainability and support:
• The applicant can demonstrate how the project affects long-term structural change.
• The applicant can articulate how the project will be sustained over time.
• The applicant has the support and commitment from a school or district leadership team.
• The applicant has the support and buy-in from relevant stakeholders, such as administration, students and parents.

Geography and priority populations:
• Eligible proposals operating in the SPLC’s core states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
• Projects and activities implemented in Title I schools or schools with high percentages of students and educators of color.

Timeline

Learning for Justice offers two grant cycles per school year.

Fall Semester Cycle

  • Early January: Application available online 
  • Early April: Application deadline
  • Late May: Applicants notified of funding decision
  • Early July: Applicants receive grant funds (exact date dependent on when paperwork is received, approved and processed)
  • Early August: Start of grant period
  • Date varies: End of grant period (depending on grant type and the project,  six months, one year, two years, or three years from the start of grant period)

Spring Semester Cycle

  • Early September: Application available online
  • Mid October: Application deadline
  • Late November: Applicants notified of funding decision
  • Mid December: Applicants receive grant funds (exact date dependent on when paperwork is received, approved and processed)
  • Early January: Start of grant period
  • Date varies: End of grant period (depending on grant type and the project,  six months, one year, two years or three years from the start of grant period)

How to Apply

Follow the steps below to apply:

  1. Carefully review the project criteria and guidelines above, as well as the FAQ page.
  2. Complete the online application, once available, which seeks information on the following:
    • The classroom, school or district that would be affected by the proposed project;
    • The proposed project, including narrative, objectives, timing, budget and desired outcomes.

Reporting

If awarded, grantees must complete an end-of-grant report after all project-related work has been completed. Grantees will also be asked to provide quarterly progress updates.

Contact

Have questions about the Learning for Justice Educator Fund? Contact the Learning for Justice Educator Fund Manager at lfjeducatorfund@splcenter.org.

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Welcome to Learning for Justice—Formerly Teaching Tolerance!

Our work has evolved in the last 30 years, from reducing prejudice to tackling systemic injustice. So we’ve chosen a new name that better reflects that evolution: Learning for Justice.

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