Twelve national foundations have pledged to add $500 million to the U.S. Department of Education’s $650 million Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund, which nearly doubles the amount of money available as the May 12 deadline looms near, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.
The foundations have also launched a registry for prospective applicants to seek a portion of the $500 million, which is meant to help the applicants access a broad set of foundations to seek matching funds, one of the prerequisites for prospective i3 grantees.
The contributing foundations are: Annie E. Casey Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; Ford Foundation; John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Lumina Foundation for Education; Robertson Foundation; The Wallace Foundation; The Walton Family Foundation; The William & Flora Hewlett Foundation; and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Each participating foundation will decide which programs to fund.
The i3 fund is meant to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative and evidence-based practices, programs and strategies that significantly improve K-12 achievement and close achievement gaps; decrease dropout rates; increase high school graduation rates; and improve teacher and school leader effectiveness.
Applicants must include school districts, but can also include nonprofits that join with school districts or a consortium of schools.
Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, said that much of what U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is addressing through the i3 fund builds on the foundations’ existing educational investments.
“As such, the 12 foundations realized this is a significant moment to seriously advance student learning so that all of our young people are prepared to succeed in a global economy and for citizenship in a complex world,” Gregorian said in a statement released by the U.S. Education Department. “It was time to maximize our collective efforts.”