For 30 years, the Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has been supporting educators and students through grants – funding close to 2,000 projects at more than $4.5 million.
The foundation was established in 1992 as the MEA Children’s Foundation, but became the Education Minnesota Foundation it is today after the merger of the Minnesota Education Association and Minnesota Federation of Teachers in 1998. It is affiliated with Education Minnesota, but functions independently as a nonprofit corporation. Learn more about the foundadtion and its work at www.edmnfoundation.org.
Recently, the foundation interviewed three recent grant recipients for a promotional video about how these funds have impacted their work and their students.
Rachel Moorhouse, K-5 STEM teacher, Lakeland Elementary School, Willmar
Rachel Moorhouse applied for a classroom-focused grant after taking on her role as a STEM teacher at Lakeland Elementary School in Willmar.
Without the grant from the foundation, Moorhouse said she never would have been able to purchase things like Bee-Bot coding robots, Keva planks or Snap Circuits.
“The money from the foundation allows (students) to use their brain differently than they would have normally in my classroom,” she said. “Our fourth grade has an electricity unit. The Snap Circuits that I was able to buy with the money from the foundation allowed them to have the unit be more hands on. It wasn’t an abstract. They could see their circuit working or not.”
Moorhouse said that using these materials makes her students’ learning experience better, as well as her teaching experience.
“If I wouldn’t have had these materials, I wouldn’t have been able to enrich my students in the components of creativity and collaboration,” she said. “Being able to see them all together building something is so fulfilling.”
Thanks to her one grant, Moorhouse said students in her classrooms for years to come will be able to use these materials.
Adrienne Young Koplitz, Spanish teacher, Hidden Oaks Middle School, Prior Lake-Savage
Receiving an IMPACT grant from the foundation has allowed the Prior Lake-Savage Education Association’s Coalition for Teachers of Color to grow their presence and do more to support the BIPOC students and staff in their district.
The grant has helped the CTOC work on their five organizational goals.
To increase membership engagement, the CTOC used grant funding to host monthly meetings for BIPOC staff, as well as other social gatherings and shared space as needed.
“When racially motivated things happen in Prior Lake, in Minnesota or in the nation in general, it impacts BIPOC staff differently,” said Adrienne Young Koplitz, one of the leaders of the group. “We want to make safe spaces to talk and share.”
Leadership development is another area funded by the grant. The CTOC has been working with the district’s human resources department to work with teachers who haven’t received a Tier 3 license but want to work toward it using the portfolio process. The grant helps fund a scholarship to help with those costs.
The CTOC also works on internal education, mobilizing their co-conspirator network of white teachers and BIPOC community members, said Young Koplitz. They used grant funds to bring in trainings from Humanize My Hoodie and Dr. Bettina Love.
Grant funding also helped with external outreach to support the CTOC’s parent affinity groups, as well as their goal of transparency.
“It’s not a quiet allyship. We’re able to be loud about it,” Young Koplitz said. “What we’re doing for kids matters, and you’re able to see it. Receiving the grant helped us as an organization, as staff and in turn helped our kids.
Lori Halverson-Wente, instructor of communication, Rochester Community and Technical College
Lori Halverson-Wente has applied for individual professional development grants from the Education Minnesota Foundation before, but recently, she and her colleagues decided to apply for a Higher Education PD grant as a group.
As teachers of communication, Halverson-Wente said they wanted to learn the process of the IDI, or intercultural development inventory, so they could bring it into their classroom as well as grow personally as educators.
“It was really for our students who need teachers who understand intercultural communication competency,” she said. “It’s so important that all students have a welcoming environment.”
Without the grant from Education Minnesota, Halverson-Wente said she wouldn’t have been able to afford the training.
“Grants are for the betterment of the common good,” she said. “Teachers already dip into their own funds for their classrooms and students. These grants are an investment in teachers but also in their students.”
“Education Minnesota Foundation grants help teachers dream a little bit more, achieve a little bit more and share a little bit more.”
2022-23 Education Minnesota Foundation grants
The Education Minnesota Foundation for Excellence in Teaching and Learning has multiple grants available this year. For details about the grants and how to apply, go to www.edmnfoundation.org. There’s a grant waiting for you!
Professional Development Grants for teachers, ESPs and higher education faculty
Awarded twice a year, ESPs and teachers may request up to $1,500, and higher education faculty may request up to $3,000 to take the lead in acquiring and sharing new skills and knowledge. These skills might include new instructional ideas, technology, working with parents, attending a conference, etc.
A Professional Development Grant can also be used for groups to either attend professional development or be trained at their worksite.
Deadlines: Nov. 4 and April 7
National Board Certified Teachers Scholarship
Members can receive $500 per component, up to $1,000 total. Deadline: Nov. 4
Applicants may request up to $3,000 for a project you design now and implement in the upcoming school year. These grants are available to licensed personnel who wish to improve their practice and student achievement. Deadline: Dec. 2
Second-Year Classroom Grants
Previous classroom-focused grant recipients may request up to $3,000 to expand on their original objectives, and who have the potential to realize additional goals based on the learning and outcomes of their first grant. Deadline: April 7
IMPACT Grant projects must be coordinated by an active member of Education Minnesota who has teamed up with a nonprofit organization or their local union/school district. Approximately $15,000 is available for one year. The budget should reflect a one-year project. Deadline: Jan. 13