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Education First: SEL in Action Awards

Deadline: April 9, 2021

The SEL in Action Awards, a partnership of the NoVo Foundation with Education First and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, aims to seed projects that foster social and emotional competencies in students in grades pre-K-12. For the 2021–22 school year, SEL in Action awardees will be selected from two applicant pools:

  • School-based educators (including teachers, counselors, administrators and other school staff) seeking to implement SEL initiatives in classrooms or schools in the 2021–2022 school year.
  • District-level applicants seeking to implement SEL initiatives district-wide and/or across multiple schools within one district (including a charter network).

Though all proposals are welcome, the Foundation seeks proposals that specifically support one or more of the following student populations:

  • Students from Indigenous communities
  • Newcomers, including refugee students or recent immigrants
  • English learners
  • LGBTQIA+ students
  • Girls and young women of color
  • Students disproportionately affected by suspensions or the juvenile justice system
  • Students with learning disabilities
  • Students impacted by housing inequities or homelessness

Priority will also be given to projects that:

  • Are student-led, done with (not to) students, and/or community-based
  • Are focused primarily on student outcomes (as opposed to only adult outcomes)
  • Are original and innovative, and build off of existing evidence-based practices or the science of learning
  • Bring an orientation and analysis of racial and/or social justice
  • Are able to be implemented during the 2021–22 school year
  • Have the potential to carry on beyond the grant period
  • Demonstrate principal, school/district leader and peer educator support
  • Consider trauma-informed practices, implicit bias and culturally-affirming approaches to teaching
  • Are creating alternative and restorative practices of accountability
  • Foster deeper connections to nature or the natural world

Amount: Grants of up to $7,500 will be awarded for educator-led projects (an estimated 110 grants to be awarded), and up to $25,000 for district-level projects (an estimated 40 grants to be awarded).

Note: A select number of two-year grants will also be awarded. Two-year award amounts will be up to $15,000 for educator-led projects, and up to $50,000 for district-level projects. See solicitation for details.


  • Educator-led projects: Lead applicants may be educators in a public school (including a charter school) in the United States or a US Territory in grades PK-12. Teachers, counselors, social workers, administrators and other school-based staff are eligible.
  • District-level projects: Lead applicants may be district employees in any role (superintendent, assistant superintendent, principal, teacher, director, specialist, counselor, etc.) in a public school district (including a charter network) in the United States or a US Territory.

Link: https://education-first.com/sel-in-action-awards/ 

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